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RTI Press launches new book to help inform debate on climate and energy

RTI International and NC State University authors team up to discuss the viability of small modular nuclear reactors as a complement to solar and wind

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — In advance of the November United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), a new book published by RTI Press, a global publisher of peer-reviewed, open-access publications. Carbon-free Power: Role of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs), assesses the benefits and challenges of related technology, including safety and economic aspects as well as fit with other carbon-free energy sources, storage solutions and industrial opportunities.

Dr. Vikram Rao, executive director of the Research Triangle Energy Consortium and advisor to RTI International, is the lead author with Dr. Chris Gould North Carolina State University Emeritus Physics Professor, serving as the co-author. The pair consider whether SMRs and other alternative technologies can fill the output gaps intrinsic in solar and wind technology with diurnal and seasonal variations. Their aim is to help readers consider these relatively new reactors as part of an appropriate energy mix for the future.

“Informed public discourse will be essential for helping societies reach appropriate and equitable energy solutions to the challenges of climate change,” said Rao. “Small modular nuclear reactors and geothermal energy are the principal economical and carbon-free means to fill the temporal gaps in solar and wind output to enable a carbon-free power grid with 24/7 access.”

The series Diversifying Energy Options in a Carbon-Constrained World provides concise, science-based books to inform debates on climate and energy. The intended audience is educated lay persons. Each volume presents a cross-disciplinary discussion of a specific technology in the context of carbon mitigation options and strategies developed to combat, stabilize or reduce effects of climate change. The series editor is Dr. David C. Dayton, Senior Fellow and Director, Biofuels at RTI.

“Small modular reactors are under accelerated development and offer the promise of being excellent clean energy gap fillers, in part because they are capable of ramping up or down in output to fit any public utilization profile,” said co-author Gould. “One big advantage is their footprint is 100 times smaller than that of a solar installation with the same output and 1,000 times smaller than that of a wind farm. This allows a strategy of mixing and matching with the low-cost leaders, solar and wind.”

The nine-chapter book is available for download through RTI Press, a global publisher of peer-reviewed, open-access publications.