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2020 has been a strange year. It feels more difficult than ever to predict what the coming year will bring. But when it comes to the power generation industry, some major trends are consistently influencing how the industry is being shaped. This article will highlight a few of those trends that will impact power generation in the new year.

 

Growing Expansion of NextGen Micro-Reactors

In remote communities, fueling an electric generator is so expensive that some people spend half their income on energy. In states like Alaska, providing energy to the many remote communities is a top priority. Micro-reactors would enable these communities to power their way of life at a lower cost while at the same time actively protecting the climate. For many communities in remote areas, burning fossil fuels is the only way to heat and light their homes and lives. The alternative that micro-reactors provide could be a perfect solution.

Micro-reactors are smaller sized units that are a better fit for dozens of remote communities and have the off-grid capability that could solve the challenge of providing clean, affordable energy to these areas of the world. Incorporating micro-reactors into the design of transit centers, industrial neighborhoods, even remote arctic locations can completely change the way people interact with and experience nuclear power. By bringing them into the community, we take on a different appreciation for the reactors’ existence and the power and energy they bring to the community.

 

Incorporating Flexible, Modular Reactors

Another flexible alternative is modular reactors, designed for smaller-scale energy production. These reactors offer the advantage of scalability, lower cost, and overall flexibility. They provide a simple and efficient design, modular components and add further modules incrementally as energy demand increases. Large plants are not needed (small communities in remote locations). There is a total lack of infrastructure or desire to support a large unit. That’s where these small nuclear reactors are a perfect fit.

 

Ambitious New Designs Will Help Solve Real-World Problems

Along with the structure and design of the next generation of nuclear reactors, industry leaders are thinking outside of the box regarding the look and functionality of reactors within a community. Rather than a looming plant off in the distance, new reactors are designed with the community in mind. For remote locations like rural Alaska, this addresses issues all the way down the supply chain, from the fuel delivery by tanker truck, plane, or barge depending on weather conditions, to simply needing to burn jet fuel to supply diesel fuel, to the need to burn some of the fuel to keep the remainder warm enough so that it can be pumped into an engine.  These are real-world problems that communities worldwide deal with daily, and micro-reactors can actively solve many of these problems and help these communities flourish.

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