Modular Nuclear

  • A few months back, we featured a $100M carbon removal challenge by Elon Musk and X-Prize (no grand prize winner but 23 student prizes were awarded).
  • Upping the ante, Meta, Alphabet, Stripe, Shopiify and McKinsey have stepped forward to offer a $1B advanced market commitment (AMC, a guarantee to buy carbon credits from the most promising carbon removal startups).
  • Carbon capture is moving to the forefront as emissions reduction is too slow and iffy and the climate emergency is getting too real (strange weather, floods, droughts).
  • On the emissions side, a big culprit is power generation using fossil fuels (coal, natural gas)). Solar and wind are making some gains but are not practical in many locations and applications.
  • There are grand plans for countries with ample sunlight and cloudless skies (essentially deserts) to build vast solar farms and export the power via long distance electric transmission or, possibly green hydrogen.
  • Another promising non-carbon power source are small modular reactors (SMRs), nuclear fission reactors that are made in factories and installed on site. The SMRs are safer, cheaper to acquire and run than conventional reactors. A possible future high growth industry.
  • SMR fits nicely with sky high fuel prices, power hungry desalination plants (droughts are coming). and the EV revolution. Some SMR players: Toshiba (JP), CGNPC, CNNC (CN), UltraSafe (CA), KEPCO, KAERI(SK), GE-Hitachi, Westinghouse (US), FramatomeAreva (FR), OKBM Afrikanotov (RU), Rolls Royce (UK), ThorCon (ID).