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Nuclear reactors in space, – enthusiasm by corporations and governments ignores the dangers.

You have to read through this article – about  ”a major advance” – very carefully –   to see that nothing much is really happening.   You have to get to the end of the article  =to learn how very dangerous is this plan.    Of course there;’s no mention that (A) the whole thing is totally connected with militarism, and (B) only the tax-payer would be willing and able to pay for these space toys 

Companies and government agencies propose nuclear reactors for space.  The technologies could help the US Space Force monitor the region between Earth and the Moon    Physics Today, Sarah Scoles 28 May 21,  ,,……….

Someday, such a system could power and propel spacecraft or keep the lights on in lunar or Martian habitats. That sort of nuclear electricity source would be a major advance…..

Eric Felt, space vehicles director at the Air Force Research Laboratory (which supports both the air and space forces), spoke to Physics Today on behalf of the space force’s interests. The branch, he says, is monitoring developments in space-based nuclear reactors but not yet funding them. The recently established branch has no immediate plans to use off-Earth nuclear reactors and hasn’t determined if or how space fission fits into its portfolio. Felt says both the technological and policy barriers have shrunk; the obstacle that remains is to find a goal that needs nuclear fission.

One place where nuclear technology could fit is cislunar space—the expanse between Earth and the Moon. 

………  McClure, Poston, and former Los Alamos associate director Andy Phelps have spun out their innovation into a company called Space Nuclear Power Corp, or SpaceNukes……..

SpaceNukes is not the only group working on nuclear reactors for cislunar “space domain awareness.” Among others, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is pursuing a related project, the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations, or DRACO. The craft would be propelled by a nuclear-thermal system and capable of surveilling a large area……….

Felt has met with the DRACO team and agreed to consider partnering with DARPA to transition the technology to the space force once it’s mature. The caveat—as with the Kilopower project—is that the space force must first find a “killer app” for it, says Felt. “Maybe ‘raison d’être’ would be more accurate,” he adds…….

Sarah Scoles

……………..Nuclear reactors in space are not without hazards. Accidents involving nuclear reactors could put Earthlings at more risk than with conventional spacecraft. And any technology involving uranium could stir international objections, especially if it uses highly enriched uranium (HEU), as Kilopower does. “The problem with HEU is it’s weapons-grade material,” says McClure. “There’s always the concern that, if we lost it on launch, some bad person would recover it and do nefarious things.” Some policymakers and nonprofit groups worry that producing and using more HEU, which the US has worked to minimize for decades, poses proliferation risks.

The bomb-ready fuel isn’t banned completely, but its use would put the Kilopower design in the most stringent launch-approval category. The system can use a less-controversial fuel called high-assay low-enriched uranium, or HALEU, which does not carry the same proliferation risks, but it would add 700 kilograms to the reactor’s mass. “We prefer to use HEU because the system is lighter,” says Poston. But by using HALEU, DRACO’s launch approval would be greatly simplified.

May 29, 2021 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel

1 Comment »

  1. What a dumn drinking uncritical ad for reactors. U r so stupid. U will die from radionuclides soon

    Comment by Brown | May 29, 2021 | Reply

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