Backyard Nuclear Reactor Should Be Ready to Ship by 2013

Illustration for article titled Backyard Nuclear Reactor Should Be Ready to Ship by 2013

Hyperion Power's plans to develop and sell portable nuclear reactors first came to light last year—but most people probably brushed off the idea as some sort of fantasy. Whether that is true or not, Hyperion seems to be committed to the project. A recent interview with Hyperion CEO John Deal revealed that they have every intention of shipping their first product in June of 2013. He also revealed a few interesting tidbits about their system including the following quote about the possibility of turning their fuel into a bomb:

Our fuel is very unique. It's uranium hydride. UH3 is the chemical formula. Low-enriched, about 10 percent [uranium isotope]-235, the rest is U-238. By comparison, bomb-grade fuel is about 98 percent enriched.

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On the problem of nuclear waste:

The waste that comes out of our reactor after powering 20,000 homes for 8-10 years is about the size of a football. Using coal and gas over the same time frame, the waste stream for just you, after factoring in CO2 emissions, would overflow Mile High Stadium in Denver. So our waste stream is very concentrated, and yes, we have to do something with it, but there are known ways of dealing with it. For security reasons, we're not disclosing what will happen to it, but it's not going to just sit in some bucket somewhere. Recycling was "baked in" to our reactor design from the beginning.

I can't say that any of this chatter has done much to overcome my skepticism, but word is that he actually found a buyer for that first backyard system scheduled for 2013. So we will have to wait and see if this will be the next big thing in power production. [Hyperion Power and Techrockies via Treehugger]

DISCUSSION

@VaughanVintage: "there's more coal than uranium ore". well sure, but the power density of uranium is enourmous compared to coal. coal power is through a chemical reaction, which is a small fraction of the energy released when you split an atom. you wouldn't even notice the energy given off by burning one atom of coal. with one atom of uranium, you can move a grain of rice. every 235 grams of u-235 has 6.02 x 10^23 atoms of u-235.