As the need for non-polluting, safe, reliable, and economically viable energy grows, there’s great interest in the next generation of nuclear energy from advanced reactors that stand to become available within five to seven years. The up-and-coming advanced reactor designs are on track to make fission a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to other forms of power, including hydraulic fracturing and coal generation.
The University of Tennessee recently hosted the Advanced Reactors Summit VII, a nuclear industry conference that brought together about 300 professionals from across the industry and government leaders to share and learn about the latest developments in advanced reactors.
The summit included top speakers from the field and also featured a technology showcase. At the end of the Summit, attendees could attend technical tours, such as to the Clinch River reactor site that TVA hopes to turn into an advanced reactor, and to the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Oak Ridge to see advanced manufacturing techniques.
—Wes Hines, NE department head
The experience also gave students a chance to explore the field of advanced reactors and meet executives from the US Nuclear Industry Council, TVA, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and many more.
One attendee was UT nuclear engineering alumni Ashly Humphrey (‘19) who said, “The AR Summit was an invaluable learning opportunity for someone like myself–just entering into the nuclear profession. It is clear the possibilities for nuclear energy to solve our climate crisis are endless, but we also have to revisit and reeducate the public (especially voting-age) and their views of the safety and efficiency of nuclear.”
The Summit, held under the auspices of the United States Nuclear Industry Council (USNIC), will continue its focus on showcasing technology developers and advancing solutions on the cost and deployment timeframe of advanced reactors, as well as practical ideas and concepts that have the potential of significantly improving advanced reactor design, deployment, and operations.