The Abilene Christian University (ACU), along with three other universities at Texas are leading research on nuclear energy, as it is the most dependable energy source there is, amid the state’s energy crisis due to the freezing storm.
Firstly, the universities intentions are to develop new technology for nuclear energy generation; technology that would support the state in the face of extreme weather conditions.
Secondly, the ACU along with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin, are working on the ACU’s NEXT Lab. This facility was launched back in 2019, with the goal to design, license and commercialize the first molten salt research reactor.
Thirdly, the NEXT Lab has already secured the first patent of the top-notch-technology reactor; also, it has the second patent currently on its way. In fact, the NEXT Lab is working on a salt loop, the development of a salt purification system, a molten filter as well as a chemical analysis system.
Consequently, the consortium will schedule a series of public meetings with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to prepare for submission of a reactor construction permit later this year.
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Nuclear energy remained steady facing the freezing storm
On the other hand; according to the Energy Information Administration, nuclear energy is the most dependable electricity generation source in the U.S. 2019 data show that nuclear plants remained active 93,5% of the time; while hydrocarbon power plants were operational about half the time. In contrast, wind or solar plants only worked about two days each week.
In fact, when the freezing storm hit the U.S., nuclear plants remained consistent.
“Wind can fail due to not enough or too much wind or, as we saw recently, ice on the blades.” Said Dr. Rusty Towell, professor of engineering and physics and director of ACU’s NEXT Lab.
“Solar isn’t available when it’s cloudy or at night. Fossil fuels depend on large volumes and can fail if the supply isn’t secure.”
However, “nuclear energy is fueled for years at a time; and is also less affected by the weather; particularly the type of advanced nuclear technology being developed at ACU; which can be designed without the need for cooling water.”