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Radiological Contingency Planning for the Mars Science Laboratory Launch

Description: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides technical support to the requesting federal agency such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Defense, the National Space and Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), or a state agency to address the radiological consequences of an event. These activities include measures to alleviate damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused by the incident; protect public health and safety; restore essential government services; and provide emergency assistance to those affected. Scheduled to launch in the fall of 2009, Mars Science Laboratory is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet's "habitability." The Mars Science Laboratory rover will carry a radioisotope power system that generates electricity from the heat of plutonium's radioactive decay. This power source gives the mission an operating lifespan on Mars' surface of a full Martian year (687 Earth days) or more, while also providing significantly greater mobility and operational flexibility, enhanced science payload capability, and exploration of a much larger range of latitudes and altitudes than was possible on previous missions to Mars. National Security Technologies, LLC (NSTec), based in Las Vegas, Nevada, will support the DOE in its role for managing the overall radiological contingency planning support effort. This paper will focus on new technologies that NSTec is developing to enhance the overall response capability that would be required for a highly unlikely anomaly. This paper presents recent advances in collecting and collating data transmitted from deployed teams and sensors. NSTec is responsible to prepare the contingency planning for a range of areas from monitoring and assessment, sample ...
Date: March 1, 2008
Creator: Guss, Paul
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Small Fast Spectrum Reactor Designs Suitable for Direct Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

Description: Advancement of U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program requires high performance propulsion systems to support a variety of robotic and crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit. Past studies, in particular those in support of both the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), have shown nuclear thermal propulsion systems provide superior performance for high mass high propulsive delta-V missions. The recent NASA Design Reference Architecture (DRA) 5.0 Study re-examined mission, payload, and transportation system requirements for a human Mars landing mission in the post-2030 timeframe. Nuclear thermal propulsion was again identified as the preferred in-space transportation system. A common nuclear thermal propulsion stage with three 25,000-lbf thrust engines was used for all primary mission maneuvers. Moderately lower thrust engines may also have important roles. In particular, lower thrust engine designs demonstrating the critical technologies that are directly extensible to other thrust levels are attractive from a ground testing perspective. An extensive nuclear thermal rocket technology development effort was conducted from 1955-1973 under the Rover/NERVA Program. Both graphite and refractory metal alloy fuel types were pursued. Reactors and engines employing graphite based fuels were designed, built and ground tested. A number of fast spectrum reactor and engine designs employing refractory metal alloy fuel types were proposed and designed, but none were built. The Small Nuclear Rocket Engine (SNRE) was the last engine design studied by the Los Alamos National Laboratory during the program. At the time, this engine was a state-of-the-art graphite based fuel design incorporating lessons learned from the very successful technology development program. The SNRE was a nominal 16,000-lbf thrust engine originally intended for unmanned applications with relatively short engine operations and the engine and stage design were constrained to fit within the payload volume of the then planned space shuttle. ...
Date: July 1, 2012
Creator: Schnitzler, Bruce G. & Borowski, Stanley K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Planning For Multiple NASA Missions With Use Of Enabling Radioisotope Power

Description: Since the early 1960’s the Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies have provided radioisotope power systems (RPS) to NASA as an enabling technology for deep space and various planetary missions. They provide reliable power in situations where solar and/or battery power sources are either untenable or would place an undue mass burden on the mission. In the modern era of the past twenty years there has been no time that multiple missions have been considered for launching from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) during the same year. The closest proximity of missions that involved radioisotope power systems would be that of Galileo (October 1989) and Ulysses (October 1990). The closest that involved radioisotope heater units would be the small rovers Spirit and Opportunity (May and July 2003) used in the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission. It can be argued that the rovers sent to Mars in 2003 were essentially a special case since they staged in the same facility and used a pair of small launch vehicles (Delta II). This paper examines constraints on the frequency of use of radioisotope power systems with regard to launching them from Kennedy Space Center using currently available launch vehicles. This knowledge may be useful as NASA plans for its future deep space or planetary missions where radioisotope power systems are used as an enabling technology. Previous descriptions have focused on single mission chronologies and not analyzed the timelines with an emphasis on multiple missions.
Date: February 1, 2013
Creator: Johnson, S.G.; Lively, K.L. & Dwight, C.C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear-Powered GPS Spacecraft Design Study

