Portable nuclear reactor designed by former aerospace engineersS. Himmelstein | October 18, 2021
Low-cost, portable nuclear microreactor technology may soon provide an alternative to fossil fuels for both military and commercial applications. Former SpaceX engineers have formed Radiant, an El Segundo, California-based startup dedicated to developing a portable high temperature gas-cooled microreactor.
The microreactor outputs over 1 MW, enough to power about 1,000 homes continuously for up to eight years, while several microreactors could be used together to power an entire town or military base. The power system is designed to fit in a shipping container and can be easily transported by air, ship and road. Radiant’s microreactor design also leverages an advanced particle fuel that does not melt down and withstands higher temperatures when compared to traditional nuclear fuels. The use of helium coolant greatly reduces corrosion, boiling and contamination risks associated with more traditional water coolant.
The company has contracted with Battelle Energy Alliance to test its portable microreactor technology at U.S. Idaho National Laboratory.