(The Center Square) – Purdue University and Duke Energy have announced plans to explore the use of nuclear power to meet campus energy needs. The move is part of Purdue’s sustainability master plan to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2025.
“Innovation and new ideas are at the heart of what we do at Purdue, and that includes finding ways to minimize the use of fossil fuels while providing carbon-free, reliable and affordable energy,” said the Purdue Chairman Mitch Daniels in a statement. “We see enough promise in these new technologies to undertake an exploration of their practicality, and few places are better placed to do so.”
The partnership aims to determine the feasibility of using small modular reactors. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the main advantages of SMRs are that they are small and modular, which means that they take up much less space than conventional reactors and that they can be manufactured in factories. , then assembled on site.
SMRs can produce up to 43% of the energy generated by a conventional reactor.
The West Lafayette campus, home to nearly 50,000 students, of whom at least 12,000 live on campus, is currently powered by two facilities, the Wade Utility Plant and a Duke Energy plant on campus. About half of Purdue’s electricity comes from Duke Energy.
Duke operates 11 nuclear units at six sites in North Carolina and South Carolina. These reactors provide nearly 11,000 megawatts of carbon-free electricity, enough to meet half of its customers’ demand in those states, according to a company statement.
Duke estimates that in 2021 alone, its nuclear plants avoided the release of more than 50.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, which would have been generated by conventional fuel.
The joint study will continue over the next few weeks. No timeline has been announced.