Evolving finance structures drive new joint ventures for SMRs

June 7, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear NewsAndrew Paterson

Andrew Paterson

Having worked at the U.S. Department of Energy for a decade (1997–2007) and across the energy sector on the Environmental Business International board for 30 years, I have witnessed firsthand the widely shared opinion that the “next big thing” in nuclear will be small modular reactors for urban centers and to provide both heat and power for a variety of energy-intensive sectors. To meet the decarbonization demands of these urban centers, the current energy landscape is pushing many countries away from a “renewables-only” strategy. For example, the German Energiewende (or “energy turnaround”) formally started around 2000 under then chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to phase out nuclear toward mostly renewables (with natural gas backup imported from Russia). As demonstrated by the 2022 gas supply shock and price spikes, Germany created its own nightmare: They now suffer the highest energy prices in Europe, have an unstable grid, and are forced to use more coal.

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