DoD Nuclear Energy Use Case – A Combatant Command Perspective


Presented: May 16, 2024 12:00 pm
Presented by: Jeth Fogg, Ph.D.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) was an early adopter of nuclear power and pioneered research of mobile nuclear energy.  In addition to the well-documented U.S. Navy nuclear propulsion program, the U.S. Army constructed eight land-based reactors, deploying a 330-ton “portable” reactor to Camp Century in Greenland.  Although that reactor (PM-2A) leaked radiation, it operated for three years (1960-1963) with the addition of supplemental shielding.  In 1963, it was replaced with diesel generation, and the U.S. Army abandoned portable reactor development in 1965.

Commercial large-scale nuclear reactors have been highly successful, providing 19% of the country’s commercial energy delivery since their inception.  Unfortunately, nuclear failures resulted in additional regulations, nuclear-free zones, overreliance on fossil fuels, and accelerated climate change.

With the advent of enhanced resilience, grid-independent energy operations, and contested logistics brought on by climate change and opportunistic adversaries, the DoD is interested in smaller nuclear energy sources (sub 300 MW).  This webinar will review the range of nuclear energy options and right-sizing future reactor development to meet wide-ranging DoD use cases.

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