ENERGY
Fast Company|Summer 2023
Small Wonder Last Energy wants to make nuclear huge by making it tiny.
ALEX PASTERNACK
ENERGY

BRET KUGELMASS, THE 36-year-old founder and CEO of the nuclear startup Last Energy, is used to skeptics. "If your five closest friends have been misinforming you [about nuclear power], I can't blame you," he says. A slight grin hints at what he'd like to tell them: that nuclear power is far less deadly than our typical sources of energy; that it's still the only large-scale source of electricity and high-temperature heat that doesn't emit carbon; that its detractors often misunderstand it.

But Kugelmass isn't trying to convince skeptics. He wants to prove them wrong. In four years, he's gone from hosting a podcast about the nuclear industry to starting a nuclear company to, in recent months, inking nuclear power deals in Europe worth roughly $25.6 billion. Kugelmasswho has a master's in mechanical engineering from Stanford and became interested in nuclear after selling his aerial imaging company in 2017-now counts eight customers across three countries, for a total of 51 potential microreactors. He intends to have his first one running as early as 2026. "In one week [in March], he says, "we sold more nuclear power plant contracts than any company in all of history."

This story is from the Summer 2023 edition of Fast Company.

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This story is from the Summer 2023 edition of Fast Company.

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