April 16, 2008

Updates on Uranium hydride reactor and Bussard fusion

Hyperion power generation has a new frequently asked question page.

I had detailed coverage of the Hyperion Power generation uranium hydride reactor from their patent submission.

I also had considered applying the device for space power.

Power output of the device: Approximately 70 megawatts (MW) of heat (thermal energy) and 25 megawatts (MW) of electrical power via steam turbine.

Often referred to as a “cartridge” reactor or “nuclear battery,” the Hyperion hydride reactor is self- regulating with no moving parts to break down or corrode.

Initial design efforts for Hyperion indicate that the sealed chamber dimensions of the power modules can be limited in size -- approximately the size of a typical backyard hot tub. [A Uranium Hydride device that was 56 inches in diameter and 66 inches long weighed 7400lb. Jacuzzi hot tubs tend to be 78 inches in diameter and 60 inches tall. So the Hyperion reactor chamber would probably be about 8 tons in weight.]

HPG estimates that approximately 4,000 of the first module design will be needed to meet initial demand.

HPG has already had several meetings with the NRC and will continue to pursue the necessary design approvals and license to manufacture and operate Hyperion power modules.

Hyperion Power Generation was funded by the Altira group which has raised $300 million under management for energy investments. The typical initial investment is $5-$10 million with follow-on investments as warranted. They invest in companies that are commercializing technology and are lead by an effective management team with a compelling value proposition and a sustainable competitive advantage. Several publicized investments by Altira have been for $16 million. The press release on the funding of Hyperion Power Generation

EMC2 fusion who are working on the Bussard Inertial Electrostatic (IEC) Fusion have released a picture of the outside of the test chamber for the new prototype.

From the International Academy of Science Technology of the Year 2006 award briefing on the IEC fusion device.

Dr. Bussard's Inertial Electrostatic Fusion offers

-Small, efficient power reactors, 1-3% the size of current magnetic confinement reactors.
-Clean, radiation-free energy utilizing p B-11.
-Relatively simple engineering with commercial viability in 6-10 years.
-Low cost ($150-200 million from program inception to demonstration of clean power.)


roid said...

Your figures for the Uranium Hydride reactor - assuming the whole system is included in that 8 tons - then that's a 16x greater power density (by weight) than the Safe400 reactor.

Joffan said...

8 tons is just the reactor "hot-tub" as I read it, roid.

When are nuclear power producers, proponents and innovators going to realise that elaborate over-precaution makes people nervous? Like sirens, like KI pills, like alerts based on trivia? The uranium hydride battery-reactor does not, not, NOT need to be buried deep underground. The maximum burial needed is to have the top of the enclosing chamber flush with the surface, but even that is probably more expensive than building above ground without changing the safety/security by any noticeable degree.

John said...

What would 100 MW do for us in terms of final speed for a space craft if we could use that to accelerate ions? Ion propulsion accelerates ions to 100,000 km/hr but if using some sort of accelerometer we could get much higher than that. But suspect this would be difficult.

bw said...

For ion drives, I believe the power source is not the limiting factor. It is things like build up of charge on the ion grid.

Ion drives could get up to 100 km/s. The issues are the slow acceleration and problems scaling beyond not just the power source but other parts.

Vasimr scales better than ion drives in terms of acceleration, ultimate speed and in terms of power.

John said...

bw, Could the build up of charge on the ion grid be dissipated using an electron gun such as seen here:

I thought that the problem was the wearing down of the grid as the ions strike it on the way out of the drive.

Does the slowness of the acceleration really matter. For example an it is said about Deep Space 1 that:

"The effect of the gentle thrust slowly builds up, eventually attaining speeds far beyond the reach of conventional propellants".

Also, what is it about VASIMIR which ultimately gives it greater ultimate speed?

J. Paige said...

Very useful in the tar sands and shale oil fields. Energy independence!

Still, should gradually wean ourselves away from excess reliance on hydrocarbon transportation fuels.

JP Straley