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May 10, 2013

NASA researching 100KW, 4MW and 60 MW thermal molten salt reactors for space

Ohio State University has performed some computational studies of molten salt reactors for NASA space applications.

They looked at 4 MW thermal and 60 MW thermal reactors and flow dynamics and basic design.

Molten salt reactors are an appealing technology for space because of their high temperature and low pressure operation, controllability, and high fuel burn up, among other features.

The proposed research will investigate how molten salt reactor technology can be used to power sub-100 kWe reactors for science missions and for MWe class reactors for human exploration. Both of these applications are cited as relevant to current US goals in space in NASAs Draft 2010 Space Power and Energy Storage Roadmap, and will greatly assist in space exploration. Specifically, sub-100 kWe reactors are a potential solution to the Pu-238 shortage, and molten salt reactor technology can address the issue of controlling small reactors. MWe class reactors require large amounts of fuel and benefit greatly from operating at high temperatures. A MWe molten salt reactor is capable at operating at high temperatures and would require less fuel than its traditional solid fuel counterpart.

There is a 53 page undergrad thesis

It would be a 53 ton reactor, radiator and turbine and propulsion system for 15 MWe nuclear electric propulsion system.







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