As many countries are exploring ways to achieve their commitments to meet their decarbonisation targets by 2050, attention is being turned to ongoing development of small modular reactors (SMRs) as an option to address the effect of climate change and future energy demand.
The Nuclear Education, Skills and Technology (NEST) SMR Project was created by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) to promote hands-on training, learning and knowledge exchange between groups of NEST Fellows (primarily graduate and post-doctoral students and researchers) in multidisciplinary areas that support the deployment of SMRs. In executing its mission, NEST SMR project promotes a holistic view of nuclear science, engineering and non-technical disciplines relating to SMR deployment.
Leading up to the event, the 25 participants attended four separate virtual sessions that introduced the students to many aspects of deploying SMRs. The Press Pitch concluded with a full day in-person meeting at the G4SR and GIF Industry Forum where the students completed and presented their pitches to a panel including NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Reactor Fleet and Advanced Reactor Deployment at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy, Alice Caponiti, Chief Science and Technology Officer at the UK National Nuclear Laboratory and Vice Chair of the NEA Steering Committee, Dr Fiona Rayment, and Professor Goran Calic from McMaster University.
Participants working on their presentations during the NEST SMR Press Pitch 2022 in Toronto.
A number of highly regarded professors and industry experts were involved in the virtual events leading up to the final in-person presentations, discussing a breadth of topics, including:
Professor Caleb Brooks, University of Illinois: his university’s planning to bring a new reactor to campus and what practical conversations and decision-making this involved;
Professor Hitesh Bindra, Purdue University: how to economically pair nuclear energy and renewable sources;
Professor Margot Hurlbert, University of Regina and Dr Gaston Meskens, SCK-CEN Belgium: public acceptance, ethics, and energy politics;
Dan Smith, Nuclear Matters: communications and the elements of a press pitch
Dr Sarah Sarnowski, Los Alamos National Laboratory: elements of reactor safeguards and security;
Professor Yassin Hassan, Texas A&M University: modern approaches to reactor design;
Professor Zahra Mohaghegh, University of Illinois: regulatory approaches for modern reactors; and
Karine Glenn, Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO): waste management approaches.
Participants delivering their presentation to the judging panel, including NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV (far left)
during the NEST SMR Press Pitch 2022
For each week of the virtual events, the students followed the presentations with a time to work together on their eventual press pitches.
The top two scoring projects were invited to present their pitches at the G4SR Innovation Night.
For more information about the NEA's NEST projects click here.