Pictured is the Zeus microreactor that is mobile making it a viable energy solution for remote locations.

NANO: At The Forefront Of A Nuclear Renaissance

With the great energy debate intruding into conversations more frequently, it might seem like the sides are clearly defined. As the intensity grows, the stereotypical line drawn in the sand becomes fossil fuels against renewables, which includes a primary focus on wind and solar. While the energy sector has proudly advanced due to great ideas and personalities who persevere, the population has become shortsighted on this subject. Instead of narrowing the acceptance of options, there is a bigger picture to consider, which is where nuclear energy comes in.

Ignoring limitations and taking a chance on creative ideas is a practice that has become second nature to Jay Jiang Yu, founder and executive chairman of NANO Nuclear Energy, Inc. With 16 years of capital markets experience, Yu recognized the potential of nuclear energy as not an intermittent or supplemental power supply option, but one that has the potential to rule the roost like fossil fuels. With the ability to formulate corporate structure, raise capital and establish the necessary relationships, he identified the need to solicit the assistance of a nuclear physicist to make his version of nuclear power a sustainable reality.

Having cut his teeth in numerous areas of industry and managed the new Rolls-Royce Nuclear Chemical Plant construction project and worked on nuclear submarines, James Walker joined Yu’s mission to make nuclear power a tangible power supply source. His extensive background in nuclear engineering fueled his fire to develop NANO as a nuclear power supplier.

“We are in a nuclear renaissance that is in full effect,” says Yu. “Climate change, the global energy crisis, and a race to slash emissions are making nuclear power attractive again. This global chaos is creating the nuclear market.”

As Walker explains, nuclear power is the generation of electrons through the fission of uranium. The heat released by this process generates electricity. This process is nothing new and, long ago, made its way into powering naval submarines. A considerable benefit can be identified when considering its use in submarines. It validates the notion that nuclear energy is consistent power. Nuclear powered submarines depend on this power source to cover vast ocean and sea areas. If consistency could not be ensured, one can only imagine these naval crafts sitting helpless and idle in far off waters.

“Nuclear is consistent power,” says Walker, “making it a much better alternative to wind and solar.”

Considering the United States military has embraced nuclear power since the 1940s and benefited from its success, it seems perplexing that more advancements have yet to be made in power generation.

“Nuclear suffers from bad PR,” says Walker, referring to public perception and historical disasters like the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986. However, nuclear power has continued to grow in use. There are 93 licensed nuclear power plants operating in the United States alone.

NANO Senior Corporate Team.
NANO Senior Corporate Team. From left to right.
Robert Gallucci, Ph.D. – Chairman of Our Executive Advisory Board for Nuclear Policy, former Dean of Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy & Chief Negotiator for USA North-Korean Nuclear Crisis in 1994
Gov. William Blaine Richardson – Chairman of Executive Advisory Board, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Energy Secretary in the Clinton administration, a U.S. Congressman, chairman of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
Mark Nichols – Senior Advisor of our Executive Advisory Board for Policy, Military & Defense, former Senior Advisor at the State Department in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Europe.
James Walker – CEO & Head of our reactor development.
Bill Baumner – Corporate Advisor
Jay Yu – Founder & Executive Chairman
Ian Farnan, Ph.D. – Lead of Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Radiation and Materials, Chair of Cambridge Nuclear Energy Centre
David Huckeba – Chairman of the Executive Advisory Board for Transportation – Former UPS Professional

Identifying a Target Market

Leaving the residential and essential commercial market to other nuclear providers, NANO identified a more specific market where it could levy a power revolution far surpassing the reach of wind and solar. Historically, military bases and other remote locations looked to fossil fueled generators to supply power, as electrical infrastructure is typically unavailable. Data centers have also been identified as areas where NANO can have an impact.

In addition to offering a more cost-effective power supply, NANO sees another upside to nuclear power. In a world of power pioneers seeking clean energy alternatives like wind and solar, nuclear proves resilient in its ability to serve as a clean energy source by decreasing, if not wholly ridding, the potential of emissions and making a significant reduction.

