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Most likely nuclear energy will be an essential part of decarbonizing the world’s electricity.
But new plants are expensive and the technology much criticized.
Enter the small modular reactor, designed to allow several reactors to be combined into one unit.
Need a modest amount of energy? Install just a few modules. Want to fuel a sprawling city? Tack on several more.
For the last 20 years, the future of nuclear power has stood in a high bay laboratory tucked away on the Oregon State University campus in the western part of the state.
Operated by NuScale Power, an Oregon-based energy startup, this prototype reactor represents a new chapter in the conflict-ridden, politically bedeviled saga of nuclear power plants.
NuScale uses a light water reactor—by far the most common type of reactor in commercial nuclear power plants—but that’s about where the similarities end. NuScale’s reactor is 65 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter, and is housed in a containment vessel only slightly larger.
About the size of two school buses stacked end to end, you could fit around 100 of them in the containment chamber of a large conventional reactor.
This small reactor can crank out 60 megawatts of energy, which is about one-tenth the smallest operational reactor in the US today.
Read more at Wired.