Description: This is the final report of a study to investigate the potential benefits of a nuclear (radioisotope) - powered satellite for advanced phases of the Global Positioning System (GPS) program. The critical parameters were: power to user; mean mission duration; orbital predictability; thermal control of on-board frequency standards; and vulnerability. The reference design approach is described, and input data are given for two power systems that are under development: an organic Rankine system and a Brayton cycle system. Reference design details are provided and structural design and analysis are discussed, as well as thermal design and analysis. A higher altitude version is also considered.
Date: May 1977
Creator: Raab, Bernard
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear Rocket Program, Metallurgy Division progress report for quarter ending December 31, 1964

Description: Activities reported include: metallurgical work; development and fabrication of high-temperature cermets; stabilization of urania; development of small-diameter, thin-walled tungsten tubing; cladding high-temperature cermet fuels; properties of high-temperature materials; evaluation of high-temperature cermets; nondestructive testing of ultrahigh-temperature reactor components; and irradiation of high-temperature cermet fuels.
Date: April 30, 1965
Creator: Burt, W.R.; Flinn, J.E.; Beals, R.J.; Pugacz, M.A.; Renken, C.J.; Yaggee, F.L. et al.
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

DOE: Integrating Southwest Power Pool Wind Energy into Southeast Electricity Markets

Description: Wind power development in the United States is outpacing previous estimates for many regions, particularly those with good wind resources. The pace of wind power deployment may soon outstrip regional capabilities to provide transmission and integration services to achieve the most economic power system operation. Conversely, regions such as the Southeastern United States do not have good wind resources and will have difficulty meeting proposed federal Renewable Portfolio Standards with local supply. There is a growing need to explore innovative solutions for collaborating between regions to achieve the least cost solution for meeting such a renewable energy mandate. The DOE-funded project 'Integrating Southwest Power Pool Wind Energy into Southeast Electricity Markets' aims to evaluate the benefits of coordination of scheduling and balancing for Southwest Power Pool (SPP) wind transfers to Southeastern Electric Reliability Council (SERC) Balancing Authorities (BAs). The primary objective of this project is to analyze the benefits of different balancing approaches with increasing levels of inter-regional cooperation. Scenarios were defined, modeled and investigated to address production variability and uncertainty and the associated balancing of large quantities of wind power in SPP and delivery to energy markets in the southern regions of the SERC. The primary analysis of the project is based on unit commitment (UC) and economic dispatch (ED) simulations of the SPP-SERC regions as modeled for the year 2022. The UC/ED models utilized for the project were developed through extensive consultation with the project utility partners, to ensure the various regions and operational practices are represented as accurately as possible realizing that all such future scenario models are quite uncertain. SPP, Entergy, Oglethorpe Power Company (OPC), Southern Company, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) actively participated in the project providing input data for the models and review of simulation results and conclusions. While other SERC utility systems ...
Date: November 29, 2011
Creator: Brooks, Daniel, EPRI; Tuohy, Aidan, EPRI; Deb, Sidart, LCG Consulting; Jampani, Srinivas, LCG Consulting; Kirby, Brendan, Consultant & King, Jack, Consultant
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Economical Production of Pu-238

Description: All space exploration missions traveling beyond Jupiter must use radioisotopic power sources for electrical power. The best isotope to power these sources is plutonium-238. The US supply of Pu-238 is almost exhausted and will be gone within the next decade. The Department of Energy has initiated a production program with a $10M allocation from NASA but the cost is estimated at over $100 M to get to production levels. The Center for Space Nuclear Research has conceived of a potentially better process to produce Pu-238 earlier and for significantly less cost. The new process will also produce dramatically less waste. Potentially, the front end costs could be provided by private industry such that the government only had to pay for the product produced. Under a NASA Phase I NIAC grant, the CSNR has evaluated the feasibility of using a low power, commercially available nuclear reactor to produce at least 1.5 kg of Pu-238 per year. The impact on the neutronics of the reactor have been assessed, the amount of Neptunium target material estimated, and the production rates calculated. In addition, the size of the post-irradiation processing facility has been established. In addition, a new method for fabricating the Pu-238 product into the form used for power sources has been identified to reduce the cost of the final product. In short, the concept appears to be viable, can produce the amount of Pu-238 needed to support the NASA missions, can be available within a few years, and will cost significantly less than the current DOE program.
Date: February 1, 2013
Creator: Howe, Steven D.; Crawford, Douglas; Navarro, Jorge & Ring, Terry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Using Electric Vehicles to Meet Balancing Requirements Associated with Wind Power

