Next generation of students embrace nuclear energy

In 2014, nuclear power generated around 60 percent of the carbon-free electricity in the United States. | Contributed photo

Talking about nuclear technology innovation during a recent round table on advanced nuclear power, University of California-Berkeley professor Rachel Slaybaugh said she believes this generation of students have chosen nuclear because they want to save the world.

“Nobody told today’s students that nuclear innovation is supposed to be slow,” Slaybaugh said. “Defining how the universities facilitate collaboration between students and industry will be key to our success.”

The future of nuclear energy is being pioneered by a new generation of innovators who are partnering with National Labs. There is an ongoing process of the global tradition to a low-carbon economy are focusing efforts on developing and building advanced nuclear reactors.

The Department of Energy is working to form key partnerships to support a culture of nuclear innovation driven by this new generation of scientists, university researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.

In 2014, nuclear power generated around 60 percent of the carbon-free electricity in the United States. Today’s light-water reactor designs provide a safe, effective and affordable bridge to new nuclear reactor technologies, with a promise of increased flexibility and the ability to match electricity generation with demand.

Nuclear innovators are also playing a major role in reshaping the federal government’s role in nuclear energy. The Department of Energy recently established the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear  to provide the new nuclear energy community with access to the technical, regulatory and financial support necessary to move new nuclear reactor designs toward commercialization.

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