Small Nuclear Reactors for Military Installations: Capabilities, Costs, and Technological Implications

By Richard B. Andres and Hanna L. Breetz Strategic Forum 262

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Small Nuclear Reactors for Military Installations: Capabilities,
Small Nuclear Reactors for Military Installations
Strategic Forum 262
Photo By: Richard B. Andres and Hanna L. Breetz
VIRIN: 180314-D-BD104-017

Key Points

  • Without Department of Defense (DOD) intervention, the United States runs the risk of a small reactor market dominated by foreign countries, further eroding U.S. commercial nuclear power capabilities and damaging U.S. control over nuclear energy proliferation. 
  • DOD has recently expressed interest in the possibility of integrating small nuclear reactors on military bases as part of its strategy to “island” bases from the fragile civilian power grid. 
  • Small nuclear reactor technology offers a host of benefits over traditional large reactors—namely, a smaller footprint, scalable design, factory-based construction, portability, and passive safety features. 
  • DOD has a chance to become a “first mover” in the emerging small reactor market; by providing assistance and guidance to the private sector, DOD can ensure that successful designs meet its operational needs.

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