Cool news on the nuclear front

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A two-fer - this first one will have wonderful trickle-down effect for small towns and towns in very remote areas. From the Nuclear Energy Institute:

Micro-Reactors Could Power Remote Military Bases Within a Decade
With more than 70 advanced nuclear reactor projects in various stages of development in the United States alone, there is exciting growth in this field. “Micro-reactors” are one class of these innovative technologies, whose particular attributes hold out special promise to the nation’s largest energy user—the United States military.

Working closely with the reactor vendors and with relevant offices at the U.S. departments of Defense (DOD) and Energy (DOE), the Nuclear Energy Institute this week published a road map laying out the actions needed to ensure the successful deployment of a first-of-a-kind micro-reactor at a domestic defense installation by the end of 2027.

A bit more:

In contrast with the large nuclear reactors in operation all over the world that have a generating capacity of about 1,000 megawatts-electric (MWe), micro-reactors are typically less than 10 MWe in size. These smaller reactor designs are well-suited for transportation to and installation at remote military bases, where they can provide both electricity and heat for years at a time without refueling. They are capable of operating independently of external electricity grids that could be vulnerable to threats, natural and otherwise, in areas where DOD bases operate.

Micro-reactors are thus capable of providing the resilient energy the military needs, providing primary power under normal and emergency conditions and enhancing DOD’s range of operations, endurance, agility and mission assurance.

The key thing here is that the fully fueled core inside of its containment vessel and radioactive shielding is small enough that it can be trucked to the site or flown in on a cargo plane. The cores are not refueled in the field, they are returned to the manufacturer for processing so the on-site maintenance is basically nil.

Second - two excellent postings. From Neutron Bytes:

INL’s Rita Baranwal Nominated to be DOE A/Sec of Nuclear Energy
The Idaho Falls Post Register reported this week that Rita Barta the head of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has been nominated to serve as the U.S. Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy.

The White House announced the nomination of Rita Baranwal, who heads GAIN, which DOE created in 2015 to support nuclear startups and help universities, industries and other private groups get nuclear technology to the market more quickly. GAIN is managed by Idaho National Laboratory.

Previously, Baranwal was director of technology development and application at Westinghouse. She was a manager in materials technology at Bechtel Bettis. She led research and development in nuclear fuels materials for U.S. naval reactors.

Two very solid and competent postings. We need people like this to advance the next generation of nuclear power. The designs we are using now were first scribbled onto a cocktail napkin over 60 years ago. Time for some more modern designs.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on October 15, 2018 7:12 PM.

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