The Challenge

Set the course for a new use for nuclear waste.

The Outcome

A new design language, including a brand identity book and a new website to help communicate both the science and the strategy.

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Working with a local architect, IDEO helped design a structure to house Transatomic’s nuclear reactor.

What if material we previously thought of as nuclear waste could be used as fuel?

Two young engineers from MIT are working to build a different kind of nuclear power plant, called a molten salt reactor, which could use current stockpiles of “depleted” uranium to fulfill the world’s energy needs for the next 72 years—powering every lightbulb, laptop, and locomotive in the entire world using only rods labeled as waste. And this is just the beginning.

But first, decades of fierce advocacy on both sides of the debate around nuclear technology had to be addressed, which is where IDEO came in. Government regulators would need to be convinced that testing new prototypes made sense, and fellow scientists would require assurances that this was a fruitful area for research and development. Funders would need to trust that this was a sound investment, and the general public would need to understand that these new ideas were safe.

To help set the course, IDEO created a new design language to talk about Transatomic’s work. A brand identity book and a set of principles outlined their communication voice and strategy. A new website explained the science clearly. And to steer clear of funnel-shaped cooling towers that signaled traditional nuclear power, designers worked with an architectural firm to create sketches of power plants that communicated the efficiency, transparency and potential of this new technology.

The objective was to start a new conversation around one of the world’s most urgent challenges: providing safe, abundant energy to a growing planet.

This type of clear, thoughtful, open communication and digital experience design is exactly what the advanced nuclear energy industry needs.

Leslie Dewan, Cofounder and CEO of Transatomic Power

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IDEO designed and built a new website to better communicate Transatomic’s 25-year vision for the future of nuclear energy.