Wednesday, October 08, 2008

More on Hyperion's Small Nuclear Reactor

Brian Wang has done a good job providing updates on the Hyperion small reactor. His most recent post on the Hyperion provides a nice comparison of different reactors based upon energy output per weight of materials, along with information about other small reactors.
The 15-20 ton 27-30 MWe Hyperion nuclear reactor will be factory mass produced starting in about 2013. It uses ten to twenty times less material and less uranium fuel as current reactors which will allow society to scale this up a lot more. Goal of 12 month from order to finished factory product. Goal is to make hundreds to thousands each year.

....The reactor core of an S6G (26MWe) submarine nuclear power plant (just the vessel that holds the fuel and the fuel itself) weighs about 110 +/-3 tons. It needs 20000 gallons (80 tons) of water for coolant. After you add in the rest of its systems you are looking at at least 1000 tons of machinery. The reactor fits in a space about 10m long, 10m wide, and 12m tall. Two hundred times more space than the Hyperion Reactor. The S6G is rated at about 130 megawatts thermal power. The electric output is 26 megawatts.

The Hyperion reactor portion is 9-13 times lighter than the submarine core and water coolant. The Hyperion reactor does not have water coolant.

...The Hyperion Power Generation reactor is four to five times smaller than one of four coolant pumps in an AP-1000 nuclear reactor.
Truth be told, solar energy is actually nuclear energy--nuclear fusion. Geothermal energy is also nuclear energy, powered by radioactive decay and fission pocket reactions deep within the planet's interior.

Expect small fission reactors to proliferate as Hyperion scales up, and as the advantages of nuclear reactors for remote locations becomes much clearer.



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