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Former SpaceX Engineers Design Lightweight Nuclear Reactor For Portable Energy
By Ell Ko, 18 Oct 2021
Image via Radiant
A team of former SpaceX engineers have unveiled their latest innovation: a portable nuclear reactor developed under their new company, Radiant.
It was born of research into similar tech when SpaceX began to explore energy sources for a potential habitat on Mars, Radiant founder and CEO Doug Bernauer explains. But before that reaches Mars, why not bring it to Earth first?
This microreactor’s design uses an “advanced particle fuel” that doesn’t melt down and is also able to tolerate higher temperatures than a traditional nuclear fuel. Plus, a helium coolant instead of the usual water coolant means that corrosion is reduced, as well as less contamination risks.
It’s said to have the capacity to generate more than 1MW, which the company claims can power up to 1,000 homes for around eight years. Despite such a huge output, it can fit into a shipping container and be easily transported by air, sea, and road.
While, of course, convenient, this also means that it has the potential to bring cleaner energy at a more affordable price to remote communities. This will help to reduce reliance on traditional fossil fuels.
Image via Radiant
It’s also noted by Interesting Engineering that the microreactor is more practical as a new, alternative energy source as compared to older fossil-fuel generators. Instead of relying on fuel shipments to arrive to power it, the clean fuel used in the new product could last upward of four years.
Last year, the startup raised around US$1.2 million to aid the development of its microreactor.
[via Interesting Engineering, images via Radiant]
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