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Report No.
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Design study of nuclear power systems for deep space explorers, 2; Electricity supply capabilities of solid cores

Yamaji, Akifumi; Takizuka, Takakazu; Nabeshima, Kunihiko; Iwamura, Takamichi; Akimoto, Hajime

This study has been carried out in series with the other study, "Criticality of Low Enriched Uranium Fueled Core" to explore the possibilities of a solid reactor electricity generation system for supplying propulsion power of a deep space explorer. The design ranges of three different systems are determined with respect to the electric power, the radiator mass, and the operating temperatures of the heat-pipes and thermoelectric converters. The three systems are the solid thermal conduction system (STC), core surface cooling with heat-pipe system (CSHP), and the core direct cooling with heat-pipe system (CDHP). The evaluated electric powers widely cover the 1 to 100 kW range, which had long been claimed to be the range that lacked the power sources in space. Therefore, the concepts shown by this study may lead to a breakthrough of the human activities in space. The working temperature ranges of the main components, namely the heat-pipes and thermoelectric converters, are wide and cover down to relatively low temperatures. This is desirable from the viewpoints of broadening the choices, reducing the development needs, and improving the reliabilities of the devices. Hence, it is advantageous for an early establishment of the concept.

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