SP-100 Technology Scales from Kilowatts to Megawatts
Published August 3, 1992 by SAE International in United States
Annotation of this paper is available
System level design studies of space applications ranging in power from 77 kWt to 200 MWt have indicated no practical limit to the thermal power that can be reliably generated by a space reactor system based on the technologies being developed in the SP-100 program. These technologies include uranium nitride fuel, PWC-11/rhenium bonded fuel cladding, PWC-11 structural material for the lithium coolant boundary, electromagnetic coolant pumps, safety and reactivity control drive mechanisms, sensors, shielding materials, etc. at operating temperatures up to 1400K. The physical arrangements and characteristics of the nuclear reactor materials are described. The physical size of components and the arrangement of components change, but the basic technologies required are generally the same, irrespective of the total power output. With these technologies, mission planners can select any power conversion technology to generate any level of required electrical output based on an appropriately scaled long life reliable, safe SP-100 nuclear heat source.