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RECENT ACTIVITIES AT THE CENTER FOR SPACE NUCLEAR RESEARCH FOR DEVELOPING NUCLEAR THERMAL ROCKETS

Description: Nuclear power has been considered for space applications since the 1960s. Between 1955 and 1972 the US built and tested over twenty nuclear reactors/ rocket-engines in the Rover/NERVA programs. However, changes in environmental laws may make the redevelopment of the nuclear rocket more difficult. Recent advances in fuel fabrication and testing options indicate that a nuclear rocket with a fuel form significantly different from NERVA may be needed to ensure public support. The Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) is pursuing development of tungsten based fuels for use in a NTR, for a surface power reactor, and to encapsulate radioisotope power sources. The CSNR Summer Fellows program has investigated the feasibility of several missions enabled by the NTR. The potential mission benefits of a nuclear rocket, historical achievements of the previous programs, and recent investigations into alternatives in design and materials for future systems will be discussed.
Date: September 1, 2001
Creator: O'Brien, Robert C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear Rocket Test Facility Decommissioning Including Controlled Explosive Demolition of a Neutron-Activated Shield Wall

Description: Located in Area 25 of the Nevada Test Site, the Test Cell A Facility was used in the 1960s for the testing of nuclear rocket engines, as part of the Nuclear Rocket Development Program. The facility was decontaminated and decommissioned (D&D) in 2005 using the Streamlined Approach For Environmental Restoration (SAFER) process, under the Federal Facilities Agreement and Consent Order (FFACO). Utilities and process piping were verified void of contents, hazardous materials were removed, concrete with removable contamination decontaminated, large sections mechanically demolished, and the remaining five-foot, five-inch thick radiologically-activated reinforced concrete shield wall demolished using open-air controlled explosive demolition (CED). CED of the shield wall was closely monitored and resulted in no radiological exposure or atmospheric release.
Date: September 1, 2007
Creator: Kruzic, Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

ADVANCED RADIOISOTOPE HEAT SOURCE AND PROPULSION SYSTEMS FOR PLANETARY EXPLORATION

Description: The exploration of planetary surfaces and atmospheres may be enhanced by increasing the range and mobility of a science platform. Fundamentally, power production and availability of resources are limiting factors that must be considered for all science and exploration missions. A novel power and propulsion system is considered and discussed with reference to a long-range Mars surface exploration mission with in-situ resource utilization. Significance to applications such as sample return missions is also considered. Key material selections for radioisotope encapsulation techniques are presented.
Date: September 1, 2010
Creator: O'Brien, R. C.; Howe, S. D. & Werner, J. E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Current Development of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion technologies at the Center for Space Nuclear Research

Description: Nuclear power and propulsion has been considered for space applications since the 1950s. Between 1955 and 1972 the US built and tested over twenty nuclear reactors / rocket engines in the Rover/NERVA programs1. The Aerojet Corporation was the prime contractor for the NERVA program. Modern changes in environmental laws present challenges for the redevelopment of the nuclear rocket. Recent advances in fuel fabrication and testing options indicate that a nuclear rocket with a fuel composition that is significantly different from those of the NERVA project can be engineered; this may be needed to ensure public support and compliance with safety requirements. The Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) is pursuing a number of technologies, modeling and testing processes to further the development of safe, practical and affordable nuclear thermal propulsion systems.
Date: September 1, 2012
Creator: O'Brien, Robert C.; Cook, Steven K.; Jerred, Nathan D.; Howe, Steven D.; Samborsky, Ronald & Brasuell, Daniel
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The National Criticality Experiments Research Center at the Device Assembly Facility, Nevada National Security Site: Status and Capabilities, Summary Report

Description: The National Criticality Experiments Research Center (NCERC) was officially opened on August 29, 2011. Located within the Device Assembly Facility (DAF) at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), the NCERC has become a consolidation facility within the United States for critical configuration testing, particularly those involving highly enriched uranium (HEU). The DAF is a Department of Energy (DOE) owned facility that is operated by the National Nuclear Security Agency/Nevada Site Office (NNSA/NSO). User laboratories include the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Personnel bring their home lab qualifications and procedures with them to the DAF, such that non-site specific training need not be repeated to conduct work at DAF. The NNSS Management and Operating contractor is National Security Technologies, LLC (NSTec) and the NNSS Safeguards and Security contractor is Wackenhut Services. The complete report provides an overview and status of the available laboratories and test bays at NCERC, available test materials and test support configurations, and test requirements and limitations for performing sub-critical and critical tests. The current summary provides a brief summary of the facility status and the method by which experiments may be introduced to NCERC.
Date: September 1, 2011
Creator: Bragg-Sitton, S.; Bess, J. & Werner, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department