John (Grizz) Deal is an expressive driver of an entrepreneurial start-up that has spun out unique nuclear reactor technology from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). It’s not a conventional reactor with fuel rods and cooling systems. Instead, it is a 25 MW “battery” that is expected to be compact and light enough to be delivered on the back of a truck. The vision is a user will pop it into a hole in the ground and have to replace the fuel just once every five years. Hyperion Power Generation claims 122 potential users have signed options to buy one and a quarter of them are in the U.S. The primary output of Hyperion’s “battery” is heat. A customer that wants to buy one to make electricity has to get their own turbines and power distribution network. Deal claims he can deliver his pocket reactor for $1,000/Kw, or $25 million, and that the balance of plant for one will come in at another $1,000/Kw for a market maker price of $2,000/Kw.
Deal says he will deliver Hyperion’s reactor for commercial sale in 2013. To get here, he has daunting challenges to overcome including raising $65 million to complete the design, get it licensed by the NRC, develop a supply chain, and, most importantly, build a factory to make it.
For a location he’s looking at Idaho Falls, ID, a “nuclear city” which last year went all out to successfully get French nuclear giant Areva to commit to build a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant 18 mile west of town.