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Accessing Icy World Oceans using Lattice Confinement Fusion Fast FissionExploring the oceans of icy moons and planets requires a robust robotic probe powered by an energy source that can operate under icy world ocean conditions and be self-contained. We propose a non-fissile, compact, scalable nuclear energy source to electrically power untethered, autonomous probes to melt or bore through icy world crusts. The probe can be used for planetary (i.e. Pluto, lunar (i.e., Europa), or asteroid exploration (i.e. Ceres) where ice caps are encountered. This new approach may yield a variable output fission power source with a higher performance than 238Pu and a non-fissile alternative to a highly enriched uranium (HEU) core. This approach saves uranium enrichment expense, and both HEU and 238Pu security and launch safety costs. The reactor will produce electrical power with thermal waste heat to melt through the ice crust with possible sonic assistance. This paper will introduce the hybrid fusion-fission reactor concept, explore the potential for and benefits of this new type of nuclear reactor, and discuss the technical approach to developing this new technology.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Theresa L Benyo
(Glenn Research Center Cleveland, Ohio, United States)
Lawrence P. Forsley
(JWK Corporation (United States) Annandale, Virginia, United States)
Date Acquired
February 15, 2022
Subject Category
Energy Production And Conversion
Meeting Information
Meeting: Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space
Location: Cleveland, OH
Country: US
Start Date: May 8, 2022
End Date: May 12, 2022
Sponsors: American Nuclear Society
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 847801.
Distribution Limits
Portions of document may include copyright protected material.
Technical Review
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