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Optimal Operations for Advanced Nuclear Reactors

Alexandria, VA

May 15-16, 2019

ARPA-E seeks to convene people from diverse industries to discuss technologies for enabling advanced nuclear reactors to achieve operating cost profiles approximating those of natural gas combined cycle plants. This entails reducing operating costs per megawatt of electricity (MWe) at nuclear power plants by more than one order of magnitude. Attaining this vision requires optimal operations of nuclear reactors, a radical departure from traditional operations. Attacking this problem requires operational technologies and controls strategies with limited or no technical precedent in the nuclear community. ARPA-E is especially interested in perspectives from outside the traditional nuclear energy space.

Areas of interest include:

  • Approaches in data analytics, dynamics modeling, advanced control systems, predictive maintenance, autonomous maintenance, fault detection and isolation algorithms, and novel sensor systems;
  • Advanced modeling and simulators that allow exploration of a full range of potential data streams to help identify/evaluate the most relevant control algorithms and sensor needs; and
  • Test loops and experimental facilities that can be leveraged to investigate and validate approaches for autonomous controls, operations, and maintenance.

The workshop agenda will provide background information for those not familiar with the nuclear energy space; discussions around the best current thinking about asset performance management, autonomy and automation, and controls and maintenance, focused around industrial facility operation; and breakout sessions for deep discussion about the cutting edge of existing technology and requirements for making a real difference in the future of nuclear reactor power plant operations and maintenance.

The meeting's output will help direct the actions of ARPA-E towards the most promising and appropriate high risk, high return R&D funding opportunities and management strategies. Interested participants may apply to the workshop by sending an email to (link sends e-mail) stating your interest in attending along with the requested information: a) your resume including a description of your expertise in the topic and b) a brief statement on what you see as the key challenges and opportunities facing the topic. Please note there is an attendance fee to defray workshop costs. This event is closed to the media.