03 October 2009

Hyperion Plans for Factory Produced Reactors

Hyperion is planning to start building small cheap modular nuclear reactors in a new factory in the UK sometime within the next two years.
For the first time, the advantages of nuclear power – efficient, cheaper, non-polluting with no greenhouse gas emissions – are available for remote locations without designing and building individual, massive, and costly conventional power plants that are built to serve large areas.__NEI
The Hyperion reactor was invented at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the USA. Through the US government’s technology transfer initiative, the exclusive licence to develop and commercialise the invention was granted to New Mexico-based Hyperion Power Generation, Inc. (HPG). The company has now retained the nation’s top nuclear power design and engineering teams, including staff from US federal laboratories, to further develop the reactor. It will continue to partner with industrial leaders for the reactor’s production, operation, and maintenance.

There are four main applications for the Hyperion reactor:

• Military bases (independent, baseload power).

• Oil & gas recovery and refining, including in oil sands and shale recovery.

• Remote communities lacking accessibility to a source of electrical generation.

• Quickly installed back-up and emergency power for disaster areas. _NEI
According to material published at Next Big Future, Hyperion has customer commitments for over a hundred units, to date. The company expects to go to market in 2013 to 2014, but is already committed to deliveries as far back as 2020!

Hyperion is doing something very clever: They plan to get their design licensed in the UK, to allow UK production and international delivery. This bypasses the exorbitant US licensing fees for new reactor designs.
The key to the success of Hyperion will be its fuel – uranium hydride powder, which allows the hydrogen moderator to easily move in and out of the core. The physical characteristics of uranium hydride, a combined fuel and neutron energy moderator, are ideal for the generation of safe nuclear power. The reactor operates at an optimum temperature of 550°C, selected as the goal for the so-called Generation IV reactors by the US Department of Energy (DoE). At 550°C, the dissociation pressure for the hydrogen above the hydride is approximately eight atmospheres, which permits easy transportation of the gas without presenting significant high-pressure risk. The temperature-driven mobility of the hydrogen contained in the hydride can change the moderation, and therefore the reactor criticality, making the reactor self-regulating.

The hydrogen forced out of the core during any over-temperature excursion reduces the neutron energy moderation necessary for nuclear criticality. The Hyperion Power Module is inherently fail-safe, since any temperature increase from excess activity immediately reduces the criticality parameters and thus the power production. The consequent power reduction causes the temperature to decrease and that temperature decrease eventually reverses the process, resulting in relaxation oscillations that quickly damp out to steady-state operation. __NEI
The US Obama administration has thrown a wide ring of strangulation around US baseload energy sources and fuel supplies. Rather than fighting a battle against Obama czars and zombies, Hyperion has chosen to take its safe, inexpensive approach to abundant energy somewhere that is more likely to appreciate it.

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