Scaling Down Reactors: A Different Model for Nuclear Energy

October 7, 2009 • 5:30 – 7:30 pm EDT

Nuclear energy will be an important component in the transition to a secure, low-carbon energy future. Many new reactors are already under construction around the world, and in the U.S. the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received applications to build and operate an initial wave of proposed plants. Thus far, this new generation of nuclear energy has been dominated by plans to install large gigawatt-sized light water reactors capable of delivering large increments of power and achieving economies of scale. While these reactors represent one important model for nuclear energy deployment, others are also emerging and deserving of consideration.

Several companies and research teams are now pioneering smaller reactor designs that could present a unique set of characteristics and benefits desirable to domestic utilities as well as other nations interested in nuclear energy. Ranging in size and technology, smaller reactors could offer different capital cost structures, the possibility of modular designs, and new operational and safety characteristics. Internationally, these reactors may also introduce important considerations for grid compatibility and nonproliferation efforts.


Christofer Mowry, President and CEO, B&W Modular Nuclear Energy LLC

Paul Lorenzini. CEO, NuScale Power Inc.

Mark Campagna, Chief Operating Officer, Hyperion Power Generation

Dr. Lay Nam Chang, Dean, College of Science, Virginia Tech GEM*STAR