📣 Aalo Atomics to commercialize scaled up MARVEL microreactor

May 18, 2023

Matt Loszak
2 min readMay 18, 2023
An earlier, non-nuclear prototype of MARVEL in transit for testing (Photo by INL)


  • Aalo will be commercializing a scaled up (20 MWth), economical microreactor inspired by INL’s MARVEL.
  • Aalo’s NRC licensing process will be streamlined by leveraging MARVEL’s nuclear test data.
  • MARVEL was granted permission (by DOE) to begin cutting metal this week.

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The Second Atomic Age is coming

This week, the team at INL was granted permission (by DOE) to start cutting metal for MARVEL. This is the first new microreactor being built in the US in decades [1]. Fabrication is scheduled to take 6–9 months, with criticality planned for later next year.

Why is this important? And what does it have to do with Aalo?

No nuclear company has achieved regulatory approval of an advanced, non-water-based design. This is partly due to a catch-22: The NRC won’t give you a license without nuclear test data, but you can’t get this test data without a license.

Aalo will address this by leveraging MARVEL.

We plan to pair scaled-down nuclear test data from MARVEL (100 kWth) with full-scale non-nuclear test data from a rig which we’ll build. This will provide regulators with a thorough picture of our reactor’s performance. In our early conversations with the NRC, feedback on this approach has been positive [2].

What scale of reactor is Aalo planning?

Aalo’s first reactor will have a power output of 20 MWth (8MWe), and we’ll target an LCOE of 10–20 ¢ / kWh. Our eventual second reactor will be much larger (100–300 MWth), which we believe will achieve the important 3–5 ¢ / kWh threshold (cheaper than coal). Both reactors will be sodium-cooled, LEU+ UZrH-fueled, and factory-fabricated.

In addition to the above, our go-to-market strategy also has the potential to bring other regulatory advantages to bear. But that’s a story for a future post! Subscribe to future updates at Aalo.com.


  • [1] MARVEL is part of the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy Microreactor Program
  • [2] While the DOE is in charge of authorizing INL’s MARVEL, the NRC has closely watched its development and is familiar with the design.



Matt Loszak

Founder @AaloAtomics , sharing my learnings on nuclear and energy along the way. Past: Cofounded @gethumi , fun in Engineering & Physics