Author Topic: Radiant Nuclear  (Read 3933 times)

Offline Asteroza

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Radiant Nuclear
« on: 09/23/2020 11:36 pm »
Hat tip to Kirk Sorensen

It appears some former SpaceX employees are now dipping their hands into nuclear.

Particularly, a 1MW SMR  nuclear reactor that fits in a single TEU container. It appears to be a pebble bed helium cooled gas reactor at first glance (TRISO?). Aiming at DoD customers (likely because DoD can bypass NRC regulations...)

https://www.radiantnuclear.com/

My google-fu is lacking, as I can't seem to find their two patent applications, one for fuel handling, the other for reactor core heat transport.


Offline Comga

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #1 on: 09/24/2020 03:18 am »
Thatís a really neat website.
(Itís remarkable that when you touch the screen a nexus for the 3D web forms and the points and connectors keep moving around it. Fancy graphics!)
The images are great, hyper-realistic CGI.
But there is not a lot of information.
The only data are 1MW and 8 years
And some aspect of 16-fold symmetry. 😉
Has anyone tried [email protected]?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Online butters

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #2 on: 09/24/2020 04:06 am »
Cool. TRISO reactors have a lot of potential for safe, reliable operation at substantially smaller scales than other SMR concepts (e.g. NuScale) if they can nail the fuel design. Since essentially all the safety/reliability features are baked into the fuel, that's where it will succeed or fail. There have been significant difficulties with pebble bed reactors over the decades, with the AVR and THTR-300 reactors in Germany having notable incidents, for example. Modern concepts tend to call for much smaller particle sizes (more like sand than pebbles). Maybe that's part of the trick that will make this type of reactor function smoothly.

For space applications, TRISO reactors could be a particularly good solution for surface bases on the Moon or Mars. These reactors want to operate in a gravity well of some sort and wouldn't be readily adaptable to microgravity. The very high output temperature, as compared to pressurized water reactors or liquid metal reactors (e.g. Kilopower), would enable thermolysis of water into oxygen and hydrogen, which is much more efficient than using electrolysis.

The downside is that these fuel configurations make a closed fuel cycle practically impossible. Whatever fissile or fertile material remains in the spent fuel, along with the graphite/carbonate moderating material, is high-level radioactive waste. This isn't a big deal for space applications, since the spent fuel would presumably remain off-world and would pose no risk of ever contaminating Earth's biosphere. For terrestrial applications, however, the quantity of waste per unit energy is relatively high, probably exceeding that of natural uranium reactors (e.g. CANDU, RBMK, Magnox), and definitely far worse in terms of potential for future reprocessing.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #3 on: 09/24/2020 05:58 am »

Particularly, a 1MW SMR  nuclear reactor that fits in a single TEU container. It appears to be a pebble bed helium cooled gas reactor at first glance (TRISO?). Aiming at DoD customers (likely because DoD can bypass NRC regulations...)

https://www.radiantnuclear.com/

My google-fu is lacking, as I can't seem to find their two patent applications, one for fuel handling, the other for reactor core heat transport.
Where do you get the bit about the TEU container?

So to be clear this is yet another  compact sealed-for-life MW concept with TRISO fuel.
A bit like U-Battery  but starting several years behind and not being spun off from a company in the actual nuclear industry?

I'll wish them well and see where they're at 5 years.
« Last Edit: 09/24/2020 06:17 am by john smith 19 »
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¨cheap

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #4 on: 09/24/2020 06:04 am »
The downside is that these fuel configurations make a closed fuel cycle practically impossible. Whatever fissile or fertile material remains in the spent fuel, along with the graphite/carbonate moderating material, is high-level radioactive waste.
It can be done. Heat graphite to a high enough temperature with a high enough O2 content and it will burn off. However at that point carbon capture and storage (of the CO2) becomes mandatory.

IIRC the more subtle way to do so is a salt bath to generate carbides.
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¨cheap

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #5 on: 09/24/2020 07:08 am »

Particularly, a 1MW SMR  nuclear reactor that fits in a single TEU container. It appears to be a pebble bed helium cooled gas reactor at first glance (TRISO?). Aiming at DoD customers (likely because DoD can bypass NRC regulations...)

https://www.radiantnuclear.com/

My google-fu is lacking, as I can't seem to find their two patent applications, one for fuel handling, the other for reactor core heat transport.
Where do you get the bit about the TEU container?

