Hyperion Power Generation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Savannah River National Laboratory Thursday to build the first demonstration reactor at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Hyperion is developing a 25-MW fast reactor that uses uranium nitride fuel and lead bismuth eutectic coolant. Hyperion power generation wants to factory mass produce these reactors and to eventually build hundreds each year. Hyperion Power Generation has leters of intent with several other international companies.
The parties aim to build an operational prototype by 2017 or 2018, said Mike Nevetta of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, which operates the Savannah River Site. He also said Thursday that the demo reactor will not connect to the grid but will produce electricity for internal use on site.
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is talking with five or six other companies about building prototypes at the complex “in which manufacturers of small reactors can come and prove their technologies,” said Nevetta.
(H/T Dan Yurman at Idaho Samizdat who has a lot of coverage of this development)
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions officials hope to have the reactor built and operational by 2020 at a cost at $100-150 million most of which would be raised from private investors. However, Deborah Blackwell, a spokesperson for Hyperion, told Platts the Hyperion prototype will cost just $50 million or $2,000/Kw. She also said the money would be raised from investors and not come from the government.
More Background on Hyperion Power Generation
The real market is in smaller and less-developed countries that are desperate for cheap, local power and could never afford a large, conventional nuclear plant.
Eastern European countries, Hyperion Power Generation CEO John Grizz says, have long depended on Russian-built facilities, but now they want to distance themselves from Russia and need something cheaper than the big Western units. Deal notes that most of Hyperion’s customers are from these markets. “Nigeria alone is a potential big buyer,” he adds. “It’s ready for nuclear, but they need to start small.”
“We have great connections with the U.S. military, and they’re not bound by regulatory agencies,” he says. “We have political connections who see us as having a chance to be the ones who lead a U.S. nuclear renaissance. We’re overcommitted on orders. We keep hearing, ‘When will you be able to ship us one?’ And we hear it in a lot of different accents. And we’re not worried about the approval process
The Hyperion Power generation uranium nitride reactor design is here.
Hyperion Power generation was originally looking to develop a uranium hydride reactor and will try to eventually develop that design.