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Technology Enabling Zero-EPZ Micro Modular Reactors

Stony Brook University
ARPA-E Award: 
Stony Brook, NY
Project Term: 
03/13/2019 to 09/12/2021
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Nuclear power provides about one-fifth of U.S. electricity generation, delivering reliable, low-emission, baseload power to the grid. However, the future of nuclear power is unclear; high costs and a rapidly changing grid--including growing renewable resources like wind and solar--present new challenges for existing and new nuclear plants. The next generation of nuclear plants require new technological advances to achieve "walkaway" safe operation, extremely low construction capital costs, and dramatically shorter construction and commissioning times than currently available plants.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Stony Brook Universitywill develop advanced technologies for gas-cooled reactors to increase their power density, enabling them to be smaller. The team seeks to develop a high-performance moderator--which slows down neutrons so they can cause fission--to enable a compact reactor with enhanced safety features. Shrinking the reactor size enables greater versatility in deployment and reduced construction times and costs, both of which are especially important for smaller modular reactor systems that may be constructed wherever heat and power are needed.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, developments from MEITNER projects will inform the development of lower cost, safe, and secure advanced nuclear power plants.
Nuclear power plants contribute to grid stability by providing reliable baseload power and are among the most secure facilities in the country.
Nuclear power has low life cycle emissions, making it a key source of clean electricity.
Nuclear power provides high-efficiency electrical generation for the U.S. grid. Reducing plant costs reduces exposure to price volatility.
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Zak Fang
Project Contact: 
Jason Trelewicz
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
University of Tennessee
Release Date: