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Purdue, Duke Energy study could provide blueprint for developing future power source

By District Energy posted 06-14-2022 16:50


News and Tribune


With environmental groups continuing to pressure utilities to develop and adopt cleaner and more cost-effective technologies for generating and delivering energy to the nation’s power grid, a joint research project based in Indiana may offer a road map for utilizing nuclear energy as part of a “green portfolio.”

In late April, Purdue University and Duke Energy announced a plan to jointly explore the feasibility of using nuclear energy to meet long-term energy needs at the university’s West Lafayette campus.

The research project focuses on studying power produced through small modular reactors (SMRs), which the International Atomic Energy Agency has indicated are among the most promising technologies when it comes to nuclear power.

“No other option holds as much potential to provide reliable, adequate electric power with zero carbon emissions,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a news release.

Although there are no SMRs in commercial production, a design approved last fall by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission could accelerate production, lower costs and improve safety over traditional reactors. Other designs would allow the reactors to be built with the ability to produce between 50 and 300 megawatts of electricity — instead of the nearly 1,000 megawatts generated by traditional nuclear reactors.

“While there are various designs in SMRs, the physics behind the technology is nothing new,” said Dr. Seungjin Kim, head of the School of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue and one of the university’s lead researchers on the project.

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