Hyperion Power Generation (HPG) plans to build hot-tub-size reactors that can generate 25 megawatts of electricity, or enough juice to power 20,000 homes. HPG’s uranium hydride reactor has been covered extensively on this site. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission had indicated in a December, 2008 memo that the NRC does not plan to authorize new nuclear reactors that are not similar to current reactors in a timely fashion.
The company is already negotiating with several entities for the sale of 200 reactors, each at a cost of about $30 million. The idea is to deliver power at a cost of less than 10 cents a kilowatt-hour to locations — say remote areas of Alaska, military installations or industrial locations in Canada’s tar sands — where it’s difficult to obtain conventional power, said John Deal, Hyperion’s chief executive officer.
Hyperion is still finishing its manufacturing design and hopes to obtain federal licensing from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other bodies within a few years. Deal expects to deliver the first units to customers in less than five years.
Much of the demand has come from overseas. The United States, where much antipathy remains toward nuclear energy despite public surveys showing falling opposition, will have to wait.
“Honestly,” Deal said, “right now, I’m not really interested in fighting American ignorance about nuclear power.”
Most of the traditional nuclear reactors are being built in China and other countries from now until 2020. Over 75% of new reactors are being built or planned to be built outside of the United States and Western Europe.