Kilopower Nuclear Reactor small Low Cost power source for Space and Earth
Meet the space age power source
“Shields are down to 80% !! Main Power is offline!!! ” …..Well.. that seems the most often faced problem by our Star Trek Heroes…But NASA resolved and working hard to make a Source of Abundant Power for Future Space Stations and Space shuttles…a Mini portable Nuclear Reactor!, first of its kind “The Kilopower Nuclear Reactor ”…Fuelled by Uranium 235, this two meter long portable reactor is all set to start a new space age..An age of Human outpost on Mars.
Need of Kilopower Nuclear Reactor
Whether you are in your home, office or in Space station or traveling in a space shuttle..you need power to do things…all sort of work activities needs power…currently our space stations, Satellites and Rovers depends on Solar Arrays that converts the solar energy to electricity or by radioisotope power systems, which converts heat from natural decaying Plutonium 238, to electricity..But these produces little power..And it is not possible to get solar energy constantly on Mars & Moon..There is also dust storm problems on Mars.
So we need a Reliable power source for future ambitious space project.. Here comes Nuclear Fission Technology to our help in achieving our goals of powering big space stations on other planets, as 1 Pound Uranium fuel is equal to 3 Million pound burnable coal, NASA build up its portable Nuclear Reactor using this fission technology. It is compact, low cost, and able to produce 1 to 10 Kilowatt of energy and has a 10 year life span.
Design of Kilopower Nuclear Reactor
Nuclear Fission technology
The prototype Kilopower Nuclear Reactor uses a solid, cast uranium-235 reactor core, Reactor heat is transferred via passive sodium heat pipes, with the heat being converted to electricity by Stirling engines.
Before the reactor is turned on, that is prior to fission starting the reactor fuel is very safe and only mildly radioactive
The reactor core is a six inche cylinder shaped enriched uraniumr. A Beryllium oxide reflector surrounds the uranium core. A single rod of boron carbide is used to turn on the reactor. This reactor uses well established nuclear physics to self regulate the fission reactions, so no need for complicated control system. The reactor uses nuclear fission to produce heat which is delivered by heat pipes to power generators known as stirling converters. A radiator is used to keep the stirling converters cool.
Test of Kilopower Nuclear Reactor in Nevada
NASA along with Department of Energy just tested this small fission reactor named KRUSTY (Kilowatt Reactor using stirling Technology) in wilderness of Nevada desert, a full power test would be conducted in March 2018.
The Test has a fissioning reactor deliver heat to stirling converters. Each converter produces about 100 watts of power. The goal of the test is to confirm the it’s performance.
“The Killopower test program will give us confidence that this technology is ready for space flight development” Explained Lee Mason of NASA.
Kilopower will lit up the Martian Colony
Heavy Dust storms that lasts weeks and months…very less sunlight available..Mars will be a tough environment for First Human colony. By using Kilopower nuclear reactor, first Martians could charge their rovers, life support systems, communication equipment and even they can able to melt the Martian ICE and use it as fuel…
What it’s Use for Earthians?
Is it somehow useful to ground or it is beneficial for space colonies only? Ya there are several uses of it on earth also in NASA’s word it can be a great use in “Military Forward Operation Bases” and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles. We can design smaller, low cost, exploration submarines for deep sea exploration with Kilopower Nuclear Reactor,
Such portable nuclear reactors can be utilized in Asteroid Mining,
More enormous work is to be done after test to get up to a plug and play Nuclear Reactor, NASA is coming closer to have a real usable space nuclear reactor. As this Kilopower Nuclear Reactor design is low cost, reliable and portable other Government and private space programs may also wish to deploy in their space missions.