Rolls-Royce plc, an aerospace and defense company, has joined a consortium of technology corporations involved in the so-called Pele project. It is funded by the US Department of Defense and its task is to create a transportable gas-cooled nuclear microreactor on TRi-structural fuel from isotropic particles (TRISO).
The high-temperature gas-cooled reactor created as part of the Pele project should be placed in a standard 20—foot dry cargo container (length — 6058 m, width – 2438 m, height – 2591 m). Thus, it can be easily transported by any type of transport. The planned output power is from one to five megawatts. Deployment and launch will take about 72 hours, and stopping, cooling, and preparing for transportation will take less than a week.
Microreactors can be used where the organization of an uninterrupted supply of fossil fuels has traditionally been required. At the same time, they can be used not only at the facilities of the Ministry of Defense, but also in cases of man-made and natural disasters, for power generation in hard-to-reach locations, or in places where various environmental initiatives are being implemented. The first full-size working prototype of the microreactor is promised to be built by 2024. Then its testing will begin at the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory.
At this stage alone, it is expected to spend about $300 million. The project will involve 120 specialists from BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC, plus employees from Northrop Grumman, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks, and Torch Technologies, Inc.