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Washington-based non-profit research institute, Energy Impact Center, launched the OPEN100 project, the world’s first open-source blueprint for the design, construction and financing of nuclear power plants. 

Bret Kugelmass, a robotics pioneer and former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, founded the Energy Impact Center (EIC) in 2017 to apply start-up-style urgency and design-thinking principles to global societal problems.

After two years of studying the challenges and opportunities associated with climate change, including conducting 1,500 interviews and over 100 site visits across 15 countries, the Center determined that the most viable solution was an extraordinary expansion of nuclear energy.

“Nuclear power isn’t just part of the solution to addressing climate change; it is the solution,” said Kugelmass, the managing director of the Energy Impact Center.”

He added: “OPEN100 will radically change the way we deploy nuclear power plants going forward, offering a substantially less expensive and less complicated solution.”

Foundation for a nuclear power blueprint

The problem is that for the past 50 years, rising costs and delays associated with overly complicated and proprietary designs have severely limited the deployment of nuclear power around the world.

EIC created OPEN100 to serve as a foundation for new power plant construction, offering developers everything from a web interface to visualise plant and component design, costs studies, and construction plans.

The open-source format will allow start-ups, engineering firms, global utilities, and capital markets to align around a common framework.

“The goal of the project is to accelerate the development of nuclear power, offering the world an affordable alternative to fossil fuels,” Kugelmass said.

EIC also announced $3 million in venture-capital funding to spin-out, Last Energy, a for-profit entity to connect private capital with international energy development opportunities.

The funding round was led by Silicon Valley’s First Round Capital.