Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.
The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.
The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. ‘Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,’ said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. ‘They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.’
Now we’re talking. Cheap, affordable energy? Sure, it’s not a fusion reactor outside every home, or fuel cell technology. Still, nuclear power is about as clean as you’re going to get.
The best part is because they are so small, there is no real fissionable material — so no terror threat. All it is is super hot… hot enough to turn a turbine and generate electricity for a community of 20,000.
That’s 70 MWt of clean, affordable power — almost like a massive battery in the ground. More info here if you’re really interested.