MEITNER projects seek to identify and develop innovative technologies that can enable designs for lower cost, safer, advanced nuclear reactors. 

The ARPA-E team developed this funding opportunity in close coordination with DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

Nuclear power generates nearly 20 percent of U.S. electricity, offering a reliable source of power that complements the country’s diverse portfolio of fossil-fuel and renewable generation sources. Existing nuclear power plants, however, face comparatively high operational and maintenance costs. Today, there is a compelling opportunity to leverage design, new manufacturing processes, and technologies to increase the competitiveness of nuclear power. The MEITNER program seeks transformative technologies to allow advanced reactor designs that achieve lower construction cost and autonomous operations while also improving safety.

“When ARPA-E examined the challenges facing nuclear energy, we found an important opportunity to support the advanced reactor design community with early-stage technologies that could enable the development of safer and less expensive plants,” said ARPA-E Acting Director Eric Rohlfing. “MEITNER projects are developing technologies that will accelerate fabrication and testing, making construction cheaper, while integrating high levels of automation and built-in safety measures across the plant to reduce operational costs. Close coordination with the Office of Nuclear Energy in this endeavor, including utilization of the knowledge and resources developed by that office, will be critical to ensuring a successful, forward-looking program.”

This funding opportunity encourages collaboration across all disciplines for its projects, calling on scientists, engineers, and practitioners from different organizations, scientific fields, and technology sectors to form diverse and experienced project teams. These interdisciplinary and cross-organizational collaborations facilitate scientific and technological discoveries that a single group alone would not be able to achieve.