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Title: Gaseous fuel reactor research

Abstract

Gaseous Fuel Nuclear Reactors are externally moderated and contain the fissile material inside a cavity where it is suspended by fluid mechanics forces. The gaseous phase of the nuclear fuel permits operation of the reactor at temperatures much higher than the melting point of all materials. NASA has originally supported relevant research for space propulsion. The continuation of this work includes new research on power generation on Earth for improved economy and environmental acceptability. In reactor experiments with enriched uranium hexafluoride, UF/sub 6/, a critical mass of 6 kg is determined. Pressurized UF/sub 6/ remains chemically stable at temperatures up to 2000 kelvins. The interaction of fission fragments with their gaseous environment causes preferential excitation and ionization, leading to non-equilibrium optical radiation. Powerful fluxes of photons are expected to become a superior mechanism of energy extraction from the fissioning gas or plasma in the reactor. The pumping of lasers solely by fission fragments is realized in a variety of lasants. A near term objective of the NASA gaseous fuel reactor program is a benchmark experiment at 100 kw power and at a gas temperature of 1600 kelvins, demonstrating the feasibility of major advances in reactor technology. A concerted research effortmore » is leading to this experiment. A plasma core cavity reactor for high specific impulse propulsion in space remains a long range goal.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC
OSTI Identifier:
5097581
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci.; (United States)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: PS-5:4; Journal Issue: 4
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; GAS FUELED REACTORS; RESEARCH PROGRAMS; NUCLEAR PUMPING; POWER REACTORS; REVIEWS; SPACE PROPULSION REACTORS; URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE; ACTINIDE COMPOUNDS; DOCUMENT TYPES; FLUID FUELED REACTORS; FLUORIDES; FLUORINE COMPOUNDS; HALIDES; HALOGEN COMPOUNDS; HOMOGENEOUS REACTORS; MOBILE REACTORS; PROPULSION REACTORS; REACTORS; SPACE POWER REACTORS; URANIUM COMPOUNDS; URANIUM FLUORIDES; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; 220800* - Nuclear Reactor Technology- Propulsion Reactors; 210600 - Power Reactors, Auxiliary, Mobile Package, & Transportable

Citation Formats

Thom, K, and Schneider, R T. Gaseous fuel reactor research. United States: N. p., 1977. Web. doi:10.1109/TPS.1977.4317061.
Thom, K, & Schneider, R T. Gaseous fuel reactor research. United States. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPS.1977.4317061
Thom, K, and Schneider, R T. 1977. "Gaseous fuel reactor research". United States. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPS.1977.4317061.
@article{osti_5097581,
title = {Gaseous fuel reactor research},
author = {Thom, K and Schneider, R T},
abstractNote = {Gaseous Fuel Nuclear Reactors are externally moderated and contain the fissile material inside a cavity where it is suspended by fluid mechanics forces. The gaseous phase of the nuclear fuel permits operation of the reactor at temperatures much higher than the melting point of all materials. NASA has originally supported relevant research for space propulsion. The continuation of this work includes new research on power generation on Earth for improved economy and environmental acceptability. In reactor experiments with enriched uranium hexafluoride, UF/sub 6/, a critical mass of 6 kg is determined. Pressurized UF/sub 6/ remains chemically stable at temperatures up to 2000 kelvins. The interaction of fission fragments with their gaseous environment causes preferential excitation and ionization, leading to non-equilibrium optical radiation. Powerful fluxes of photons are expected to become a superior mechanism of energy extraction from the fissioning gas or plasma in the reactor. The pumping of lasers solely by fission fragments is realized in a variety of lasants. A near term objective of the NASA gaseous fuel reactor program is a benchmark experiment at 100 kw power and at a gas temperature of 1600 kelvins, demonstrating the feasibility of major advances in reactor technology. A concerted research effort is leading to this experiment. A plasma core cavity reactor for high specific impulse propulsion in space remains a long range goal.},
doi = {10.1109/TPS.1977.4317061},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/5097581}, journal = {IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci.; (United States)},
number = 4,
volume = PS-5:4,
place = {United States},
year = {1977},
month = {12}
}