DIY nuclear round-up

Paul Raven @ 23-02-2010

Given the horrific costs of energy at the moment, you might be thinking about ways to cut your household bills. Maybe you could build your own nuclear reactor? [image by brndnprkns]

It’s not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, it’s so simple that a boy scout could do it, and sourcing your fuel materials is no more difficult than stumbling across them whichever scrapyard they’ve ended up in (if you can’t cut a deal with the whoever currently holds the post of Global Atomic Boogie-Man, that is). Try not to think about the waste problem, though; by the time your tiny reactor has produced enough to worry about, maybe someone will have decided whether storing it on the moon or an asteroid is the better option.

If you don’t have the spare real estate for a backyard nuclear fission reactor, I guess you’ll have to settle for a basement fusion reactor [via HackADay]. Impossible? Actually, no – though the “fusor” reactor type is considered to be effectively useless for large-scale commercial power generation.

However, the fusion reactor project proposed to the government by Research Councils UK would supposedly take only twenty years of R&D and construction before it could match the output of current commercial power stations [via NextBigFuture]… which is a long wait, sure, but an almost totally clean energy generation technology is surely worth it. All this assumes that the National Ignition Facility research continues to produce the expected results, of course; after all, fusion – much like AI – has been “just around the corner” ever since it was conceptualised.


Hybrid fusion-fission energy generation a possibility

Tom James @ 27-01-2009

danceWe haven’t had too much luck creating energy-producing fusion reactors, but according to researchers at the University of Texas there is a possibility of creating hybrid between a traditional nuclear fission and a fusion reactor, a sort of fusion of the two ideas, to ameliorate the problems of fission:

“Most people cite nuclear waste as the main reason they oppose nuclear fission as a source of power,” says Swadesh Mahajan, senior research scientist.

The scientists propose destroying the waste using a fusion-fission hybrid reactor, the centerpiece of which is a high power Compact Fusion Neutron Source (CFNS) made possible by a crucial invention.

One hybrid would be needed to destroy the waste produced by 10 to 15 LWRs.

99% of the really dangerous transuranic waste from the first part of the cycle is consumed in the following part, so that overall the output is less harmful and remains so for less time.

[from Physorg][image from tanakawho on flickr]


Nuclear fission “battery” can produce 27MW

Stephen Years @ 26-11-2007

Hyperion Power Generation is a company that has claimed to produce self contained, portable nuclear fission reactor that can produce 27 megawatts of power.

The portable nuclear reactor is the size of a hot tub. It’s shaped like a sake cup, filled with a uranium hydride core and surrounded by a hydrogen atmosphere. Encase it in concrete, truck it to a site, bury it underground, hook it up to a steam turbine and, voila, one would generate enough electricity to power a 25,000-home community for at least five years.