Nuclear Power

Top of a nuclear tower with smoke coming out of it.

Data from Statista as of October 31st, 2021, shows that there are 441 operable nuclear plants dislocated all over the world. The country with the largest number of nuclear reactors is USA (93), followed by France (56), China (51) and Russia (38).

Nuclear power represents a huge opportunity as climate crisis continues to be a major topic worldwide. Nuclear energy has been found to be a more sustainable alternative to the use of fossil fuels as it releases less radiation into the environment, and it is a zero-emission clean energy source. However, fission reactors to produce this kind of power can be expensive, generate large amounts of waste and potentially hazardous due to safety risks.

Therefore, companies and investors are starting to invest heavily in this sector and developing technological innovations to support the industry.

An example of start-ups that is developing solutions to make nuclear energy safer and more affordable is Commonwealth Fusion Systems. The latter is an MIT Plasma science and Fusion Center (PSFC) spin-out founded in 2018 and led by CEO Bob Mumgaard. This start-up focuses on developing nuclear fusion technology and, through this, fusion energy. Although many companies have the ambition to develop this source of power, Commonwealth fusion systems wants to achieve results in a faster, more affordable and smarter way by assembling a team of experts in magnets, plasma and manufacturing physics. The objective of the projects is to be able to offer clean and limitless fusion energy. The company raised $115m in funding with global investors such as Italian energy giant Eni.

The nuclear power industry is a sector that is continuously innovating and transforming to be less risky, less expensive and more efficient. New start-ups such as the company mentioned above are trying to speed-up the process and create new technologies thanks to the funds received from investors. Is the work of start-ups like these going to be enough to guarantee a more efficient nuclear power use? Are new technologies going to offset some of the contraindications of using such power source, like the risks related to its use?

References

https://www.statista.com/statistics/267158/number-of-nuclear-reactors-in-operation-by-country/
https://e360.yale.edu/features/why-nuclear-power-must-be-part-of-the-energy-solution-environmentalists-climate#:~:text=Nuclear%20power%20releases%20less%20radiation,power%20plant%20actually%20produces%20energy.
https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/3-reasons-why-nuclear-clean-and-sustainable

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