This year, the nuclear power industry is seeing a renewed mandate to innovate and supply carbon-free energy for a range of applications. These new reactor designs feature new fuel forms, expanded thermodynamic ranges, and different operational paradigms. The trend toward smaller designs is anticipated to dramatically reduce siting requirements and enable applications of nuclear heat more customizable to commercial use. This has many vendors and operators imagining creative ways to optimize reactor economics in an unpredictable energy market.
The existing U.S. nuclear fleet has benefited from experience and research generated in research and test reactors around the country. As our industry reinvests in innovation, it will once again turn to many of the same reactors. Those reactors—and the groups such as the National Organization of Test, Research, and Training Reactors (TRTR) that formed to support them—have their own history of innovation.