Nuclear Batteries

#Technology

Tue, Aug 19th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

TechCrunch puts the spotligt on UPower Technologies, which is planning on making available miniature nuclear power plants that would provide a decade of power at 40% less cost than competing technologies. Unlike regular reactors, this one acts like a nuclear battery: once switched on, it safely stays so without the need of human intervention. Best of all, it is "immune to Fukushima-type accidents." When the battery is depleted, the waste fuel is simply recycled to power another battery.

The reactor generates 7 MW worth of heat, which comes out to about 2 MW worth of electricity once converted. That’s enough to power 2,000 homes in places like Alaska and others with lower demand for electricity. It’s also enough to power entire mining operations or military bases in places where constantly having fuel for large diesel generators shipped is too difficult or expensive.

Radioactive waste, while still an issue due to the nature of nuclear fission, is less of a pain than with traditional power plant designs in use today. The reactor, in addition to being fuel agnostic (it can use thorium, uranium, or recycled fuel) can actually reduce the half life of existing waste, and spent fuel from it can be reused in another reactor with some processing.

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