During a press conference Thursday Savannah river nuclear solutions announced they are taking the first steps to transform America’s energy of
future, and that Dr. Terry Michalske will be the new laboratory’s new leader.
In a partnership with Hyperion power, the plan is to develop a mini nuclear reactor at Savannah River site.
"The Hyperion power module developed at SNRS can be plugged into small villages around the world. To provide electricity, purify water and help
elevate the standard of living for those people."
What is the Hyperion Power Module?
Hyperion Power Generation has agreed to build a prototype mini-nuclear
reactor at a US Department of Energy small modular reactor demonstration
complex, officials said Thursday.
The company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Savannah River
National Laboratory Thursday to build the first demonstration reactor at the
Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
Hyperion is developing a 25-MW fast reactor that uses uranium nitride
fuel and lead bismuth eutectic coolant.
1. It will handle any
accident through a combination of inherent and engineered features
2. Inherent negative feedback keeps the reactor stable and operating at a constant temperature
3. Sited underground, out of sight
4. Proliferation-resistant; never opened once installed. Transported back to the factory to refueling.
5. 70 megawatt thermal, 25 megawatt electric. Enough for over 20,000 homes.
6. Can be transported by rail, ship, or truck from the factory where it will be mass produced. The coolant solidifies after the reactor has been shut
down, meaning it will be like a massive block of lead. No irradiation of the public will result, even in the event of an accident during
7. Outlet temperature of 500 degrees. Current reactors operate at 350 degrees. This allows new uses for the reactor, such as industrial process heat
for shale oil extraction.
8. Doesn't need refueling for 8-10 years.
9. 3% the size of a typical reactor. It's still large machine though.
10. A more developed version of this reactor combined with reprocessing should in the future be able to consume nuclear waste and depleted uranium as
fuel. Total nuclear waste reserves (and they really are reserves) in the US alone have more energy than all of the fossil fuels on the planet if
utilized in this way. One soda can of Depleted Uranium is enough for 3350 houses for one year, and the waste is only radioactive for about 500 years,
which is very
easy to store.
11. Coolant is at atmospheric pressure. Won't boil away if it gets too hot, won't flash to steam or anything silly like that.
Aside: What a waste it is... shooting DU all over Iraq! It should be used as fuel. It would also be a massive waste of potential energy resources by
burying the 'waste' under the ground.
I was skeptical that the project would ever get off the ground, but I am very happy that it has. Basically, the problem with current reactors is they
are too large, and often cost more than the utility that wants to built them. If the project fails, then often the utility itself will go bust. And if
the utility doesn't have experience building reactors, then there will be difficulty obtaining finance (or there will be very
rate) may require government intervention to obtain financing. On top of that, they require fairly extensive safety systems which add large costs.
This solves all this - it's designed to be smaller, cheaper, safer, and less risky. Of course, there's a possibility that this project doesn't
succeed. Anyway, hopefully more prototype reactors of different kinds are built (especially the type in my signature - the Integral Fast Reactor). I
am not sure if it in reality requires NRC approval if it is built on a department of energy site, hopefully it doesn't which should allow them to
built it and get experience on a timely basis.
edit on 10/9/2010 by C0bzz because: detail