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2013 R&D 100 Winner
Numerous space probes have taken advantage of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) powered by plutonium. However, the end of the Cold War has brought about a shortage of plutonium. In collaboration with NASA Glenn Research Center and National Security Technologies, Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed an alternative type of nuclear reactor, one that uses plentiful uranium as its fuel source. Known as KiloPower, the reactor has six major components: a reactor core, core reflector, a rod to start the reactor, heat pipes to move energy, radiation shielding and Stirling engines to provide power. Measuring just 1 ft, the fast reactor uses neutrons with a high-energy range, in excess of 0.2 meV, to produce fission and employs heat pipes to remove heat from the core. The heat pipes transfer the heat to a Stirling-engine power-conversion system. The Stirling engine then produces 500 to 1,500 W of electricity over 15 to 30 years.

Technology
Nuclear reactor

Developers
Los Alamos National Laboratory
NASA Glenn Research Center
National Security Technologies


Development Team

Lee Mason, NASA Glenn Research Center David Dixon, formerly at Los Alamos National Laboratory, currently at Univ. of Tennessee Patrick McClure, Los Alamos National Laboratory

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Poston, Los Alamos National Laboratory James Holt, National Security Technologies Marc Gibson, NASA Glenn Research Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The KiloPower Development Team
David Poston, Principal Developer, Los Alamos National Laboratory
David Dixon, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Marc Gibson, NASA Glenn Research Center
James Holt, National Security Technologies
Lee Mason, NASA Glenn Research Center
Patrick McClure, Los Alamos National Laboratory

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