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Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.
The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate the reaction. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.
Toshiba expects to install the first reactor in Japan in 2008 and to begin marketing the new system in Europe and America in 2009.
This would be a bit too big for cars, maybe even for an 18 wheeler, but if they can get to a nano or pico release, that might actually fit into a car. Wouldn't be nice to drive for, say, 10 years and never need to refuel?
I think it's actually quite a bit of leap. As far as I know, only a few big icebreakers and some subs or other military ships come with a nuclear reactor, and they are significantly more powerful than 200 kW. In many cases, there isn't any good alternative, and in the case of the military, money doesn't matter much.
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