Update on the nuclear “battery”

I exchanged email with Hyperion Power Generation (the maker of the new power generator. They indicate that the Sante Fe reporter made a mistake. The output is about 25-17 MW ELECTRIC [This statement was also consistent with the patent which talked about tens of MW in electricity. They also said that the containment vessel will be dense enough that no radiation will escape even if it is not buried in the ground.

Hyperion does not have a detailed diagram of the heat piping but there does not seem like there should be anything special about the heat piping system. In this presentation on slide 34 and 35 they have the density of heat pipes which seems appropriate About 1/9th of the volume taken up with heat pipes

The electric power generation is based on standard turbines which are about 40% efficient. There is new thermoelectronics which could double that efficiency.

For space vehicles, one could replace the heavy radiation shielding with lighter alternatives like electrostatic shielding.

I talked about using the simplified solid core nuclear reactor for enhanced recovery of shale oil to help resolve peak oil.

I examined using the nuclear power in combination with the Vasimr plasma rocket engine for 39 day trips to Mars

I also discuss using this technology as one of several technologies that would make civilization more resistant to disasters.

0 thoughts on “Update on the nuclear “battery””

  1. bw, agree with your all your assertions, except the $100 figure to sequester a tonne of CO2.

    I just completed a final year chemical engineering design project on a MEA absorption based CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) plant. Our final figure was AUD 29/tonne. I think ‘over $100/tonne’ is ‘slightly’ an overestimate.

    btw, i am completely in favour of a nuclear push. As in, i’d rather keep my room clean than have to clean it up when it such a mess that i can’t even find a clean pair of jocks.

  2. three mile island was in 1979

    In the 26 years since then coal power has killed over 26 million people worldwide.

    three mile island killed no one.

    Currently nuclear energy saves the emission of 2.5 billion tonnes of CO2 relative to coal. For every 22 tonnes of uranium used, one million tonnes of CO2 emissions is averted. Energy inputs to nuclear fuel cycle produce only a few (eg 1-3) percent of the CO 2 emissions saved. Doubling the world’s nuclear output would reduce CO2 emissions from power generation by about one quarter.

    (plus reduction of particulates, SOX, NOX, merury, arsenic etc…)

    It cots over $100 per ton to sequester one ton of CO2 and it is only being piloted in some locations.

    Below are procedural and design changes:
    As a result of the TMI-2 incident, nuclear reactor operator training has been improved. Before the incident it focused on diagnosing the underlying problem; afterwards, it focused on reacting to the emergency by going through a standardized checklist to ensure that the core is receiving enough coolant under sufficient pressure.

    In addition to the improved operating training, improvements in quality assurance, engineering, operational surveillance and emergency planning have been instituted. Improvements in control room habitability, “sight lines” to instruments, ambiguous indications and even the placement of “trouble” tags were made; some trouble tags were covering important instrument indications during the accident. Improved surveillance of critical systems, structures and components required for cooling the plant and mitigating the escape of radionuclides during an emergency were also implemented. In addition, each nuclear site must now have an approved emergency plan to direct the evacuation of the public within a ten mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) and to facilitate rapid notification and evacuation. This plan is periodically rehearsed with federal and local authorities to ensure that all groups work together quickly and efficiently.


    Third-generation reactors have:

    a standardized design for each type to expedite licensing, reduce capital cost and reduce construction time;
    a simpler and more rugged design, making them easier to operate and less vulnerable to operational upsets;
    higher availability and longer operating life—typically 60 years;
    reduced possibility of core melt accidents;
    minimal effect on the environment;
    higher burn-up to reduce fuel use and waste; and
    burnable absorbers (“poisons”) to extend fuel life.
    The greatest departure from second-generation designs is that many third-generation reactors incorporate passive or inherent safety features that require no active controls or operational intervention to avoid accidents in the event of malfunction, and may rely on gravity, natural convection or resistance to high temperatures. Traditional nuclear reactor safety systems are ‘active’ in the sense that they involve electrical or mechanical operation on command. Some engineered systems operate passively, e.g., pressure relief valves. Both require parallel redundant systems. Inherent or full passive safety depends only on physical phenomena such as convection, gravity or resistance to high temperatures, not on functioning of engineered components. Many are larger than their predecessors.


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