USV’s Climate Thesis is to invest in companies and projects that provide mitigation for or adaptation to the climate crisis. One important way that we can both mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis is to use more nuclear energy. I wrote about this on my AVC blog last year and have been committed to finding one or more nuclear startups to invest in and work with since then.

I am excited to be able to say that I have found the first one and that company is Radiant.

Radiant designs and builds portable, low-cost one-megawatt nuclear fission microreactors that fit in a shipping container, power about 1,000 homes and use TRISO fuels and a helium coolant instead of water. This is what a Radiant microreactor will look like:

That system, which fits inside a shipping container, will power a remote community, commercial facility, military base, etc for upwards of five years before needing to be refueled. And that power will be sustained, clean, and cost-effective.

Radiant’s portable microreactor, Kaleidos, is being developed at a fast pace, using modern software engineering. To learn how, check out this video: Radiant’s Kaleidos.

I have always been interested in networks of small-scale systems versus large centralized solutions. I grew up in the information technology business and have lived through the transition from mainframes, on which I did my first programming as a teenager, to minicomputers, to PCs, to PC networks, to the Internet. I believe that a massive network of small systems is more cost-effective, more reliable, more accessible, and better in every way than large centralized systems and my instinct is that this will be true in energy as well.

When we met Doug Bernauer and his co-founders, we found a team that has the right background, mindset, and commitment to pull something like this off. USV’s Climate Fund recently led a $10mm round that will take Radiant through a number of important milestones and get them closer to putting a system like this in the field.

Radiant is a small team of world-class engineers from a collection of key disciplines and they are looking to add a few more of them. They are particularly interested in the best engineers in the areas of Nuclear Core Design, Materials, Multiphysics Modeling, and Licensing. If you are one of those people, please go here and let them know you would like to join the Radiant team.

It will be a few more years before a system like the one shown above will go live somewhere, but when it does, it will be a new era in the age of nuclear energy and I can’t wait for that to happen.