Eoin Treacy's view -
"This is the first new reactor not just for space and not just for NASA, but of any kind in the US in 40 years," David Poston, the project's chief designer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said during a press conference Wednesday. "We demonstrated a concept that NASA can use right now. It's ready for a flight program."
In March, NASA tested that process in an experiment called Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology, or KRUSTY. The test run generated about 100 watts of electrical power, or enough to run a bright incandescent lightbulb.
But Poston said Kilopower could easily scale up to 10 kilowatts — 100 times more, or enough to power a typical US home — and even megawatts.
He called the experiment "incredibly successful" and said it cost NASA relatively little.
"People thought it would cost billions of dollars to do these reactors," Poston said. "We showed we can design, build, and test a reactor for less than $20 million."
It says a lot about how negative sentiment is about nuclear energy that in order to get a design built you have to promise to deploy the reactor in space. If that isn’t the starkest example of Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) then I don’t know what is.
This section continues in the Subscriber's Area. Back to top