Businessweek – John Deal, chief executive officer of Hyperion Power Generation Inc., intends to apply for a license “within a year” for plants that would power a small factory or town too remote for traditional utility grid connections.
Hyperion has more than 150 purchase commitments from customers such as mining and telecom companies, provided its technology gets licensed for operation. Hyperion plans to build 25-megawatt reactor and sell them for $50 million each.
The units are designed to fit in the same canisters used to transport nuclear fuel for bigger plants around the world. The power-producing core of Hyperion’s reactor comes in multiple sealed chambers, which would contain any leak. The entire unit would be installed in an underground vault to protect it from tampering and natural threats.
Formal approvals would probably take three to five years, the same as for bigger reactors, said Scott Burnell of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Russia’s Rosatom Corp. is using its experience on submarines and icebreakers to develop atomic plants for floating barges.
Hyperion’s technology was invented at the U.S. government’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Six other reactor designs are in information-sharing stages, including ones from NuScale Power Inc., Toshiba and its Westinghouse unit.
Toshiba, based in Tokyo, is working on reactors that would produce 10 megawatts and 50 megawatts, called 4S for “super- safe, small and simple.” It will apply later this year for U.S. approval to test the unit in the village of Galena in central Alaska
Hyperion Power Module Product Characteristics
Unit will measure approximately 1.5m wide x 2.5m tall
Fits into a standard fuel transport container
Transported via ship, rail, or truck
Modular design for easy and safe transport
2. Sealed Core – Safe and Secure
Factory sealed; no in-field refueling, closed fuel cycle
Returned to the factory for fuel and waste disposition
System will handle any accident through a combination of inherent and engineered features
Inherent negative feedback keeps the reactor stable and operating at a constant temperature
Sited underground, out of sight
Proliferation-resistant; never opened once installed
4. Operational Simplicity
Operation limited to reactivity adjustments to maintain constant temperature output of 500C
Produces power for 8 to 10 years depending on use
5. Minimal In-Core Mechanical Components
Operational reliability is greatly enhanced by the reduction of moving mechanical parts
6. Isolated Power Production
Electric generation components requiring maintenance are completely separated from the reactor
Allows existing generation facilities to be retrofitted
The Hyperion Power Module will be licensed by national and international regulatory authorities.
* Hyperion power modules provide significantly less expensive power, at $3 – $5 per million BTU instead of the $9 to $14 per million BTUs currently paid (and that price does not include transportation). [For heating oilsands to enable oil recovery]
* Power can be provided to tempory and permanent military bases which would reduce logistical difficulties and costs.
* Power can be supplied to places where there is no national electrical grid.
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