The initiative will develop a siting tool and provide guidance on methodologies
The University of Michigan (U-M) Fastest Path to Zero Initiative (FPtZ) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) to develop a siting tool to be used in the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies. The effort builds on ORNL’s OR-SAGE tool, and incorporates social, political, and economic data to connect advanced nuclear companies with communities looking to mitigate climate change by adopting zero-carbon energy systems. The University of Tennessee’s Battelle Lab manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.
ARPA-E advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are not yet developed enough to secure private-sector investment. Awardees of the agency are unique because they are developing bleeding edge solutions to generate, store, and use energy. The award was issued through the APRA-E MEITNER (Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration) Resource Team. This program aims to lay the groundwork for the development of safe, secure, and cost-efficient advanced nuclear power plants and has the potential to produce several advanced nuclear power plants worldwide, contributing to FPtZ’s ambitious vision of a zero-emission world.
FPtZ and ORNL will provide research support on siting strategies and tech-to-market direction to MEITNER project stakeholders, many of which are advanced nuclear companies developing reactors. Development and deployment of the siting tool will be rooted in FPtZ principles of human-centered design, transparency, and community consent.
FPtZ will receive $795,000 over eighteen months to develop, beta test and demonstrate the tool to stakeholders. Industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and university partners will contribute additional critical resources.
“Clean energy is important and ARPA-E projects are critical in moving technology to commercialization,” said FPtZ Founding Director Todd Allen. “Partnering with ORNL to move advanced nuclear forward is a great opportunity for the FPtZ team. Margaret Mead is quoted as saying ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’ She was probably thinking about the FPtZ team.” Allen currently serves as Chair of the Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Department (NERS) within the U-M College of Engineering.
Suzanne Baker, the Creative Director of FPtZ, is the U-M lead on the project. Baker has spent over a decade at the intersection of climate change mitigation and nuclear energy promotion.
Learn more about the Fastest Path to Zero Initiative: fastestpathtozero.umich.edu