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Rolls-Royce One of the Big Five to Build the First U.S. Advanced Nuclear Microreactor

Back in 2019, the Department of Defense (DoD) launched a competition for developing a pioneering nuclear microreactor. Now, the final official team in charge of bringing the nuclear reactor prototype to life has been confirmed.
Rolls-Royce joined the Pele Project for building the first advanced nuclear microreactor in the U.S. 7 photos
Project Pele - Nuclear MicroreactorProject Pele - Nuclear MicroreactorProject Pele - Nuclear MicroreactorProject Pele - Nuclear MicroreactorProject Pele - Nuclear MicroreactorProject Pele - Nuclear Microreactor
Rolls-Royce recently confirmed that it will be working on delivering the first advanced nuclear microreactor for the DoD, together with BWXT, Northrop Grumman, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Torch Technologies. Pele Project is the name of this game-changing endeavor that will most likely pave the way for broader use of nuclear energy across the U.S.

The goal is to switch to zero-carbon energy, which is needed not just for the environment but also in order to diminish the dependency on fossil fuels and traditional suppliers. This microreactor concept is unique because it’s transportable.

The system’s components will be organized in modules, using 20-foot-long (6 meters) shipping containers. The modules can then be deployed anywhere, via road, rail, air, or sea. Once they arrive at the destination, it only takes 72 hours for the reactor system to be assembled on-site and to become operational, according to BWXT. When it’s time to shut down and be transported somewhere else, it takes less than seven days to complete the process, including cooling down and disconnecting the system.

This is a high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) powered by TRISO fuel, which is a type of high-assay, low-enriched uranium fuel. BWXT says that the fuel was successfully tested at temperatures that are far greater than those at which the future reactor will operate. The system’s power level will range between 1 and 5 MWe.

The Pele Project team is gearing up to deliver the full-scale transportable nuclear microreactor prototype by 2024. Once completed, the prototype will be further tested at the National Idaho Laboratory. It will then officially become the first advanced nuclear microreactor in the U.S.

press release

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