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
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.
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.