The origins of civilian nuclear power date back to the early 1950s’ when President Eisenhower proposed that nuclear power be developed from the US Navy’s reactor program. Four short years later, the Shippingport commercial nuclear power plant was operational.
Over the next 30 years, over 100 nuclear reactors were constructed in the US and over 400 are currently in service all over the world. The vast majority of these nuclear power plants use water cooled reactors.
Another type of nuclear power plant relies on gas cooled reactors. These machines have achieved very limited financial success, although the reactors inherently possess impressive safety characteristics. The Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) is a recent embodiment, although the competitiveness of the concept is insufficient.
Nuclear power has not been without major problems, including: the melt down of the Three- Mile Island reactor in 1979; the catastrophic explosion of the Chernobyl reactor in 1986; and most recently the destruction of several reactors at Fukushima as a result of a tsunami in 2011. A common thread in all these accidents is loss of the ability to properly cool the reactor following unexpected events and the ensuing destruction of the reactor core with the complete loss of a very expensive financial asset.
In parallel with the development of nuclear energy, other major advancements in power generation have occurred, most notably gas turbines (combustion turbines) and Combined-cycle power plants. These plants are among the lowest cost to build and produce power at very low prices, so long as the cost of natural gas is reasonable.
The hybrid-nuclear technology marries best characteristics of nuclear and fossil fuels and the best features of gas turbines, combined-cycle power plants and gas reactors to yield a power plant that is fail-safe with economics that beat all competitors.