Hyperion Power Generation was formed last month to develop the nuclear fission reactor at Los Alamos National Laboratory and take it into the private sector.
Scientist Otis Peterson’s brainchild, the portable nuclear reactor, might strike one as having a striking resemblance to a hot tub. It’s shaped like a sake cup, filled with a uranium hydride core and surrounded by a hydrogen atmosphere. This apparently simple setting possesses the capability of generating enough electricity to power a 25,000-home community for at least five years, when it is encased in concrete, trucked to a site, buried underground and hooked up to a steam turbine. In theory, the reactor uses uranium crystals and hydrogen isotopes to create an internal, self-regulating balance.
Hyperion prefers to call it a ‘drive’ or a ‘battery’ or a ‘module’ instead of a “reactor”, though it would produce 27 megawatts worth of thermal energy.
The protagonists of the device claim that compared to traditional reactors and carbon-based fuels, Hyperion is
-Safer, as it is self- regulating with no moving parts to break down or corrode.
-Small, compact and portable, reducing enormous infrastructure costs, reliability and loss issues which plague the transmission of power from large generating facilities to distant locations.
-Cleaner, as it produces only a tiny fraction of the waste produced by other types of reactors and doesn’t produce greenhouse gases.
-Less expensive, as Hyperion offers a 30% reduction in capital costs from convention gigawatt installations (from $2,000 per kW to $1400 per kW) and a 70% reduction in operating costs.
If all goes according to plan, Hyperion could have a factory in New Mexico by late 2012, and begin producing 4,000 of these reactors. However, scientist Otis Peterson’s patent filed in 2003 is still pending as the nuclear power activists are yet to be convinced about the new concept.
The Hyperion, however, definitely has a taker. Blackwell is a director of Purple Mountain Ventures, a self-described “adventure capital” firm specializing in commercial development of LANL technology. Purple Mountain also is the financial backer behind The Company for Information Visualization and Analysis (CIVA), a local company developing LANL pandemic modeling software. According to him, Hyperion’s reactor, though, has the potential to solve the energy crisis.
Beyond its application in oil fields, Hyperion offers the opportunity for communities to enjoy safe, affordable, localized power that does not pollute the atmosphere.
We can only hope that the Hyperion proves to be able to meet the escalating demand for power and helps to solve the energy crisis.
Source : SFR Reporter