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Clean Energy, Faster

How to Speed Up the Rollout of Small Nuclear Power Plants

A modular reactor startup could flip the switch on a smaller nuclear plant that would help boost energy supplies and cut reliance on coal and gas. But making it work soon would require fast-tracking the approval process.

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Photo illustration: Stephanie Davidson/Bloomberg

The invasion of Ukraine has put the U.S. and Europe on a wartime mission to abandon Russian fossil fuels. This series looks at speeding up zero-carbon alternatives by lowering political and financial barriers. Sign up here to get the next story sent to your inbox.

Building big, conventional nuclear power plants is slow and expensive. That’s one reason the industry is staking its future on a new generation of smaller advanced reactors. Still in development, these offer the promise of carbon-free energy and could back up the ebbs and flows of renewable power in clean grids of the future.