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Strategic Research Initiatives

Strategic Plan for Research Centered on Micro-Reactor Technology

Caleb S. Brooks, Kathryn D. Huff: Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering;

David M. Nicol, Peter W. Sauer: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Petros Sofronis: Mechanical Science and Engineering 

Strategic plan for research centered on micro-reactor technology

Addressing the Problem

The strong social, political, and scientific support to move away from fossil fuel consumption has resulted in a new vision for the next-generation energy sources. Small-scale nuclear reactors can provide a viable solution to decarbonizing our energy generation. Beyond moving our infrastructure to a more sustainable, carbon-free energy portfolio, the anticipated deployment of a micro-reactors necessitate significant, high-impact research from units across the college and campus. The current vision is to enable collaboration toward a breadth of at-scale research and development required for micro-reactor technology including: micro-grid systems, grid security and resiliency, hydrogen economy, advance instrumentation and control, advanced energy conversion systems, energy intensive industrial processes, and much more.

Research Goals

The goals of this work are to: (1) identify the broad research base across the college and campus who would benefit from an expansion of campus as a living lab to include micro-reactor deployment, (2) communicate the technology potential and current vision for micro-reactor technology to the internal research stakeholders, (3) formulate a strategic research plan centered on micro-reactor technology, and (4) engage critical external agencies, companies, and foundations to secure support.