Dr Thomas Davis, President and Chief Technology Officer, was invited to present at the prestigious Windsor Energy Group discussion on ‘Is Nuclear Part of Green and Secure Energy Future?’ Dr Davis’ talk was titled ‘Realising Tomorrow’s Nuclear Realities’ on 10th May 2022.
The talk focused on Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs), or Generation IV nuclear reactors, and how they are seen as the successor to Light-Water Reactors. Generation IV nuclear reactors use non-water-based coolants, have extensive passive safety systems, and have the potential to utilise spent nuclear waste as fuel. In the last decade, the world has seen many private companies receive investment (US$ billions range) into building these Generation IV nuclear reactors within the 2030s. However, there are some significant challenges that lie ahead in realising the commercialisation of these designs; these are regulatory acceptance and overcoming technical challenges. The former is surrounding the rethink on how to licence a non-water based nuclear regime and the latter is where significant challenges still lie in selecting suitable structural materials to withstand the extreme corrosive nature of some of these exotic coolants. There is space for innovation in Generation IV reactor design, and there is a hive of activity within national laboratories, universities, and advanced fission companies.
“The wide ranging discussion on how nuclear power can contribute to the energy security of the future was invaluable.” ~ Dr Thomas Davis, CTO Oxford Sigma.
Windsor Energy Group takes its name from an annual residential meeting at Windsor Castle and is chaired by Lord Howell, a former UK energy secretary. The group holds regular expert discussions in the House of Lords and the City of London as well as in major international centres.
Oxford Sigma tackles energy security and climate change by accelerating the development of fusion and advanced nuclear energy. The company’s aim is to develop innovative nuclear technology to withstand extreme environments, provide nuclear materials expertise, and advise the advanced nuclear and fusion energy industries in their quest to achieve commercialisation.
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