Tiny Reactors

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds caught this interesting local piece in Knoxville KY (home city of Oak Ridge). Did That Airplane Swallow a Reactor?

The answer of course is yes. The story is pretty interesting and shows that folks were a whole lot more pragmatic about nukes in those days. Not to say they weren’t a little ignorant and a lot cocky but our new day trembling cautiousness is not a reasonable alternative.

That reactor was ‘only’ 100 KW vs a modern reactors multi GW(3 orders of magnitude or 1000x greater) power output. But the DoE is now studying small sealed core reactors as this article discusses in ars technica | Dept. of Energy signs agreements to develop small nuclear generators

Rather than building large, Gigawatt-scale reactor buildings, several companies are developing what are termed small, modular nuclear reactors that produce a few hundred Megawatts of power. These are typically designed to be sealed units that simply deliver heat for use either directly or to generate electricity. When the fuel starts to run down, the reactors will be shipped back to a central facility for refueling. Since they will never be opened on site, many of the issues associated with large plants don’t come into play.

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