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Micro Nuclear Reactor
Last month a lot of blogs posted about a "micro nuclear reactor" supposedly developed by Toshiba. It promised to provide dirt-cheap energy, and was also small enough to fit in a basement. The story was first posted on nextenergynews.com:

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.


The idea of everyone putting a nuclear reactor in their basement sounded a bit dicey, and a lot of people were suspicious. Sure enough, the story has turned out to be a hoax. Rod Adams, of the Atomic Insights Blog, contacted Toshiba, who confirmed that they're not building an apartment-sized nuclear reactor. However, it's not clear who was the source of the hoax. Next Energy News perhaps?
Free EnergyTechnology
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 30, 2008


The reactor in a submarine isn't much bigger

Mo in NJ
Posted by mmarvi  on  Wed Jan 30, 2008  at  01:44 PM
Are you SURE Toshiba isn't just CLAIMING it's not developing the reactor to throw us off the trail...
Posted by Christopher  in  Warm, sunny Florida  on  Wed Jan 30, 2008  at  06:15 PM
"The reactor in a submarine isn't much bigger."

About forty feet in length and thirty in diameter on the smaller ones, if I remember right (though the NR-1 might have a smaller one than that). Considerably larger than the supposed Toshiba model. Also they're somewhere over a thousand tons, with about a hundred tons of lead shielding.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Jan 30, 2008  at  06:49 PM
There are smaller ones. Many universities have research reactors about the size of a small dumpster.
Posted by mmarvi  on  Wed Jan 30, 2008  at  07:16 PM
Anyone remember a movie done by Michael Nesmith (Monkees fame) titled "Elephant Parts"? There was a neat vignette in it about "Tactical Neighborhood Nuclear Devices" and showed the benefits of their use on noisy neighbors with too smoky barbecues.
Posted by KDP  in  Maidll, OK USA  on  Thu Jan 31, 2008  at  12:32 PM
When atomic power was first being touted for generating electric power, it was claimed that it would be SO cheap that it would not be worth it to meter it going to homes or businesses. It was supposed to replace all other forms of generating electric power. Did I miss something along the way? I'mstill waiting.

On a related note. Idi Amin was reputed to have said that he proposed eliminating conventional weapons and giving everyone a cheap atomic weapon. I don't remember if it was just nations or if he wanted the issue to go to lower governmental levels as well. Imagine (insert your "bad guy" here) with cheap atomic weapons.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Thu Jan 31, 2008  at  07:07 PM
lol chris, i like your madlib style bad guy bit there... so we can choose who scares us most!
Posted by JoJOdd  on  Sat Feb 02, 2008  at  04:24 AM
JoJOdd, when I was MUCH younger, I was a huge fan of MAD Magazine. Their style has changed and doesn't suit me anynore. So I thank you for the compliment. Does MAD even do Madlobs anymore?
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Sat Feb 02, 2008  at  12:27 PM
Uh, that was supposed to be Madlibs not Madlobs. Sorry.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Sat Feb 02, 2008  at  12:28 PM
A well thought-out hoax . . The specifications of operation are similar to the Alaskan reactor that Toshiba tendered for recently, only much smaller of course.

Christopher, did you read a letter in TIME magazine soem years back when the US and other s first objected to North Korea's nuclear wepaons program from a guy in IIRC Beunos Aires? he concluded that it was a case of big countries trying to keep a useful monopoly to themselves, and he hoped that eventually every country would be able to afford atomic wepaons of their own.
Posted by DFStuckey  in  Auckland New Zealand  on  Fri Feb 15, 2008  at  03:05 AM
I was a reactor operator in the Navy. Sub reactors aren't that large, unless you include the shielding, rings of poly and lead. The ancilliary equipment (pumps, pressurizer, valves and steam generator) take up alot more space. But that's a pressurized water reactor not Lithium moderated. Originally, the Navy used liquid Sodium as coolant/moderator until they discovered the reaction to water liquid sodium has LOL.
Posted by darren  on  Mon Nov 17, 2008  at  03:48 PM
Darren, thanks for the insight; As one of Rickenbacker's followers, are they still as enormously strict about safety protocols on boats as when they stsrted, or more so?

I knew about some of the required plumbing on submarines - The reason why a conventional boat is so much more stealthy than a nuke is the conventionals actually run on batteries underwater and the pumps of the liquid metal coolant run constantly and create a sonar 'beacon'.
Posted by D F Stuckey  in  Auckland New Zealand  on  Mon Nov 17, 2008  at  05:30 PM
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