If you thought the Fukushima disaster derailed nuclear power worldwide, look again.

Evacuations and the havoc caused by meltdowns at four reactor cores at the Fukushima power plant earlier this year prompted Japan to shift away from nuclear power and recatalyzed a nuclear phase-out in Germany. But many countries remain enthusiastic about nuclear power, and interest in newer technologies has increased because they are safer, according to a panel of industry professionals here at the MIT Energy Finance Forum on Friday.

“Our investors have a very long time horizon and the reason they supported it is the long-term societal implications and the potentially significant returns from that (so) we haven’t seen any wavering of support,” said Tyler Ellis, a project manager at TerraPower. “Our development partners are trying to accelerate the time scale (of building plants) due to the energy security and safety.”

TerraPower is among a handful of nuclear power companies to emerge over the past few years with the hopes of modernizing nuclear power plant technology, which has remained essentially the same for decades. The company’s most famous investor is Bill Gates but it has also drawn venture capital from Khosla Ventures and Charles River Ventures.

There are also at least two companies–NuScale Power and Babcock & Wilcox–specializing in small modular reactors, an alternative to today’s giant 1,000-megawatt power plants which supply about 1 million U.S. homes. NuScale Power, for example, intends to build modular 45-megawatt reactors that are 65 feet high and 15 feet in diameter.

Source: cnet

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