Hyperion Power Module Neighborhood Nuclear Reactor

The Hyperion Power Module is a small, compact nuclear reactor that can be readily transported for reliable electricity. That's the claim, anyway; I've been burned on this kind of story before (see the probably apocryphal Toshiba Micro Nuclear Reactor).


(Hyperion Power Module Neighborhood Nuclear Reactor)

Anyway, Hyperion has a nice website and it has a nice science-fictional feel to it. Here's the brief Hyperion description:

Invented at the famed Los Alamos National Laboratory, Hyperion small modular power reactors make all the benefits of safe, clean nuclear power available for remote locations. For both industrial and community applications, Hyperion offers reliable energy with no greenhouse gas emissions. Hyperion power is also cheaper than fossil fuels and, when you consider the cost of land and materials, watt to watt, Hyperion’s innovative energy technology is even more affordable than many developing “alternative” energy technologies.

Small enough to be transported on a ship, truck or train, Hyperion power modules are about the size of a "hot tub" — approximately 1.5 meters wide. Out of sight and safe from nefarious threats, Hyperion power modules are buried far underground and guarded by a security detail. Like a power battery, Hyperion modules have no moving parts to wear down, and are delivered factory sealed. They are never opened on site. Even if one were compromised, the material inside would not be appropriate for proliferation purposes. Further, due to the unique, yet proven science upon which this new technology is based, it is impossible for the module to go supercritical, “melt down” or create any type of emergency situation. If opened, the very small amount of fuel that is enclosed would immediately cool. The waste produced after five years of operation is approximately the size of a softball and is a good candidate for fuel recycling.

It puts out about 25 MWe for 7-10 years, which is enough to power 20,000 American homes (or at least 60,000 of anyone else's homes) for that period of time.

Those of us who were weaned on books like Disney's Our Friend the Atom can't wait for friendly "nuclear batteries" that don't use greenhouse gassy coal or oil to provide electricity. Those of us who read books like Silent Spring warning of environmental contaminants, on the other hand, are rooting for sustainable power options. What do you think of these devices?

Robert Heinlein, writing in Friday in the twilight of his long career (1982), wrote about "shipstones" that could provide long-lasting power in a relatively small package.

From Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes and Hyperion Power Generation (company website); thanks to Jerry for pointing out this item.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/11/2008)

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