Description: Many states are deploying renewable generation sources at a significant rate to meet renewable portfolio standards. As part of this drive to meet renewable generation levels, significant additions of wind generation are planned. Due to the highly variable nature of wind generation, significant energy imbalances on the power system can be created and need to be handled. This report examines the impact on the Northwest Power Pool (NWPP) region for a 2019 expected wind scenario. One method for mitigating these imbalances is to utilize plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) or battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as assets to the grid. PHEVs and BEVs have the potential to meet this demand through both charging and discharging strategies. This report explores the usage of two different charging schemes: V2GHalf and V2GFull. In V2GHalf, PHEV/BEV charging is varied to absorb the additional imbalance from the wind generation, but never feeds power back into the grid. This scenario is highly desirable to automotive manufacturers, who harbor great concerns about battery warranty if vehicle-to-grid discharging is allowed. The second strategy, V2GFull, varies not only the charging of the vehicle battery, but also can vary the discharging of the battery back into the power grid. This scenario is currently less desirable to automotive manufacturers, but provides an additional resource benefit to PHEV/BEVs in meeting the additional imbalance imposed by wind. Key findings in the report relate to the PHEV/BEV population required to meet the additional imbalance when comparing V2GHalf to V2GFull populations, and when comparing home-only-charging and work-and-home-charging scenarios. Utilizing V2GFull strategies over V2GHalf resulted in a nearly 33% reduction in the number of vehicles required. This reduction indicates fewer vehicles are needed to meet the unhandled energy, but they would utilize discharging of the vehicle battery into the grid. This practice currently results in the voiding ...
Date: July 31, 2011
Creator: Tuffner, Francis K. & Kintner-Meyer, Michael CW
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fabrication and Properties of Copper-Boron Carbide Control Materials for Phoebus II Reactor

Description: The Phoebus II Reactor required a neutron absorber material for criticality control and a neutron poison material for reducing the flux peak at the forward end of the fuel element. Normal B{sub 4}C was chosen for the neutron absorbing material, and Cu was employed as the matrix.A feasibility study developed procedures for producijg uniform, dense, stable sheet material of Cu-20, 40, and 50 v/o normal B{sub 4}C. The procedures were, with only slight modifications, translated to production operation to yield sheet from which Phoebus II control plates and end poison plates were made.
Date: June 1, 1964
Creator: Sheinberg, H. & Keil, R. W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fabrication of Cerium Oxide and Uranium Oxide Microspheres for Space Nuclear Power Applications

Description: Cerium oxide and uranium oxide microspheres are being produced via an internal gelation sol-gel method to investigate alternative fabrication routes for space nuclear fuels. Depleted uranium and non-radioactive cerium are being utilized as surrogates for plutonium-238 (Pu-238) used in radioisotope thermoelectric generators and for enriched uranium required by nuclear thermal rockets. While current methods used to produce Pu-238 fuels at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) involve the generation of fine powders that pose a respiratory hazard and have a propensity to contaminate glove boxes, the sol-gel route allows for the generation of oxide microsphere fuels through an aqueous route. The sol-gel method does not generate fine powders and may require fewer processing steps than the LANL method with less operator handling. High-quality cerium dioxide microspheres have been fabricated in the desired size range and equipment is being prepared to establish a uranium dioxide microsphere production capability.
Date: February 1, 2013
Creator: Katalenich, Jeffrey A.; Hartman, Michael R. & O'Brien, Robert C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative Approaches to Development and Ground Testing of Advanced Bimodal Space Power and Propulsion Systems

Description: The last major development effort for nuclear power and propulsion systems ended in 1993. Currently, there is not an initiative at either the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) or the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that requires the development of new nuclear power and propulsion systems. Studies continue to show nuclear technology as a strong technical candidate to lead the way toward human exploration of adjacent planets or provide power for deep space missions, particularly a 15,000 lbf bimodal nuclear system with 115 kW power capability. The development of nuclear technology for space applications would require technology development in some areas and a major flight qualification program. The last major ground test facility considered for nuclear propulsion qualification was the U.S. Air Force/DOE Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Project. Seven years have passed since that effort, and the questions remain the same, how to qualify nuclear power and propulsion systems for future space flight. It can be reasonable assumed that much of the nuclear testing required to qualify a nuclear system for space application will be performed at DOE facilities as demonstrated by the Nuclear Rocket Engine Reactor Experiment (NERVA) and Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (SNTP) programs. The nuclear infrastructure to support testing in this country is aging and getting smaller, though facilities still exist to support many of the technology development needs. By renewing efforts, an innovative approach to qualifying these systems through the use of existing facilities either in the U.S. (DOE's Advance Test Reactor, High Flux Irradiation Facility and the Contained Test Facility) or overseas should be possible.
Date: July 1, 2000
Creator: Hill, Thomas Johnathan; Noble, Cheryl Ann; Noble, C.; Martinell, John Stephen & Borowski, S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Autonomous Control of Space Reactor Systems

