Radiant, a California-based company founded by former SpaceX engineers, has received a $ 1.2 million investment to further develop and manufacture compact nuclear reactors capable of providing electricity to remote settlements and military bases. They are positioned as a replacement for diesel generators.
Deciding that the ideas intended for the development of Mars would be more useful for the population of the Earth, the company set about creating a budget microreactor that could fit in a regular shipping container. The megawatt model will be capable of powering up to 1,000 homes and is expected to use helium for cooling instead of water.
The main places of use are remote settlements, zones of natural or other disasters, and military bases. The reactor is said to be capable of providing power to the base for eight years before nuclear fuel runs out. This will not only avoid harmful emissions from conventional diesel generators – there will be no need for a regular supply of diesel fuel bases. Transportation of fuel will be needed, but only to provide transport with an internal combustion engine until all equipment switches to alternative power sources.
According to Radiant, the company’s fuel does not melt and can withstand higher temperatures than conventional reactor fuel cells. The use of helium significantly reduces the risks of corrosion, refrigerant boiling and contamination. The company says it has patented ideas related to refueling reactors and efficiently converting reactor heat.
Radiant has joined a fairly large number of companies already developing compact nuclear reactors. Only a small number of them specialize in truly “micro-solutions”. However, no one has yet succeeded in creating a truly compact, inexpensive and long-lasting alternative to diesel generators.