(ROLLA, Mo., AP) – Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology are conducting work that could shape the next generation of nuclear reactors.
The state’s first nuclear reactor was constructed more than 50 years ago, at the Rolla school. Now, researchers there are tracking and measuring the movement of radioisotopes. Their goal is to understand how nuclear fuel pebbles would behave in what are called “fourth generation” nuclear reactors.
Instead of using fuel rods, the new reactors would house uranium fuel in spheres the size of tennis balls, which are called pebbles.
The school explains in a news release that the cores would be cooled by helium gas instead of water. These reactors are considered to be more efficient than water-cooled reactors and would operate at much higher temperatures.