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Energy Impact Center Launches World's First Open-Source Blueprint for Nuclear Power Plant Design

  • Feb 25, 2020
PR Web

WASHINGTON (PRWEB) February 25, 2020

The Energy Impact Center today 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 startup-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, Managing Director of the Energy Impact Center. "OPEN100 will radically change the way we deploy nuclear power plants going forward, offering a substantially less expensive and less complicated solution."

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 visualize plant and component design, costs studies, and construction plans. The open-source format will allow startups, 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.

About The Energy Impact Center

The Energy Impact Center is a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit research institute focused on developing solutions to reverse climate change and achieve global decarbonization by 2040, while expanding economic growth and prosperity. For more information, visit

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 25, 2020


"Nuclear power isn't just part of the solution to addressing climate change; it is the solution," said Kugelmass, Managing Director of the Energy Impact Center.

Alright. Bret Kugelmass has my attention. From a software developer who has worked with open-source coding platforms since before it was a word, he's on to something here.

The key will be doing it right the first time. EIC has no nuclear engineers on board - yet. It's a highly specialized, complex discipline, and an experienced nuclear engineer will be essential for the group to sidestep many of the pitfalls which have plagued third-generation nuclear startups over the last decade. Hands-on experience - there are no podcasts, no number of hours on Wikipedia, that can replace it.

Which brings up my #1 concern: overconfidence. The open-source software community is awash with crappy coding written by self-taught programmers who learned by downloading PHP, Python, and other open-source development tools. Intoxicated with their newfound power, they became Instant Coding Experts before being forced to learn the hard way: it ain't as easy as it looks.

The difference, of course, is that the consequences of a poorly-designed app are minimal. The stakes for the public, with a do-it-yourself nuclear plant developer, are potentially catastrophic. Could regulation and a severe inspection regimen effectively identify and shut down unsafe powerplants? How / where will companies test, or get access to uranium fuel?

These are the big questions, for which answers may prove elusive. In the case of nuclear power, one mistake is too many. Instead of advancing nuclear adoption, an accident could set nuclear power back, and put the only realistic solution to climate change further out of reach.

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