Basic Research and Development Effort to Design a Micro Nuclear Power Plant for Brazilian Space Applications

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L. N. F. Guimares; G. P. Camillo; G. M. Placco; A., G. Barrios Jr; J. A. Do Nascimento; E. M. Borges; P. D. De Castro Lobo (2011), JBIS, 64, 194-199

Refcode: 2011.64.194
Keywords: Space nuclear reactor, Closed Brayton cycle loop, heat-electricity conversion.

For some years the Nuclear Energy Division of the Institute for Advanced Studies is conducting the TERRA (Portuguese abbreviation for advanced fast reactor technology) project. This project aims at research and development of the key issues related with nuclear energy applied to space technology. The purpose of this development is to allow future Brazilian space explorers the access of a good and reliable heat, power and/or propulsion system based on nuclear energy. Efforts are being made in fuel and nuclear core design, designing and building a closed Brayton cycle loop for energy conversion, heat pipe systems research for passive space heat rejection, developing computational programs for thermal loop safety analysis and other technology that may be used to improve efficiency and operation. Currently there is no specific mission that requires these technology development efforts; therefore, there is a certain degree of freedom in the organization and development efforts. This paper will present what has been achieved so far, what is the current development status, where efforts are heading and a proposed time table to meet development objectives.

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