Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Toshiba: A Micro Nuclear Reactor? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Hat Tip: Mars Rover Blog)

With energy becoming the "word of the day" (at least among politicians) many people are taking a fresh look at nuclear power.

Apparently it seems as if one company has found a way to shrink today's nuclear reactors into a more portable size--twenty by six feet to be exact.

(Next Energy News) The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.

While citizens on Earth may be nervous about having a nuclear reactor near them (despite the fact they are much safer than the non-green alternatives), this could benefit future colonies on both the Moon and Mars.

If NASA were able to transport such a dozen of these to the lunar surface, NASA could find a way to power their bases during the frigid lunar nights, instead of having to rely upon various solar alternatives.

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

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~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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