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Title: Perspectives of The Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP) on future nuclear powered space missions

Abstract

The Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP) has provided reviews of all nuclear powered spacecraft launched by the United States. The two most recent launches were Ulysses in 1990 and Galileo in 1989. One reactor was launched in 1965 (SNAP-10A). All other U.S. space missions have utilized radioisotopic thermoelectric generators (RTGs). There are several missions in the next few years that are to be nuclear powered, including one that would utilize the Topaz II reactor purchased from Russia. INSRP must realign itself to perform parallel safety assessments of a reactor powered space mission, which has not been done in about thirty years, and RTG powered missions.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. (NASA HQ/Code QS, 300 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20546 (United States))
  2. (DOE HQ/Office of Nuclear Safety, Mail Stop NS-20, Washington, DC 20545 (United States))
  3. (U.S. Air Force Directorate of Nuclear Surety, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico 87117 (United States))
  4. (U.S. Air Force (Ret.), c/o Directorate of Nuclear Surety, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico 87117 (United States))
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5535145
Report Number(s):
CONF-930103-
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-243X; CODEN: APCPCS
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings (American Institute of Physics); (United States); Journal Volume: 271:1; Conference: 10. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 10-14 Jan 1993
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; SPACE POWER REACTORS; SAFETY REPORTS; INTERAGENCY COOPERATION; RADIATION PROTECTION; REACTOR SAFETY; REVIEWS; RISK ASSESSMENT; SAFETY ANALYSIS; THERMOELECTRIC GENERATORS; TOPAZ REACTOR; COOPERATION; DIRECT ENERGY CONVERTERS; DOCUMENT TYPES; EXPERIMENTAL REACTORS; HYDRIDE MODERATED REACTORS; MOBILE REACTORS; POWER REACTORS; REACTORS; RESEARCH AND TEST REACTORS; SAFETY; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; 210600* - Power Reactors, Auxiliary, Mobile Package, & Transportable; 220900 - Nuclear Reactor Technology- Reactor Safety

Citation Formats

Gray, L.B., Pyatt, D.W., Sholtis, J.A., and Winchester, R.O. Perspectives of The Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP) on future nuclear powered space missions. United States: N. p., 1993. Web. doi:10.1063/1.43183.
Gray, L.B., Pyatt, D.W., Sholtis, J.A., & Winchester, R.O. Perspectives of The Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP) on future nuclear powered space missions. United States. doi:10.1063/1.43183.
Gray, L.B., Pyatt, D.W., Sholtis, J.A., and Winchester, R.O. 1993. "Perspectives of The Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP) on future nuclear powered space missions". United States. doi:10.1063/1.43183.
@article{osti_5535145,
title = {Perspectives of The Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP) on future nuclear powered space missions},
author = {Gray, L.B. and Pyatt, D.W. and Sholtis, J.A. and Winchester, R.O.},
abstractNote = {The Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP) has provided reviews of all nuclear powered spacecraft launched by the United States. The two most recent launches were Ulysses in 1990 and Galileo in 1989. One reactor was launched in 1965 (SNAP-10A). All other U.S. space missions have utilized radioisotopic thermoelectric generators (RTGs). There are several missions in the next few years that are to be nuclear powered, including one that would utilize the Topaz II reactor purchased from Russia. INSRP must realign itself to perform parallel safety assessments of a reactor powered space mission, which has not been done in about thirty years, and RTG powered missions.},
doi = {10.1063/1.43183},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings (American Institute of Physics); (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 271:1,
place = {United States},
year = 1993,
month = 1
}

Conference:
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  • Since 1961, the US has launched > 20 spacecraft using nuclear power sources. One of these space missions involved a nuclear reactor; the remainder were powered by radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). Space nuclear power/propulsion systems are receiving greater attention in the US and abroad. These developments suggest that nuclear systems may play an expanding role in future space endeavors. Although space nuclear power/propulsion offers distinct advantages, it also poses significant safety challenges. Stringent design and operational flight safety measures are required to protect the public an the environment under normal and accident conditions. Moreover, formal safety reviews are mandatory tomore » obtain flight approval. This paper describes the flight safety review and launch approval process used in the US for nuclear-powered space missions.« less
  • Since 1961, the US has launched more than 20 civilian and military spacecraft utilizing nuclear power sources. This paper is devoted to the flight safety review and launch approval process, which has been developed and successfully employed in the US for nuclear-powered space missions. The US flight safety review and launch approval process for nuclear-powered space missions is illustrated. Except for a few minor enhancements, the process has remained the same as when established in the early 1960s. Three mission safety analysis reports (SARs) are produced over time. These documents are developed by the project office responsible for the nuclearmore » power system within the US Department of Energy (DOE). They, therefore, represent a project assessment of the risks. The Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP) conducts its independent review in three stages, i.e., after each of the SARs. The results of the INSRP evaluation are documented in a safety evaluation report (SER). The SER, which contains an independent characterization of the mission risks, is formally sent to two pivotal government agencies: (a) the agency sponsoring the mission, i.e., the Department of Defense (DOD) or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and (b) The National Security Council or the Office of Science and Technology Policy, depending on whether a military or civilian mission is involved. Ultimately, a launch decision is made, based on risk/benefit considerations, within the office of the President.« less
  • As part of the Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel's assessment of the nuclear safety of NASA's Ulysses Mission to investigate properties of the sun, the Power System Subpanel has reviewed the safety analyses and risk evaluations done for the General Purpose Heat Source-Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator which provides on-board electrical power for the spacecraft. This paper summarizes the activities and results of that review. In general, the approach taken in the primary analysis, executed by the General Electric Company under contract to the Department of Energy, and the resulting conclusions were confirmed by the review. However, the Subpanel took some exceptionsmore » and modified the calculations accordingly, producing an independent evaluation of potential releases of radioactive fuel in launch and reentry accidents. Some of the more important of these exceptions are described briefly.« less
  • The recent 6 October 1990 launch and deployment of the nuclear-powered Ulysses spacecraft from the Space Shuttle {ital Discovery} culminated an extensive safety review and evaluation effort by the Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP). After more than a year of detailed independent review, study, and analysis, the INSRP prepared a Safety Evaluation Report (SER) on the Ulysses mission, in accordance with Presidential Directive-National Security Council memorandum 25. The SER, which included a review of the Ulysses Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR) and an independent characterization of the mission risks, was used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)more » in its decision to request launch approval as well as by the Executive Office of the President in arriving at a launch decision based on risk-benefit considerations. This paper provides an overview of the Ulysses mission and the conduct as well as the results of the INSRP evaluation. While the mission risk determined by the INSRP in the SER was higher than that characterized by the Ulysses project in the FSAR, both reports indicated that the radiological risks were relatively small. In the final analysis, the SER proved to be supportive of a positive launch decision. The INSRP evaluation process has demonstrated its effectiveness numerous times since the 1960s. In every case, it has provided the essential ingredients and perspective to permit an informed launch decision at the highest level of our Government.« less
  • This report of the Biomedical and Environmental Effects Subpanel (BEES) of the Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Panel (INSRP), for the Galileo space mission addresses the possible radiological consequences of postulated accidents that release radioactivity into the environment. This report presents estimates of the consequences and uncertainties given that the source term is released into the environment. 10 refs., 6 tabs.