Billionaires and leading researchers in the United States are developing next-generation nuclear reactors that are small, reputedly safe and suitable to modern power grids. They could be part of the climate change solution.
By Philip Bethge
The core of the reactor will be almost entirely filled with nuclear waste, which is a great way of disposing of it. Furthermore, the reactor should be able to operate for 60 years without refueling. Indeed, the spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants in the United States alone would be sufficient to cover the entire world’s energy needs for centuries to come.
Is this the solution to all our energy problems? Lindsey Boles believes it is. An engineer with the firm TerraPower, Boles is wearing a white lab coat and protective plastic goggles as she stands in a factory building in the state of Washington. Next to here is the blue steel scaffolding that will one day hold nuclear fuel rods. Color markings on the floor show the planned location of heat exchangers and pumps.
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