Future of nuclear

An aerial photo of Helsinki at night with the sea in the horizon

The nuclear industry has a vast number of ongoing developments for the future of nuclear, like Small Modular Reactors and nuclear fusion. VTT can provide advice how to become involved in the development, and when and how to start applying new technologies.

Key facts

Small Modular Reactors are a potential way to de-carbonize energy in cities and the industry

Future nuclear plants may also produce heat, cold and chemicals

Fusion projects like ITER provide a lot of opportunities for supplier companies 

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are a potential future direction of nuclear energy, as they provide a potential way to de-carbonise energy in cities and the industry. The small size and safety features not requiring power (e.g. relying on natural circulation, gravity) may enable the construction of SMRs near cities or industrial complexes, which makes it easier to use them for providing heat. The potential serial construction would reduce prices and enable reliable construction schedule.  

VTT is actively studying SMRs. We coordinate the ELSMOR project for European SMR licensing practices. We are starting up an ecosystem for companies interested in SMR’s. We make feasibility studies of SMR technology in the local energy networks for both power and heat production or connected to an industrial plant. We also provide services for evaluating technologies and supporting companies in their roadmapping.

VTT is developing a concept for a simplistic low-cost nuclear reactor for district heating. For more about the development see our press release about the Small Modular Reactor for district heating.

Small modular reactors and fusion energy could be the future of nuclear.

Other possible future directions for nuclear energy are flexible operation as well as cogeneration of power, heat, cold and chemicals like synthetic natural gas or ammonia. VTT has versatile expertise and modelling capabilities to assists the development of concepts using these technologies.

We develop fourth generation reactors

VTT is Finland’s representative in the international project consortium building up the Jules Horowitz Materials Testing Reactor. Once ready, the reactor will have in-core testing capabilities for nuclear power plant materials and fuels, for both existing and new types of reactors.

The aims of the Generation IV (fourth generation, Gen IV) reactors are improved safety, economy and sustainability. This would be achieved through the use of novel reactor technologies and the closing of the fuel cycle, thus reducing the high-level waste inventory. Furthermore, in addition to the electricity production, the Gen IV reactors could be used for high temperature applications.  

VTT is a member of the European Sustainable Nuclear Industry Initiative (ESNII) for Gen IV nuclear reactors. We offer computational tools and services to support parts of the engineering and safety analysis related to novel reactor concepts. Moreover, our material research capabilities enable the effective study of factors that limit service life (e.g. oxidation, stress corrosion, high temperature creep and fatigue) in demanding environments, like supercritical water.

Involvement in the fusion reactor research

VTT has a wide variety of competences relevant for fusion reactors, e.g. plasma physics, material characterization and performance, measurement technologies and remote handling. The ROViR centre of VTT and Tampere University houses a full-scale mock-up of the ITER divertor, which is used for the development and testing of remote handling systems, and we are also a part of the neutral beam remote handling project as well. ITER has plenty of opportunities for e.g. engineering and manufacturing companies, and we can help you become involved in ITER tender notifications.

See our future of nuclear publications