So to be clear this is yet another  compact sealed-for-life MW concept with TRISO fuel.
A bit like U-Battery  but starting several years behind and not being spun off from a company in the actual nuclear industry?

I'll wish them well and see where they're at 5 years.

It was described as a 8x9.5x20 foot standard container, which is roughly a TEU container

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #6 on: 09/24/2020 07:45 am »
Shotwell previously had mentioned SpaceX was looking at nuclear, then this shows up. Previously SpaceX was looking at custom metals, and a specialist metals manufacturer staffed with ex-SpaceXers appeared. There are other examples of Elon sending teams on wild goose chases, that somehow turn out to be possible and/or result in a new startup supporting SpaceX activities.

That would suggest they may have found something viable during the technology exploration, but didn't want to incur the work within the SpaceX mothership. Particularly on the short timescales SpaceX operates, it's usually a new take on a mid-to-high TRL concept with near COTS equipment. The startup makes heavy note of pebble bed research heritage.



The real killer is going be, what is the actual power cycle? Helium turbines are a pain so they might be avoiding that. The trick might be in that heat transport patent application, but we have to it first. Supercritical CO2 power cycles are starting to become a thing in a year of two now thanks to Sandia research and work on allam cycle turbines, so that might work to make the whole thing more compact.



They could be doing any number of weird tricks. There was a japanese company that found a way to make cageless ball bearings using a small divot in the bearing race to keep the balls from contacting each other, which might be applicable to the pebble movement.

http://coo-space.com/en/

There was also that research that found palladium-gold surface coatings create diamond thin film that lubricates stuff, which may be helpful with pebble movement

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0008622318305621

Offline edzieba

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #7 on: 09/24/2020 10:52 am »
Helium turbines are a pain so they might be avoiding that.
Depending on maturity, Helium turbines may be a close to off-the-shelf part from Reaction Engines.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #8 on: 09/24/2020 01:45 pm »
Helium turbines are a pain so they might be avoiding that.
Depending on maturity, Helium turbines may be a close to off-the-shelf part from Reaction Engines.
They appear to be the only people who are, despite lots of talk from the likes of General Atomics.
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¨cheap

Offline su27k

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #9 on: 08/05/2022 03:16 am »
Radiant could provide safe, portable nuclear energy within the next 5 years

Quote from: interestingengineering.com
According to Radiant, the Kaleidos ó shown in the video above ó will output more than 1MW, which is enough to power about 1,000 homes for up to eight years. It uses TRISO fuels and helium coolant instead of water, both of which should make the microreactor safer than traditional nuclear reactors.

Radiant recently announced it received $10 million in funding from the USV Climate Fund, a "thesis-driven venture capital firm" looking to invest in companies that aim to tackle climate change via rapid innovation. Bernauer spoke with IE on a video call about the next five years for Radiant and for the planet, as well as the role that space technology continues to have on his company.

Quote from: interestingengineering.com
That's maybe why you mentioned before that five years sounds like a short time span when it comes to microreactors. But it's not really, it can be done much faster. How fast did we make Chicago Pile-1, for example, the world's first [artificial] nuclear reactor? It was less than a year. Blue Origin's been around for 22 years, and it was only about five years ago it started flying. So that's the usual slow type of timeline we think about. But SpaceX was 4 years to rocket on [the] pad. So execution is everything.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2022 03:21 am by su27k »

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Radiant Nuclear
« Reply #10 on: 08/08/2022 07:26 am »
Checked the last post date on this thread so I thought I'd check their website.

Very pretty.

Not much detail though, in fact hardly any.  AFAIK if you're a startup you need to a) Make rapid progress to achieve your goals. b) Announce it.

Maybe they are going at a furious pace and keeping their investors closely informed and don't feel the need to raise their public profile?
MCT ITS BFR SS. The worlds first Methane fueled FFSC engined CFRP SS structure A380 sized aerospaceplane tail sitter capable of Earth & Mars atmospheric flight.First flight to Mars by end of 2022. Forward looking statements. T&C apply. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" R. Simberg."Competitve" means cheaper ¨cheap

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