Mini Nuclear Reactors

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Mini Nuclear Reactors

Postby Access Denied » Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:48 am

I want one…

Portable nuclear reactors could power 20,000 homes

[from via R&D Magazine]


Underground nuclear power plants no bigger than a hot tub may soon provide electricity for communities around the world. Measuring about 1.5 m across, the mini reactors can each power about 20,000 homes.


"Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world," said John Deal, CEO of Hyperion. "[The nuclear plants] will cost approximately $25 million each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $2,500 per home."

Sounds good but it is safe?

In addition, the Hyperion modules have no moving parts to wear down, and never need to be opened on site. Even if opened, the small amount of enclosed fuel would immediately cool, alleviating safety concerns. "It is impossible for the module to go supercritical, ‘melt down,’ or create any type of emergency situation," the company states on its Web site. Because the Hyperion plants would be buried underground and guarded by a security detail, the company explains that they´ll be out of sight and safe from illegitimate uses. Further, the material inside wouldn´t be appropriate for proliferation purposes.

"You would need nation-state resources in order to enrich our uranium," Deal said. "Temperature-wise it’s too hot to handle. It would be like stealing a barbecue with your bare hands."

So then what’s the security detail for? ;)

OK what’s the catch?

The reactors need to be refueled about every seven to ten years. After five years of generating power, Hyperion says that the module produces a total waste of about the size of a softball, which could be a candidate for fuel recycling.

Hyperion now has more than 100 orders for its modules, mostly from the oil and electricity industries. The first order came from a Czech infrastructure company called TES, which specializes in water plants and power plants. TES ordered six modules and optioned another 12, with the first planned to be located in Romania.

Hyperion plans to build three manufacturing plants, with the goal of producing 4,000 mini nuclear modules between 2013 and 2023. Next year, the company will submit an application to build the modules to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Ah, it’s vaporware.

Let’s see… so far they potentially have 100 times $25 million in sales… that’s $2.5 billion… minus development and production costs that is.

While acknowledging that the commercial development of mini nuclear plants is a lofty goal, Hyperion believes that the potential benefits of the technology make the effort well worthwhile.

We’ll see what the venture capitalists think…

Men go and come but Earth abides.
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