The world confronts an existential challenge in responding to climate change, resulting in an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy. What will it take for new and advanced nuclear reactors to play a role in decarbonization? Nuclear power provides a significant portion of the worlds low-carbon electricity, and advanced nuclear technologies have the potential to be smaller, safer, less expensive to build, and better integrated with the modern grid. However, if the United States wants advanced nuclear reactors to play a role in its plans for decarbonization, there are many key challenges that must be overcome at the technical, economic, and regulatory levels.
Laying the Foundation for New and Advanced Nuclear Reactors in the United States discusses how the United States could support the successful commercialization of advanced nuclear reactors with a set of near-term policies and practices. The recommendations of this report address the need to close technology research gaps, explore new business use cases, improve project management and construction, update regulations and security requirements, prioritize community engagement, strengthen the skilled workforce, and develop competitive financing options.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Laying the Foundation for New and Advanced Nuclear Reactors in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26630.
|2 Advanced Reactor Technologies||23-42|
|3 The Evolving Electricity System and the Potential Role of Advanced Nuclear Reactors||43-59|
|4 The Economic Challenge||60-82|
|5 Beyond Electricity: Nuclear Power's Potential to Play a Broader Role in the Future Energy System||83-103|
|6 The Challenge of Project Management and Construction||104-136|
|7 Nuclear Regulation in the United States||137-154|
|8 The Social Acceptance Challenge||155-177|
|9 Ensuring Security and Promoting Safeguards||178-192|
|10 Nuclear Exports and International Competition||193-212|
|Appendix A: Summary of Advanced Reactor Design Concepts||214-219|
|Appendix B: Examples of Technology Development Gaps for Advanced Reactors||220-222|
|Appendix C: Summary of Historical and Lessons-Learned Factors from the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear EnergyFunded Research and Development Programs in Support of Advanced Nuclear||223-227|
|Appendix D: The Current Role of Government in Demonstrations, with a Focus on the Department of Energy||228-233|
|Appendix E: Nuclear Cooperation Agreement Details||234-235|
|Appendix F: Acronyms and Abbreviations||236-238|
|Appendix G: Committee Member Biographical Information||239-244|
|Appendix H: Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest||245-246|
|Appendix I: Report Findings and Recommendations||247-261|
|Appendix J: Public Meetings||262-265|
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