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Since the first nuclear power plant started operation in 1954, almost all of them have run on solid uranium fuel. But starting in the 1950s, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory experimented with liquid nuclear fuel, which promised a safer, cleaner nuclear future. The project was ultimately scrapped in the 1970s, but now, with renewed interest, advanced designs and better materials, some companies are taking a second look at these technologies — potentially paving the way for safer, greener nuclear power that removes several of the downsides associated with conventional nuclear power production.

Read more: Nuclear goes retro — with a much greener outlook