Purdue, Duke Energy exploring small nuclear plant for campus

April 27, 2022 GMT

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University and Duke Energy plan to jointly explore the feasibility of using advanced nuclear energy to meet the campus’s long-term energy needs and reduce its carbon footprint, they announced Wednesday.

Purdue and Duke intend to study power produced through small modular reactors, or SMRs, which are significantly smaller than traditional nuclear power plants. An SMR could meet current and future needs for the West Lafayette campus and provide excess power to the state’s electric grid. SMRs can be prefabricated off site, saving money and time in construction.

“No other option holds as much potential to provide reliable, adequate electric power with zero carbon emissions,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said.

However, nuclear power plants use large amounts of water for steam production and cooling. They also produce spent uranium fuel, which is stored in pools or steel-lined concrete vaults for decades.

Purdue provided no time line on when its first SMR might arrive on campus.

Duke said it is the largest regulated nuclear plant operator in the nation, with 11 nuclear units at six plant sites in North Carolina and South Carolina.