Energy

Radiant aims to replace diesel generators with small nuclear reactors

Radiant aims to replace diesel...
Radiant's 1-megawatt nuclear micro-reactors are small enough to fit in shipping containers, and thus easily transported
Radiant's 1-megawatt nuclear micro-reactors are small enough to fit in shipping containers, and thus easily transported
View 2 Images
Radiant's 1-megawatt nuclear micro-reactors are small enough to fit in shipping containers, and thus easily transported
1/2
Radiant's 1-megawatt nuclear micro-reactors are small enough to fit in shipping containers, and thus easily transported
The helium-cooled Radiant reactor core
2/2
The helium-cooled Radiant reactor core

California company Radiant has secured funding to develop a compact, portable, "low-cost" one-megawatt nuclear micro-reactor that fits in a shipping container, powers about 1,000 homes and uses a helium coolant instead of water.

Founded by ex-SpaceX engineers, who decided the Mars colony power sources they were researching would make a bigger impact closer to home, Radiant has pulled in US$1.2 million from angel investors to continue work on its reactors, which are specifically designed to be highly portable, quick to deploy and effective wherever they're deployed; remote communities and disaster areas are early targets.

The military is another key market here; a few of these could power an entire military base in a remote area for four to eight years before expending its "advanced particle fuel," eliminating not just the emissions of the current diesel generators, but also the need to constantly bring in trucks full of fuel for this purpose.

Those trucks will still have to run – up until the point where the military ditches diesel in all its vehicles – but they'll be much less frequent, reducing a significant risk for transport personnel.

The helium-cooled Radiant reactor core
The helium-cooled Radiant reactor core

Radiant says its fuel "does not melt down, and withstands higher temperatures when compared to traditional nuclear fuels." Using helium as the coolant "greatly reduces corrosion, boiling and contamination risks," and the company says it's received provisional patents for ideas it's developed around refueling the reactors and efficiently transporting heat out of the reactor core.

Radiant joins a number of companies now working on compact nuclear reactors, and a smaller number focusing specifically on portable units, which would include the floating barges proposed for mass-manufacture by Seaborg. It'll be a while before we see one up and running, but a clean, convenient, low-cost, long-life alternative to diesel generators would be very welcome.

Source: Radiant Nuclear

39 comments
39 comments
WONKY KLERKY
Errrrrr

1 megawatt = 1000 kilowatts
Which, to the back of my fag packet calc', gives each house a kilowatt each.
LiamKoot
I think a lot of cruise ships and bigger cargo ships would benefit hugely from this tech instead of belching out all that smoke from their diesel generators. It would probably also be more space efficient too and could reduce the operating costs.
paul314
Transportability could be an enormous thing -- when the reactor reaches end of life, you don't have to disassemble all the death-emitting bits in place. You can cart the whole thing to a facility specially designed to carry out reprocessing (and/or safe storage). In addition, if power and control leads are pretty much the only things going in or out, you don't have to worry nearly as much about natural disasters. An earthquake or a tsunami might move the container around, but it's not going to crack or undermine a billion-dollar foundation and all of your piping.

Of course, all of those are costs that get incurred or avoided in the future, so investors looking for the next quarter's numbers will have no interest.
vince
Terrorists will love these things since making a dirty bomb of one would require jist a few hundred pounds of plastique.
Legend
I worked in the nuclear power business for 45 years. They were talking about all of these alternative ways 45 years ago and none have generated a watt. The only new plant at Vogtle is costing a fortune and it is based on old PWR design. Thorium or whatever is talked about but has not made a dime.
Ornery Johnson
Received "Provisional patents"? There's no such thing and these inventors have lost credibility. You can file a provisional patent application, which must be converted to a regular utility patent application within a year. Even then, the application must be examined (i.e., a negotiation with a Patent Examiner over the patentability of the claims) and many applications (~40%) are rejected.
Jerome Morley Larson Sr eAIA
Just in time for the energy revolution where on-site generation (solar, wind etc) and battery tech advancements completely eliminate the power grid, vehicle charging etc. — but great for disaster relief when everything is destroyed..
andrew
And when it gets compromised or damaged and begins leaking radiation, even though they say it won't or can't, what then?
clay
Wonky, they're TINY houses... ;-P

This blurb peaks my interest but it is *just a blurb*... there is no meat on the bones of this "report". And following the link to their site yields even *less* detail. I'm all for "Stealth Mode" but seriously: they're talking about nuuue Cleee Urrr power.. a few "this is why our our tech is different" details cannot possibly kill their GTM advantage.
PAV
Can you please make a toaster sized one that will fit in my garage and I'll use it to charge my electric vehicles and run all my appliances. Or better yet put one right in my car as well.
Load More