Description: Autonomous and semi-autonomous control is a key element of space reactor design in order to meet the mission requirements of safety, reliability, survivability, and life expectancy. Interrestrial nuclear power plants, human operators are avilable to perform intelligent control functions that are necessary for both normal and abnormal operational conditions.
Date: November 30, 2007
Creator: Upadhyaya, Belle R.; Zhao, K.; Perillo, S.R.P.; Xu, Xiaojia & Na, M.G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Vibration Testing of the Pluto/New Horizons Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator

Description: The Radioisotopic Thermal Generator (RTG) for the Pluto/New Horizons spacecraft was subjected to a flight dynamic acceptance test to demonstrate that it would perform successfully following launch. Seven RTGs of this type had been assembled and tested at Mound, Ohio from 1984 to 1997. This paper chronicles major events in establishing a new vibration test laboratory at the Idaho National Laboratory and the nineteen days of dynamic testing.
Date: June 1, 2006
Creator: Griffin, Charles D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Steam turbine materials and corrosion

Description: Ultra-supercritical (USC) power plants offer the promise of higher efficiencies and lower emissions. Current goals of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Power Systems Initiatives include power generation from coal at 60% efficiency, which would require steam temperatures of up to 760°C. This project examines the steamside oxidation of candidate alloys for use in USC systems, with emphasis placed on applications in high- and intermediate-pressure turbines. As part of this research a concern has arisen about the possibility of high chromia evaporation rates of protective scales in the turbine. A model to calculate chromia evaporation rates is presented.
Date: December 1, 2007
Creator: Holcomb, G.R.; Alman, D.E.; Dogan, O.N.; Rawers, J.C.; Schrems, K.K. & Ziomek-Moroz, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aerospace Safety Results from a Rover/Nerva Post-Operational Destruct Test

Description: The destruction of a full scale mockup ROVER/NERVA propulsion engine· was performed under the direction of the joint AEC/NASA Space Nuclear Propulsion Office. The instrumentation was developed and installed by Aberdeen Proving Ground and Sandia Corporation. The data collected included information about the destruct debris velocity, size, weight, and spacial distribution. These data are a satisfactory source term for the computer analysis of the ROVER/NERVA Program safety.
Date: November 18, 1965
Creator: Berry, R. E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Low inductance gas switching.

Description: The laser trigger switch (LTS) is a key component in ZR-type pulsed power systems. In ZR, the pulse rise time through the LTS is > 200 ns and additional stages of pulse compression are required to achieve the desired <100 ns rise time. The inductance of the LTS ({approx}500nH) in large part determines the energy transfer time through the switch and there is much to be gained in improving system performance and reducing system costs by reducing this inductance. The current path through the cascade section of the ZR LTS is at a diameter of {approx} 6-inches which is certainly not optimal from an inductance point of view. The LTS connects components of much greater diameter (typically 4-5 feet). In this LDRD the viability of switch concepts in which the diameter of cascade section is greatly increased have been investigated. The key technical question to be answered was, will the desired multi-channel behavior be maintained in a cascade section of larger diameter. This LDRD proceeded in 2 distinct phases. The original plan for the LDRD was to develop a promising switch concept and then design, build, and test a moderate scale switch which would demonstrate the key features of the concept. In phase I, a switch concept which meet all electrical design criteria and had a calculated inductance of 150 nH was developed. A 1.5 MV test switch was designed and fabrication was initiated. The LDRD was then redirected due to budgetary concerns. The fabrication of the switch was halted and the focus of the LDRD was shifted to small scale experiments designed to answer the key technical question concerning multi-channel behavior. In phase II, the Multi-channel switch test bed (MCST) was designed and constructed. The purpose of MCST was to provide a versatile, fast turn around facility for the ...
Date: October 1, 2007
Creator: Chavez, Ray; Harjes, Henry Charles III; Wallace, Zachariah & Elizondo, Juan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department