River Reactor Project

The River Reactor Project is a large-scale public art project intended to bring attention to the potential of nuclear energy, and in particular nuclear microreactors.

We believe that these remarkable devices — and nuclear energy in general — deserve a far larger role in our conversations about both climate change and global energy poverty.

The project hopes to offer thousands of people a brief, intriguing encounter that kindles their curiosity about nuclear energy — and hints at the paths to prosperity that nuclear energy could open for humankind.

To do so, we’ll construct a full-scale replica of a nuclear microreactor on a floating platform that we deploy in the rivers of different cities in the US and (we hope) around the world. Paired with live music and a welcoming design, the sculpture is intended to pique the interest of everyone who experiences it, opening up deeper conversations about what nuclear energy is, how it works, and what it makes possible.

Read the latest project brief.

What are nuclear microreactors?

Sometimes called “nuclear batteries” or “fission batteries”, nuclear microreactors serve as compact powerhouses that use nuclear energy to generate electricity and potentially heat. Despite their small size compared to standard nuclear plants, they operate continuously for years without refueling. Imagine a battery potent enough to electrify a small town, fuel desalination plants for fresh water, or supply dependable backup power during emergencies. This tiny yet robust reactor represents a carbon-free path toward a sustainable and resilient future.

Who are the project advisors?

We’re very grateful to have a terrific and growing team of technical and artistic advisors on the project:

Technical advisors:
Artistic advisors:
What's the current state of the project?

Planning for the River Reactor Project is now underway. We’re actively seeking grant opportunities, partnerships, sponsorships, donations, and other forms of funding. Please reach out to discuss the project: steve *AT* physicalplant.org

Where can I find the quarterly updates?

We’ll add new links to this list each quarter:

Comments are closed.