Purdue, Duke Energy to study powering campus with nuclear reactor
After years of choosing fossil fuels for energy, one of the state’s leading research universities is looking into powering its campus with a nuclear reactor.
Purdue University is partnering with Duke Energy Corp. to study the feasibility of using a small modular nuclear reactor, which is significantly smaller than traditional nuclear reactors, as a campus power source.
Both parties will hold a series of meetings and joint studies in coming weeks to explore whether the reactor would be practical, affordable and meet the school’s long-term needs.
Experts from Purdue’s College of Engineering and the School of Nuclear Engineering, as well as nuclear experts from Duke Energy, will be part of the feasibility study.
“Nuclear provides reliable energy and can complement other carbon-free energy sources, such as solar and wind,” said Duke Energy Indiana president Stan Pinegar. “As the largest regulated nuclear plant operator in the nation, we have more than 50 years of experience with safe, reliable operations. We can share that experience with one of America’s premier engineering schools to see what this technology could do for its campus as well as the state.”
Duke Energy operates 11 nuclear units at six sites in North Carolina and South Carolina, but the company does not currently own or operate any small modular nuclear reactors. Only one SMR reactor project is scheduled for construction, the six-SMR Carbon Free Power Project at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory.
The Purdue/Duke Energy study could result in one of the first SMRs built in the U.S.
“No other option holds as much potential to provide reliable, adequate electric power with zero carbon emissions,” said Purdue president Mitch Daniels in a press release. “Innovation and new ideas are at the core of what we do at Purdue, and that includes searching for ways to minimize the use of fossil fuels while still providing carbon-free, reliable and affordable energy. We see enough promise in these new technologies to undertake an exploration of their practicality, and few places are better positioned to do it.”