NEA Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Dashboard


The NEA SMR Dashboard provides a comprehensive assessment of the progress made by SMR designers and companies worldwide. Looking beyond technical feasibility, the NEA SMR Dashboard defines new criteria for assessing real progress in six additional dimensions of readiness: licensing, siting, financing, supply chain, engagement, and fuel. The compilation of the NEA SMR Dashboard reveals substantial progress towards SMR deployment and commercialisation in NEA and non-NEA member countries, with much of this progress taking place during the past two years.

The first two volumes of the first edition track the progress of 42 SMRs around the world. Volume I of the NEA SMR Dashboard was launched during the US Nuclear Regulatory Agency’s (NRC) Regulatory Information Conference on 13 March 2023. Volume II of The NEA SMR Dashboard was published in July 2023 during the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial in Goa, India on 19 July 2023. The 2024 edition of the NEA SMR Dashboard provides the assessment of 56 SMRs around the world.

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) for Net Zero

  • SMRs are expected to have an essential and increasingly important role to play in supporting net zero targets, particularly for hard-to-abate industrial sectors.
  • There are a number of potential benefits to SMRs, ranging from enhanced and passive safety systems to more attractive financing options due to reduced construction schedules, fewer components and smaller plant footprints.
  • The first SMRs are expected to be built this decade, followed by accelerated deployment around the world in the 2030s.

As a class of reactors, SMRs are defined by their smaller size, but there is considerable variety within this class of reactors; they vary by power output, temperature output, technology and fuel cycle. A number of SMRs are based on existing commercially deployed light water technologies, while others are based on advanced design concepts, offering a range of sizes – from 1 MWe to over 300 MWe – and a range of temperatures – from 285°C to more than 850°C, to meet the specific energy needs of hard-to-abate industrial sectors.

Publications and reports
SMRs are reinventing nuclear energy

Figure 1: SMRs - ranges of sizes and temperatures for heat applications

mceclip0 - 2023-12-13 16h01m47s

NEA (2023a, 2023b)


Markets are signalling significant demand for SMRs in hard-to-abate sectors, including for on-grid power to replace coal power plants; off-grid heat and power to replace diesel generators for remote mining operations; high-temperature heat to replace fossil fuel cogeneration in heavy industries such as chemicals processing; and marine propulsion to replace heavy-fuel oil for merchant shipping.

The role of SMRs in pathways to net zero

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considered 90 pathways for emission reductions sufficient to limit average global warming to less than 1.5°C (IPCC, 2018). The IPCC found that, on average, these pathways require nuclear energy capacity to increase to 1 160 gigawatts by 2050, from 394 gigawatts in 2020 (IPCC, 2018).

The role of nuclear energy in achieving net zero was recognised at COP28 when over 20 countries committed to tripling nuclear energy capacity by 2050.

The commitment to triple global installed nuclear capacity by 2050 aligns with NEA’s analysis, which concludes that to meet climate goals consistent with a 1.5°C scenario, global nuclear capacity needs to reach 1 160 gigawatts by 2050.


Figure 2: Full potential of nuclear contributions to net zero

Full potential of nuclear contributions to net zero

Source: NEA (2022)


This is ambitious for nuclear energy, but not beyond reach. Analysis by the NEA, set out in Figure 2 (NEA, 2022), demonstrates how this level of capacity can be achieved through a combination of the long-term operation of existing plants, large-scale Generation III new builds and rapid deployment of SMRs. Assuming an SMR build rate that reaches 75 gigawatts per year by 2050, up to 375 gigawatts of installed capacity could be built over the next three decades.


For more information or to propose an SMR for future editions of the NEA SMR Dashboard, please contact us: