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Mini nuclear power plants are coming. As small as a shed, and buried locally underground where they are needed, these plants have no moving parts and simply produce energy for years.

[Image Source: Next Energy News]


Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes | Environment | The Observer
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“Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.”

Of course safety and disposal would be a concern…

“The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.”

But, they do appear to have real orders. I think that perhaps for countries that have electrical infrastructures that are not stable – this may be a compelling option.

“The reactors, only a few metres in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory. An application to build the plants will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year.”

The company is named Hyperion, and below is some additional information on the reactor:

“The Hyperion nuclear battery is filled with an uranium hydride core and surrounded by a hydrogen atmosphere. The self sufficient nuclear generator is simply buried underground and hooked up to a steam turbine it generates enough electricity to power a 25,000-home community for at least five years.

The nuclear battery cannot overheat and has no mechanical function to maintain. The company is expecting to produce 4000 units in the next 3 years, which could provide 100GW of power, equal to about 20% of America’s total energy usage.

Each mini reactor can produce 27 megawatts worth of thermal energy and it is totally self-contained, involves no moving parts and, therefore, doesn’t require a human operator.

‚ÄòIn fact, we prefer to call it a ‚Äòdrive‚Äô or a ‚Äòbattery‚Äô or a ‚Äòmodule‚Äô in that it‚Äôs so safe,‚Äô Hyperion spokeswoman Deborah Blackwell says. ‚ÄòLike you don‚Äôt open a double-A battery, you just plug [the reactor] in and it does its chemical thing inside of it. You don‚Äôt ever open it or mess with it.‚Äô””