The nuclear power industry is trying to bounce back after shrinking for decades, and shrunken nuclear reactors could be one key to success.
Combining new technologies, advanced engineering and a market-friendly approach, reactor manufacturers are developing new systems that produce less power but are much smaller and less costly than existing nuclear reactors.
The pitch: small modular reactors, or SMRs, that can be housed in compact containment structures and operate safely with less shielding and oversight. SMRs could allow power plants to shed their huge hourglass-shaped cooling towers and, in some designs, the reactors would be immersed in water to prevent overheating.
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