"Hot Tub" Nuclear Reactor Could Power Cities

Illustration for article titled "Hot Tub" Nuclear Reactor Could Power Cities

About the size of a hot tub, this portable nuclear reactor in development by Hyperion Power Generation could be buried in a small cement casing within the ground and provide maintenance-free power to 25,000 homes for 5-years.

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An internal chemical reaction produced 27 megawatts of thermal energy powering an external steam turbine to produce electricity. A sort of nuclear battery, we're not sure if it could, should or will ever come to fruition. But it's certainly a neat idea...and the perfect accessory to take our summer grilling "to the next level." [hyperion via sfreporter]

DISCUSSION

@Tommasta: No way! A chemical reaction always involves the motion and re-arranging of electrons to break or form new molecular bonds. Of the four universal forces (gravity, strong, weak, electromagnetic), only the electromagnetic force is at work in a chemical reaction. A nuclear reaction does not entail breaking or forming new molecular bonds—and the strong and/or weak forces are at play (electrons can be involved, but not to make or break molecular bonds)—so the two processes are distinctly different. A nuclear reaction will never deal with molecules, either...just elements/isotopes/subatomic particles (and energy).