“If you rid the world of remote diesel, you are talking about removing 25 percent of carbon emissions,” says Walker. “Bunker fuel is very dirty. You could potentially remove it all.”

By identifying where nuclear provides solutions, NANO is making it possible by developing smaller and mobile technology. While sizable nuclear power reactors dominate the public’s vision and interpretation of its use, NANO is developing a mobile modular microreactor, which is even smaller than Small Modular Reactors (SMR), making it available to remote areas. Each reactor would produce approximately one megawatt of electric energy for nearly 20 years, which would be used directly as heat or converted to electric power.

Arsenal of Reactors

NANO developed two different reactors to generate nuclear power. Zeus, a solid-core battery reactor, removes heat through thermal conduction and eliminates the need for coolant and pumps. They include modular components capable of being fit within standard shipping containers. This facilitates transportation to those remote target areas that can benefit from nuclear power. Proving its versatility, Zeus reactors allow for diverse applications, including heating capability and electricity generation.

NANO also developed the ODIN reactor, which is a low-pressure coolant reactor. With the ability to operate at higher temperatures when compared to water cooled reactors, the ODIN allows for high-power conversion efficiency when generating electricity. It capitalizes on natural coolant convection for heat transfer to the power conversion cycle at full power. It is also beneficial for decay heat removal reactor shutdowns.

While each NANO reactor can be embraced for specific process solutions, they have similar benefits. As each provides viable power solutions, they produce clean energy, the ultimate goal as the world progresses.

“They are zero emitting sources of power,” says Yu.

Limitations in Infrastructure

The great energy debate includes various opinions based on multiple factors. Many free market supporters conclude that fossil fuels have remained the dominant power source because the cost of production is more economically acceptable than the costs associated with the alternative energy market. This could explain why nuclear power has not catapulted passed fossil fuel use.

Yu and Walker point to more infrastructure as the main hurdle in propelling nuclear power forward. If nuclear power costs could be lowered to mirror coal and gas alone, the market would demand a larger nuclear footprint.

“We want to get nuclear power to the point where it is the cheapest solution,” says Walker.

While some new infrastructure might be needed, progress can be made in re-tooling existing sites like coal mines. They can be converted to nuclear use, and many existing labor forces can be retrained to develop and work within the nuclear sector. While conversion of the old and construction of the new infrastructure will enable forward movement, it takes a massive investment in time. These improvements must be made gradually. Additionally, the market will require a much larger workforce of nuclear engineers.

While infrastructure improvements and the specialized labor force might seem monumental, Yu sees the potential in nuclear power and believes now is the time to strike, making it a reality. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has enabled development in alternative energy, including nuclear, with an investment of $700 million directed at high-assay, low-enriched uranium and $150 million in research and development.

Future Stakehold

Yu and Walker yield that microreactors and SMRs will be coming online before 2030, a target date for emission goals. Within the next 10 years, more countries will be embracing nuclear power. As nuclear potential increases, Yu and Walker predict it will follow the same cost-reduction path as other renewables and expect that reduction to be 17 percent.

Nuclear power’s ability to reign as a logistical solution to remote power generation and meet clean air standards will fortify its global stake in the energy market. With its multifaceted upside and few downside issues, nuclear energy is the up-and-coming everyday energy source that will carve out its place in a world that demands more than one option to meet global demand.

“Nuclear will be the largest energy source,” says Walker, “but it will not be the only option.”

Featured photo: Pictured is the Zeus microreactor that is mobile making it a viable energy solution for remote locations.

Author Profile
Nick Vaccaro
Freelance Writer and Photographer

Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. In addition to providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with twelve years of experience. Vaccaro also contributes to SHALE Oil and Gas Business Magazine, American Oil and Gas Investor, Oil and Gas Investor, Energies Magazine and Louisiana Sportsman Magazine. He has a BA in photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. Vaccaro can be reached at 985-966-0957 or nav@vaccarogroupllc.com

Related posts