CEO of Hyperion Power Generation interviewed about the Uranium Hydride reactor

Techrockies has an interview with John Deal, the CEO of Hyperion Power Generation. Below are the highlights with some new information. Hyperion Power generation is trying to make a factory mass produced uranium hydride molten core reactor which will generate 70 MWt and 27-30MWe. Hyperion Power Generation plans to sell and build the first 4000 reactors over the first ten year period or less. [2013-2022] They have orders from Romania and Czechs and are now talking to developers in the Cayman Islands, Panama and the Bahamas. 4,000 reactors over ten years is an average of 400 per year or 10-12 GW per year.

The market opportunity is for half a million units today and it’s growing, so selling 4,000 units of our first design is a pretty reasonable goal. But we’ve still got to be very, very careful about how we get that final design done. That’s what we’re doing now. We’re finalizing the design so that it’s repeatable, it’s replicatable and it’s got a high degree of quality control behind it because, quite honestly, unlike a lot of products out there, we are extremely regulated.

The reactor will weigh fifteen to 20 tons, depending on whether you’re measuring just the reactor itself or the cask—the container that we ship it in—as well. It was specifically designed to fit on the back of a flatbed truck because most of our customers are not going to have rail. It’s about a meter-and-a-half across and about 2 meters tall.

It uses uranium hydride. UH3 is the chemical formula. Low-enriched, about 10 percent [uranium isotope]-235, the rest is U-238.

We’re leveraging the design of a very common reactor, called a TRIGA reactor. There are 60-something of those reactors around the world. They are the only reactor that the NRC has licensed for unattended operation, meaning it’s so safe that you can literally walk away from it. It’s walk-away safe.

We’ve already signed up our first customers, Romania and the Czech Republic. They were looking at a very high infrastructure cost for an electric grid, but are now doing a distributed model.

Each reactor will last eight to 10 years. Unlike any other reactor design on the planet, there is no in-field refueling. We seal it at the factory, ship it out to the location, they use it for eight to 10 years, and then we go get it and take it back to our factory for refurbishing and refueling.

The waste that comes out of our reactor after powering 20,000 homes for 8-10 years is about the size of a football.

From a financial perspective, we’re really very far along. We’re going to get this out the door for less than $100 million.

Because of the way that energy financing works, we’re not going to add inventory. You order it, you pre-pay for most of the cost, we manufacture it and then we deliver it within six to 12 months. That’s how the financial mechanism works on the manufacturing side.

We ship in June of 2013, our first customer install. We will make that date.

Hyperion offers a 70% reduction in operating costs for extracting oil from oilshale (based on costs for field-generation of steam in oil-shale recovery operations), from $11 per million BTU for natural gas to $3 per million BTU for Hyperion. There will be 2 times less nuclear waste because the units have 10% burnup of the nuclear fuel.

Past updates on the Hyperion factory mass produced nuclear reactor and details of the the Triga reactor from which many of the safety features will be copied.

Another prior update on customer

The original patent is reviewed here

A pdf with most of the blog entries about Hyperion Power Generations reactor