Revolutionary small modular nuclear reactors for space and earth applications starting in 2024

The three-year Kilopower safe 4 kilowatt nuclear reactor project started in 2015 with a challenging goal of building and testing a full-scale flight-prototypic nuclear reactor by the end of 2017 mid-2018.

Lessons learned from the kiloPower development program are being leveraged to develop a Mega Watt class of reactors termed MegaPower reactors. These concepts all contain intrinsic safety features similar to those in kiloPower, including reactor self-regulation, low reactor core power density and the use of heat pipes for reactor core heat removal.

The use of these higher power reactors is for terrestrial applications, such as power in remote locations, or to power larger human planetary colonies.

The MegaPower reactor concept produces approximately two megawatts of electric power. The reactor would be attached to an open air Brayton cycle power conversion system. A Brayton power cycle uses air as the working fluid and as the means of ultimate heat removal.

“MegaPower” reactor patent – Mobile heat pipe cooled fast reactor system US 20160027536 A1

The development costs for more advanced reactor concepts are even less firm. For example, presenters from the LANL cited a FOAK range of $140 million to $325 million for their reactor heat pipe system, MegaPower, with an expectation that the power conversion system could be provided on a loan basis for the initial vSMR development and testing. Considering a $25 million to $50 million range for the power conversion and other process system design development, then advanced reactor FOAK development costs could range from $150 million
to $375 million.

MegaPower cost estimates include:
* Reactor technology development: $85 million to $125 million
* LEU fuel (16 to 19% enriched) depending on DOE fuel supply: $5 million to $45 million
* Development and test facility modifications: $50 million to $100 million
* Transport Security Armor development: $0 to $25 million
* NRC Licensing: $0 to $30 million
* Total estimated costs: $140 to $340 million