Strong opinions on small modular reactors

New nuclear construction in the U.S. is facing challenges. Shayle talks to one nuclear tech CEO about what we can do about it.

On the Catalyst with Shayle Kann podcast this week:

Recent announcements in the world of nuclear power might make you think that new nuclear technologies are close to deployment in North America. But take a closer look, and you’ll find that progress is actually painfully slow, weighed down by regulatory hurdles.

Today’s guest argues that all those rules and regulations need to be overhauled. In this episode, Shayle talks to Bret Kugelmass, CEO and founder of nuclear reactor developer Last Energy. He’s also the host of the podcast Titans of Nuclear. They cover topics including:

  • Small modular vs. micro vs. traditional reactors.

  • The state of small modular reactors and nuclear development in North America.

  • Why utilities are disincentivized to build nuclear.

  • Places that are currently seeing a lot of nuclear construction, such as China and Poland.

  • Building with existing components vs. developing new designs.

  • The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s certification and licensing process.

  • Overhauling the bureaucracy and the institutional design of the NRC itself.

Recommended resources:

  • Catalyst: Will advanced reactors solve nuclear’s problems?

  • Canary: Small modular nuclear reactors: The race is on to actually build them

  • Canary: A small modular nuclear reactor just got U.S. approval — a big milestone

  • Canary: A small nuclear reactor with off-the-shelf parts: Can it work?

Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more.

Catalyst is supported by EnergyHub. The company’s platform lets consumers turn their smart thermostats, EVs, batteries, water heaters and other products into virtual power plants that keep the grid stable and enable higher penetration of solar and wind power. And they are hiring! Learn more and see open roles at energyhub.com/catalyst.

Catalyst is brought to you by Sealed, the experts in home weatherization and electrification upgrades. Sealed is leading the way, with over a decade of experience being accountable to homeowners because they only get paid based on actual energy reductions. Visit Sealed.com/measuredsavings to learn more.