Clark School to Induct Reyes into Innovation Hall of Fame

Photo of NuScale CTO Jose ReyesAn academic, engineer, and entrepreneur, José Reyes (M.S. Nuclear Engineering '84, Ph.D. Nuclear Engineering '86) has spearheaded innovations that could help the globe meet its need for non-carbon-based energy.

In recognition of that achievement, the A. James Clark School of Engineering will formally induct Reyes into its Innovation Hall of Fame (IHOF) on Thursday, December 2. The event, which begins at 4:30, will be livestreamed at

Reyes is the co-founder and chief technology officer of NuScale Power, which has designed the first-ever small modular reactor (SMR) to receive design approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The passively-cooled reactor has a footprint that is similar to that of a coal-fired plant, and is intended to provide a carbon-free source of energy.

It also has safety and reliability features not found in conventional, large-scale nuclear reactors, including the capacity to stay online during a power outage.

“When you lose power, you don’t just have the lights go off,” Reyes said in an interview for UMD. “You lose your drinking water supply, since power to the water supply stations is offline. You lose refrigeration, not only for food, but for medicines such as insulin.” Protecting against such catastrophes, particularly in developing countries, is part of his vision for the future use of SMRs.

He and his colleagues have dedicated close to 20 years to developing and fine-tuning the technology, buoyed by the conviction that it can help address the world’s growing energy demand while reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change—a challenge that Reyes has identified as one of the most urgent ones facing the globe today.

His path towards innovation in nuclear energy began as a master’s student at UMD, where his mentors included mechanical engineering professor Mohammad Modarres, director of the Center for Risk and Reliability and one of the leading experts in the field.

“My experience at UMD was key because that’s where I got my foundation,” Reyes said. “In addition to the world-class faculty that were training me, there was also the fact that UMD has affiliations with many federal research institutions. Having a strong research community in the surrounding area makes a difference.”

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Reyes continues to maintain close ties to his alma mater, including by serving on the Department of Mechanical Engineering's Visiting Committee.

Any questions regarding the event can be directed to Rachael Bennett,

Published December 1, 2021