Oklo, a California-based start-up focused on emergent nuclear technologies, is developing clean energy power plants that use advanced fission to provide emission-free energy. When Oklo received a site permit from the U.S. Department of Energy to build its first plant, a fourth-generation nuclear power plant dubbed, “Aurora powerhouse,” it turned to Gensler to design its facility.
The Aurora powerhouse seeks to make a big community impact within its small footprint. Its system produces 1.5 megawatts of electricity — enough to power roughly 1,000 homes — and can run for 20 years without refueling. Communities facing unreliable energy supplies, compounded by climate change, stand to benefit from the emerging technology in profound ways.
The power plant’s design is based on a flexible language that can resonate within a range of settings, including urban, suburban, desert, and wilderness environments. Atypical of nuclear power plants, a traditional and welcoming architectural element — the front porch — invites visitors into the powerhouse. This extent of engagement with the community, unprecedented in the industry, seeks to bring transparency and public awareness to advanced fission’s role in creating an emission-free energy future.