Most people don’t know that nuclear energy — a clean, carbon-free energy source — accounts for 20% of electricity in the United States and over half of its carbon-free electricity. However, while large nuclear reactors are often (erroneously) villainized — and face extraordinarily high regulatory hurdles and long timelines — less attention has been paid to how nuclear fission can produce reliable, abundant, clean energy in places outside of the standard grid. There are many locations around the world where the utility electrical supply is insufficient, unreliable, or non-existent – such as microgrids, military sites, and more.
Enter Radiant Industries. Radiant is building portable 1-megawatt nuclear reactors, the size of a shipping container, that can reliably produce power for 20 years. Their portable design makes it possible to produce energy wherever it’s needed, without grid infrastructure. And their use of TRISO fuel cores and helium cooling ensures the reactors are safe and resilient.
The benefit isn’t just clean, reliable power, it unlocks the ability to retire a global reliance on diesel generators and the extraordinarily expensive, dangerous, and complex network of logistics that keeps diesel generators around the world fueled and operational.
This is an incredibly ambitious challenge. To meet it, Radiant will have to become the first new commercial reactor design to perform a fueled test in over 50 years, a critical step on their path to getting reactor design approval.
If any group of people can execute on a groundbreaking new technology in this space, it’s cofounders Doug Bernauer and Bob Urberger, and the rest of the Radiant team. They have experience conceiving of, designing, and delivering on new hardware technologies, amassed from their combined time at SpaceX, McMaster-Carr, and various U.S. national laboratories and research centers. And, they understand the important roles that environment and culture play in making the seemingly impossible possible. We believe this team and approach will pioneer and deliver on a new era of nuclear energy in the critically important market segment of microreactors. Radiant prides themselves on being “anti-stealth” with their designs and plans, and you can learn more on their website.
We are honored to partner with Radiant and lead their Series B round. We started the American Dynamism practice to invest in companies with exceptional founders tackling most pressing problems facing our country and the broader world. Small, modular, and portable nuclear reactors have the potential to usher in an era of energy abundance and reliability, and we are excited by the mission of the Radiant team to make this a reality. It’s a long journey, and one we’re excited to be a part of.