Advanced Nuclear Energy
Nuclear energy has great potential to decarbonize the world energy system at the scale and speed needed to meet the climate challenge.
We catalyze private sector and government activity to lower the cost, increase deployment speed, and address legacy issues of nuclear technology.
The latest in advanced nuclear energy
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Creating an ecosystem in which nuclear energy technology can flourish
CATF supports the creation of a normal, functional global R&D, commercial, regulatory, and social environment in which nuclear energy can make a significant contribution to managing climate change and advanced technologies can be realized and deployed to market.
CATF accomplishes these goals through direct strategic engagement on technology and commercial strategies with industry, technology, and academic partners; and through advocacy in the public arena and to investors. We support the establishment of a broad portfolio of commercially-available and market-competitive nuclear energy options within the coming decades that could scale rapidly and effectively to meet the increasing global demand for electricity, heat, and zero-carbon fuels for transportation and industrial applications.
Our impact in nuclear energy
Scope of Work
CATF speaks to dozens of government, media, civil society, and private sector audiences around the world each year on the potentially large role of nuclear energy in future clean energy systems, the private sector and policy changes needed to make that potential a reality, and the current status of research, development, and deployment in the nuclear space. CATF also conducts analysis of energy systems to explore the value of nuclear energy in supporting local, national, and international clean energy commitments.
Policy Development & Advocacy
CATF actively advances a suite of U.S. federal initiatives focused on innovation in delivery models, addressing and researching long-standing issues associated with nuclear energy, technological innovation, and demonstration of advanced fission and fusion energy systems. CATF also advocates internationally for increased cooperation on licensing of advanced reactor designs, multinational demonstration, and measures to enhance security of global nuclear technology.
Commercial Assessment & Support
CATF continually reviews and assesses nuclear technology developments, working with companies to fine-tune their technical and commercial strategies, and identifying relevant markets, requirements, and desirable performance characteristics. CATF facilitates collaborations between technology developers, investors, and governments to improve delivery and cost of current nuclear technology, and to accelerate commercialization. CATF also assesses the role for nuclear energy in traditionally non-nuclear markets in future clean energy systems, such as zero carbon fuel production.
Delivery Model Innovation
CATF has helped develop and launch multiple studies outlining the potential for significant cost reductions and swifter delivery of nuclear energy through business and delivery model changes – project management, project structure, product-based manufacturing, offshore siting, for example – as well as advanced reactor technology. CATF is actively working with commercial parties, governments, and manufacturing and construction experts to explore ways to implement these innovations.
CATF played significant roles in the following developments in recent years:
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is modernizing its licensing regulations to work better for advanced fission, along the lines suggested by CATF and our partner the Nuclear Innovation Alliance, which was conceived of and founded by CATF.
- Congress has authorized and appropriated billions of dollars for expanded research, development and early commercial demonstration support for nuclear energy technology, including activities related to production of advanced nuclear fuel materials.
- Co-led by CATF, a consortium of six environmental and climate organizations and more than a dozen U.S. electric utilities and the Edison Electric Institute developed a comprehensive set of recommendations for an accelerated U.S. innovation program for advanced nuclear technologies.
- Collaboration among nations on international licensing of reactors has accelerated, including agreements between the U.S., U.K., and Canada to tackle this issue.
- Several advanced reactor demonstrations have been announced in the U.S. and around the world.
- The restart of the U.S.’s low dose radiation health impacts research program.
- An emerging coalition of hydrogen developers, large potential industrial hydrogen consumers, and nuclear energy developers view advanced nuclear as an option for large scale hydrogen energy production.
- Opinion among thought leaders on nuclear energy as a climate mitigation tool has moved significantly to a more receptive posture.
- CATF, with our partners at MIT, has offered deep factual background on nuclear energy through a regular course, which has educated more than 100 government decisionmakers, civil society advocates, journalists, and philanthropists
- The issuance of numerous studies, some supported by CATF, addressing existing and advanced fission technologies which posit the potential for dramatic cost reductions and have influenced the debate around nuclear energy.
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Licensing and regulatory activites
The prospective regulatory and licensing hurdles associated with deploying nuclear technology are too high a barrier for some potential stakeholders, vendors, and investors. Years of engagement and billions of dollars are currently required to surpass the regulatory obstacles in a single market or country and must many times be repeated for entry into any new country. Activities under this program look to determine how to reduce the challenges, while maintaining appropriate safety requirements and continuing to stimulate innovation and growth.
Learn more about our licensing and regulatory activities
Market analysis and deployment
Over the last several years, an unprecedented number of nuclear startups and new reactor designs from established vendors have been announced and are now being pursued. Each of the designs or companies may offer unique benefits or challenges to deployment in the constantly evolving global energy markets. Activities under this program look to better understand the actual markets for future nuclear deployment, how actual markets could be more palatable for deployment, and what design features improve or limit compatibility with what markets. Additionally, this project also examines the role for nuclear energy to repurpose or repower existing or retired power generation sites.
Learn more about nuclear market analysis
Research and development
A lack of new projects and investment over the last several decades has led to stagnation in many areas of commercially focused nuclear research and development. Additionally, because other energy sources receive significantly more funding from investors than the nuclear industry, the importance of each dollar spent in nuclear research and development is multiplied. Activities under this program look to determine how nuclear research and development activities should be prioritized, strategized, and better coordinated. One example of such activities includes the development of the nuclear hydrogen production initiative, which gathers stakeholders from various industries and sector functions to collaborate through various working groups.
Learn more about our research and development
A new wave of investment into private enterprises is changing the landscape of fusion energy research and challenging the notion that it is purely a scientific endeavor. While numerous technological and commercial hurdles remain, the potential impact of the successful commercialization of fusion technology before 2050 would be substantial. Activities under this program look to understand the commercial viability, to facilitate effective public support, and to identify key policy, regulation, and market challenges or opportunities for commercial fusion efforts.
Learn more about fusion energy