The interim report is published a year after Purdue University and Duke Energy began the study. Amongst other things, the study has confirmed that SMRs are a “potential option to zero carbon emissions” with “significant safety and other advantages”. Building SMRs would offer economic benefits both to Purdue and to Indiana, creating “thousands of temporary construction jobs and hundreds of high-wage permanent jobs” and generating millions of dollars in local taxes.
Advocating for state and federal policy and funding needs is one of the key recommendations of the report. These include regulatory outcomes and economic incentives, nuclear engineering and science workforce development programmes, launching a public-private advanced reactor development programme, and creating a fuel availability programme. Efforts to engage stakeholders should continue, building from a six-part lecture series which reached an audience of 4,900 people between August 2022 and February 2023 and helped build awareness of the benefits and opportunities of new nuclear development.
The interim report also recommends that cost and economic studies, site evaluations and additional
technology assessments should be carried out. No technology has yet been selected, and no decision made, to build a new nuclear plant at Purdue, but the report recommends SMR and advanced reactor projects should be monitored to enable a more detailed technology evaluation as first-of-a-kind projects advance. It also recommends a siting study and timeline to identify the best locations for advanced nuclear to support both the university and the Indiana grid, and “potentially develop an early site permit application for the selected site.” Excess power beyond the campus’s needs would be provided to the state’s grid.