Multi Megawatt Power System Analysis Report

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Missions to the outer planets or to near-by planets requiring short times and/or increased payload carrying capability will benefit from nuclear power. A concept study was undertaken to evaluate options for a multi-megawatt power source for nuclear electric propulsion. The nominal electric power requirement was set at 15 MWe with an assumed mission profile of 120 days at full power, 60 days in hot standby, and another 120 days of full power, repeated several times for 7 years of service. Of the numerous options considered, two that appeared to have the greatest promise were a gas-cooled reactor based on the ... continued below

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Longhurst, Glen Reed; Harvego, Edwin Allan; Schnitzler, Bruce Gordon; Seifert, Gary Dean; Sharpe, John Phillip; Verrill, Donald Alan et al. November 1, 2001.

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Description

Missions to the outer planets or to near-by planets requiring short times and/or increased payload carrying capability will benefit from nuclear power. A concept study was undertaken to evaluate options for a multi-megawatt power source for nuclear electric propulsion. The nominal electric power requirement was set at 15 MWe with an assumed mission profile of 120 days at full power, 60 days in hot standby, and another 120 days of full power, repeated several times for 7 years of service. Of the numerous options considered, two that appeared to have the greatest promise were a gas-cooled reactor based on the NERVA Derivative design, operating a closed cycle Brayton power conversion system; and a molten lithium-cooled reactor based on SP-100 technology, driving a boiling potassium Rankine power conversion system. This study examined the relative merits of these two systems, seeking to optimize the specific mass. Conclusions were that either concept appeared capable of approaching the specific mass goal of 3-5 kg/kWe estimated to be needed for this class of mission, though neither could be realized without substantial development in reactor fuels technology, thermal radiator mass efficiency, and power conversion and distribution electronics and systems capable of operating at high temperatures. Though the gas-Brayton systems showed an apparent advantage in specific mass, differences in the degree of conservatism inherent in the models used suggests expectations for the two approaches may be similar. Brayton systems eliminate the need to deal with two-phase flows in the microgravity environment of space.

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  • Report No.: INEEL/EXT-01-00938
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/910682 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 910682
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc890805

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • November 1, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 6:33 p.m.

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Longhurst, Glen Reed; Harvego, Edwin Allan; Schnitzler, Bruce Gordon; Seifert, Gary Dean; Sharpe, John Phillip; Verrill, Donald Alan et al. Multi Megawatt Power System Analysis Report, report, November 1, 2001; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc890805/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.