We at Think Atom want to stop climate change. We see nuclear technology has an enormous, yet largely untapped potential for society-wide deep decarbonization. The evidence agrees with us. We need to make it happen.
To do our part, we focus on three areas: First, half of our energy is used in the heat sector. What is being done with all this heat? How is it produced and what are the emissions? Second, how the emissions there can be cleaned up with small nuclear reactors quickly and cost-effectively? Finally, to effectively tackle climate change, our society and policies need to allow nuclear energy to play its potential role to the fullest – a lot needs to change to make that a reality.
The evidence on climate change and the demands for decarbonization rates are rather clear: we would need to grow all our clean energy sources (nuclear, wind, solar and others) many times over from their current levels by 2050.
This has not been happening, especially when it comes to nuclear energy, and especially when it comes to energy usage and emissions outside the electricity sector – in heat and transportation.
After researching and discussing the subject for years, we see there is an enormous opportunity to decarbonize our society efficiently, responsibly and sustainably with nuclear energy. A lot of other people study the electricity sector, so we focus mainly on nuclear applications outside the electricity sector; district and industrial heat, desalination, co-generation, synthetic fuels production and so forth. These applications are very different from the power sector, as heat is usually produced and used locally, making huge power plants often a non-starter. As a result, we mainly focus on small nuclear reactors (SMR’s).
We have absolutely nothing against other clean energy sources, but we feel that there are plenty of people speaking for wind and solar out there already, and not enough professional advocates in our niche.
Roughly half of global energy is used as heat, and almost all that heat is produced by combusting fuels. This releases greenhouse gases such as CO2 and harmful particulate pollution. Heat has a few unique characteristics:
- It is produced locally as it is hard to transport long distances (compared to electricity).
- Heat users such as industrial processes often require both high temperatures and reliable delivery, making waste-heat streams, storage and intermittent renewable energy of limited value.
- The cost needs to be low.
Small nuclear reactors can tick those boxes in a way practically no other technology can. That is why we are so excited.
What we do?
We study and inform the public, the media and policy makers on the possibilities of effective decarbonization with advanced and/or small nuclear reactors. A bit like a think tank.
We gather data on the heat and energy markets, specific emissions sources and their characteristics. We refine that data into useful information. A bit like a research institution.
We know the vendors in the advanced/SMR nuclear field, the specifics of their technologies and potential applications for it. We link technology vendors, customers, legislators and regulators to seek optimal solutions. A bit like a consultancy.
If you are designing an exciting small nuclear reactor and want to know who your potential customers are, we can help you with that. If you have a steel-mill, a refinery, a district heating utility, a chemical manufacturing plant, a paper and/or pulp mill and you are looking for ways to decarbonize your processes, we can help you with that.
A not-for-profit corporation
Finally, we are not seeking monetary profit. Indeed, our company does not pay any dividends to owners. The money we get for our work is used for our work, and for the betterment of mankind and the environment.
On one hand this limits the funding opportunities available for us, as there is no capitalistic profit-motive for outside investors. That is fine with us, as we have other matters that drive us. On the other hand, when we do find funding or a customer, they can be sure that their money is not used to pay someone’s dividends, but is spent on the important matter at hand: our work and saving our future.