Sandia Labs nuclear mini-reactor

Private companies aren't alone in looking for the next big (or, in this case, small) thing in nuclear.
Sandia National Laboratories said it has designed a small nuclear reactor and is looking for partners to commercialize it and even sell it overseas. The reactor could provide 100 to 300 megawatts worth of heat. More importantly, the factory-built reactor could be completed in two years, far less than the seven years or more that large (3,000 megawatts), conventional reactors take.

Roughly 85 percent of the design is complete. The cost of the reactor could drop to $250 million once in production.
That works out to about $800-900 per kilowatt, an order of magnitude better than the latest bids for conventional nuclear reactors. So pretty promising, although "could drop to ___ once in production" should be taken with many grains of salt.

Cutting-edge nuclear technology is a great place for government research, given the sensitive nature of the topic and the enormous intellectual firepower the government's national lab system can bring to bear on the topic. Most promising small-scale nuclear designs, like the Integrated Fast Reactor, also came from the national labs system.

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