Within the next decade, it is expected that the first round of advanced reactor (AR) demonstration units will be successfully started up and operated, with additional industry-led nuclear energy initiatives progressing toward demonstration. These AR prototypes will be first-of-a-kind systems incorporating significant technological advances. Attracting the required investment for construction and operation will require persistent efforts to improve performance, reduce costs, attract an investor/-customer base, and establish the supply chain and workforce needed to meet this emerging demand.
Public-private partnerships focused on technology and design advancements will likely be needed through at least 2050. These partnerships will require the research community—and the national labs in particular—to play a key role in developing technical solutions for economically competitive systems and helping address other challenges to sustained and expanded use of nuclear energy. These challenges include managing used nuclear fuel, minimizing nuclear security and proliferation risks, and pursuing international markets.