Project Report:
Nuclear 2.0: Essential Energy for the 21st Century
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


We are at a crucial moment in the development of nuclear energy. For nuclear to be a significantly larger part of the energy mix, the development of safer and cheaper advanced designs must be accelerated. To do so, Breakthrough will work to reform public policy and innovation funding as well as garner stronger support from the public for next-generation nuclear.


Nuclear energy is key to meeting human and environmental needs in a high-energy planet, one in which billions of people in the world are able to enjoy secure, free, prosperous, and fulfilling lives on an ecologically vibrant planet. As a technology, however, nuclear faces significant obstacles, including its economics and continued institutional barriers. We need a larger and strong pro-nuclear movement to accelerate the development, demonstration, and deployment of safer and cheaper advanced nuclear reactors. The broader movement must be focused on the long-term vision of a world where all humans can live secure, free, and prosperous lives on an ecologically vibrant planet. The scientific, intellectual, and policy case must continue to be built for this movement if it is to grow in influence and size.

Breakthrough's strategy is to continue to research and communicate how clean, reliable, and cheap nuclear is an indispensable part of our future energy mix. This work will focus on creating reports and analyses, drafting policy white papers, writing open letters, arranging meetings, and convening with key allies. And it will include a policy effort aimed at creating a bipartisan proposal for the United States to get back involved in, and retain its global position in, advanced nuclear energy innovation.

Breakthrough also will build the pro-nuclear movement through sign-on letters, our annual retreat, our Senior Fellows network, our Breakthrough Generation Fellows, and other activities. Last year's Breakthrough Dialogue did this through publicity about the pro-nuclear “ecomodernist” movement in publications like Yale e360. Most critically, climate and ecological scientists must be supported in speaking out more strongly. Several have already come to Breakthrough, asking for our help in circulating statements among scientists and others to elected and environmental officials, urging a future for nuclear.


Start-ups such as TerraPower and Transatomic Power are playing an important part in bringing next generation nuclear to market. But these companies face technological hurdles as well as infrastructure, regulatory, and economic obstacles. Following up on our report, “How to Make Nuclear Cheap,” Breakthrough will develop policy proposals that will help create the framework and institutions needed so that innovative, new nuclear designs and the companies that produce them can succeed.


This proposal is international in scope, focused on researching and developing policy reforms to advance next generation nuclear energy in the United States, China, and throughout the world.

Information Dissemination

Breakthrough effects change in three main ways – research, communications, and network-building – and then distribute and disseminate our work across multiple channels. Our research is sent to journalists in advance of publication, published at the Breakthrough website and in academic journals, and distributed among our Senior Fellows network, Breakthrough Generation Fellows network, and to our newsletter list. Our communications work, which includes articles on our website and the Breakthrough Journal, is also distributed broadly to journalists, our social network followers, and our newsletter. Our network-building work takes multiple forms: Breakthrough convenes a broad-based, ideologically diverse group of scholars, experts, and policy makers to engage in robust discussion and debate, particularly at our annual event, the Breakthrough Dialogue. . At the events, Breakthrough ensures that the relevant publications are made available to participants. We also run Breakthrough Generation, a 10-week research fellowship that prepares young scholars to tackle the big challenges of the 21st century.

Amount Approved
$30,000.00 on 1/17/2014 (Check sent: 1/31/2014)

High Energy Planet
Cover of Breakthrough's 2014 report, Our High-Energy Planet

Report - Our High Energy Planet (PDF)
DecarbonizationWork_BTI.pdf (PDF)
High Energy Planet

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Grace Choi
Operations Director, The Breakthrough Institute

Posted 9/26/2013 7:06 PM
Updated   4/28/2015 6:55 PM

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