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Title: A Basic LEGO Reactor Design for the Provision of Lunar Surface Power

Abstract

A final design has been established for a basic Lunar Evolutionary Growth-Optimized (LEGO) Reactor using current and near-term technologies. The LEGO Reactor is a modular, fast-fission, heatpipe-cooled, clustered-reactor system for lunar-surface power generation. The reactor is divided into subcritical units that can be safely launched with lunar shipments from Earth, and then emplaced directly into holes drilled into the lunar regolith to form a critical reactor assembly. The regolith would not just provide radiation shielding, but serve as neutron-reflector material as well. The reactor subunits are to be manufactured using proven and tested materials for use in radiation environments, such as uranium-dioxide fuel, stainless-steel cladding and structural support, and liquid-sodium heatpipes. The LEGO Reactor system promotes reliability, safety, and ease of manufacture and testing at the cost of an increase in launch mass per overall rated power level and a reduction in neutron economy when compared to a single-reactor system. A single unshielded LEGO Reactor subunit has an estimated mass of approximately 448 kg and provides approximately 5 kWe. The overall envelope for a single subunit with fully extended radiator panels has a height of 8.77 m and a diameter of 0.50 m. Six subunits could provide sufficient power generationmore » throughout the initial stages of establishing a lunar outpost. Portions of the reactor may be neutronically decoupled to allow for reduced power production during unmanned periods of base operations. During later stages of lunar-base development, additional subunits may be emplaced and coupled into the existing LEGO Reactor network, subject to lunar base power demand. Improvements in reactor control methods, fuel form and matrix, shielding, as well as power conversion and heat rejection techniques can help generate an even more competitive LEGO Reactor design. Further modifications in the design could provide power generative opportunities for use on other extraterrestrial surfaces.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
OTHER
OSTI Identifier:
935462
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-08-14353
TRN: US0804334
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC07-99ID-13727
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants (ICAPP '08) @ ANS Annual Meeting,Anaheim, California,06/08/2008,06/12/2008
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; DESIGN; FAST FISSION; MODIFICATIONS; NEUTRON FLUX; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; POWER DEMAND; POWER GENERATION; RADIATIONS; RADIATORS; RELIABILITY; SAFETY; SHIELDING; TESTING; URANIUM DIOXIDE; LEGO Reactor; Lunar Regolith Clustered-Reactor System; Lunar Surface Power

Citation Formats

John Darrell Bess. A Basic LEGO Reactor Design for the Provision of Lunar Surface Power. United States: N. p., 2008. Web.
John Darrell Bess. A Basic LEGO Reactor Design for the Provision of Lunar Surface Power. United States.
John Darrell Bess. Sun . "A Basic LEGO Reactor Design for the Provision of Lunar Surface Power". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/935462.
@article{osti_935462,
title = {A Basic LEGO Reactor Design for the Provision of Lunar Surface Power},
author = {John Darrell Bess},
abstractNote = {A final design has been established for a basic Lunar Evolutionary Growth-Optimized (LEGO) Reactor using current and near-term technologies. The LEGO Reactor is a modular, fast-fission, heatpipe-cooled, clustered-reactor system for lunar-surface power generation. The reactor is divided into subcritical units that can be safely launched with lunar shipments from Earth, and then emplaced directly into holes drilled into the lunar regolith to form a critical reactor assembly. The regolith would not just provide radiation shielding, but serve as neutron-reflector material as well. The reactor subunits are to be manufactured using proven and tested materials for use in radiation environments, such as uranium-dioxide fuel, stainless-steel cladding and structural support, and liquid-sodium heatpipes. The LEGO Reactor system promotes reliability, safety, and ease of manufacture and testing at the cost of an increase in launch mass per overall rated power level and a reduction in neutron economy when compared to a single-reactor system. A single unshielded LEGO Reactor subunit has an estimated mass of approximately 448 kg and provides approximately 5 kWe. The overall envelope for a single subunit with fully extended radiator panels has a height of 8.77 m and a diameter of 0.50 m. Six subunits could provide sufficient power generation throughout the initial stages of establishing a lunar outpost. Portions of the reactor may be neutronically decoupled to allow for reduced power production during unmanned periods of base operations. During later stages of lunar-base development, additional subunits may be emplaced and coupled into the existing LEGO Reactor network, subject to lunar base power demand. Improvements in reactor control methods, fuel form and matrix, shielding, as well as power conversion and heat rejection techniques can help generate an even more competitive LEGO Reactor design. Further modifications in the design could provide power generative opportunities for use on other extraterrestrial surfaces.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2008},
month = {6}
}

Conference:
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