The late 2020’s could see the start of a new age of factory mass produced nuclear power. The DOE is putting most of its first of its kind funding ($13 million out of $19 million) for advanced nuclear power research into the Westinghouse 25 MWe eVinci nuclear reactor. The funding will prepare Westinghouse’s 25-MWe eVinci micro-reactor for nuclear demonstration readiness by 2022.
New Age of Advanced Nuclear FissionThe eVinci will be mostly solid-state with very few moving parts. It will be using many heat pipes to transfer heat instead of water or steam. Eventually, these microreactor modules will be made in one month in a factory. They could be produced like airplane engines by the thousands. They will be walk-away safe and operate more efficiently and at lower-cost than existing nuclear reactors. They are targeting $2 per watt of electricity which means a cost of $20 million for a 10 MWe reactor that fits on truck. A 25 MWe nuclear reactor would cost $50 million. Forty such microreactors would be equal to a Gigawatt reactor and cost $2 billion. This is four times cheaper than current western nuclear reactors and as cheap as natural gas. The technological simplicity of the eVinci is what makes it unique. The reactor will operate autonomously. Its reactor core is a solid-steel monolith that features channels for fuel pellets, the moderator (metal hydride), and heat pipes, which are arranged in a hexagonal pattern. The monolith will serve as the second fission product barrier (the fuel pellet is the first barrier) as well as the thermal medium between the fuel channels and heat pipes. The heat pipes will extract heat from the core using a technology based on thermal conductivity and fluid phase transition. Key Attributes of eVinci Micro Reactor: * Transportable energy generator * Fully factory built, fueled and assembled * Combined heat and power – 200 kWe to 25 MWe * Up to 600ºC process heat * 5- to 10-year life with walkaway inherent safety * Target less than 30 days onsite installation * Autonomous load management capability * Unparalleled proliferation resistance * High reliability and minimal moving parts * Green-field decommissioning and remediation.
- eVinci (TM) Micro Reactor Nuclear Demonstration Unit Readiness Project – Westinghouse Electric Corp LLC (Cranberry Township, PA) is for Westinghouse and its team to prepare for the Nuclear Demonstration Unit (NDU) of the eVinci micro reactor through design, analysis, testing and licensing to manufacture, site and test the NDU by 2022.
DOE Funding: $12,879,797; Non-DOE: $15,675,350; Total Value: $28,555,147
SOURCES- Interview with DV Rao of Los Alamos, Westinghouse materials, DOE
Brian Wang is a prolific business-oriented writer of emerging and disruptive technologies. He is known for insightful articles that combine business and technical analysis that catches the attention of the general public and is also useful for those in the industries. He is the sole author and writer of nextbigfuture.com, the top online science blog. He is also involved in angel investing and raising funds for breakthrough technology startup companies.
He gave the recent keynote presentation at Monte Jade event with a talk entitled the Future for You. He gave an annual update on molecular nanotechnology at Singularity University on nanotechnology, gave a TEDX talk on energy, and advises USC ASTE 527 (advanced space projects program). He has been interviewed for radio, professional organizations. podcasts and corporate events. He was recently interviewed by the radio program Steel on Steel on satellites and high altitude balloons that will track all movement in many parts of the USA.
He fundraises for various high impact technology companies and has worked in computer technology, insurance, healthcare and with corporate finance.
He has substantial familiarity with a broad range of breakthrough technologies like age reversal and antiaging, quantum computers, artificial intelligence, ocean tech, agtech, nuclear fission, advanced nuclear fission, space propulsion, satellites, imaging, molecular nanotechnology, biotechnology, medicine, blockchain, crypto and many other areas.