If this is for real… Anyone have more info on this?

Toshiba Builds 100x Smaller Micro Nuclear Reactor
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.



  1. Shubee says:

    When nuclear reactors are outlawed, then only outlaws will have nuclear reactors.

  2. tallwookie says:

    Chuck Norris

  3. moss says:

    Bravo!

  4. Improbus says:

    The article doesn’t say what it uses for fuel and it reads like a PR blurb.

  5. Eideard says:

    I’ll try to find updates. This sounds like the 4S prototype Toshiba offered to build for an isolated Alaskan village for free – 3 years ago. Don’t know if they ever got past the politicians.

    One neat collateral benefit was that Toshiba would set it up for the river water used for cooling – to have a certain amount processed for hydrogen to use in fuel cells.

  6. Eideard says:

    Target for Galena, Alaska firing up is 2010 – if everything proceeds OK. Construction is modular – float it in on a barge and drop it on a padsite.

    Here is a detailed prospectus, drawings, construction detail, etc.:

    http://www.utnl.jp/~rohonbu/PBNC/1-1.pdf

  7. RTaylor says:

    Toshiba is in the nuclear power plant business in Japan.

  8. Dugger says:

    I wonder what would happen if I hook this thing up to my new flux capacitor?

  9. Shubee says:

    #4. Nuclear reactors can only run on uranium 235 and plutonium. Since these elements aren’t available at your local Home Depot, I suppose that the personal reactor you buy from Toshiba will contain a lifetime supply.

  10. the answer says:

    I remember reading somewhere that the ultimate plan for nuke energy in the 50’s and 60’s was to have every house outfitted with a small nuke plant such as this so they would be self reliant for electricity. Also completely sealed with a “lifetime” supple of uranium. Imagine that breaking down in your household. Not even the Maytag man would come out.

  11. MikeR says:

    Lemme see… 200 kilowatts for 40 years, mutter, mutter…carry the 1, at a cost of 0.05 dollars per kilowatt-hour = $3,504,000. Is the purchase price???

  12. JPV says:

    Will Israel try and nuke me if I buy one of these?

  13. flyingelvis says:

    it’s real. I have one at my summer beach cottage.

  14. GregA says:

    After I save up enough cash to get a USSubs luxury submarine (http://www.ussubs.com/submarines/phoenix_1000.php3) , I am soooo getting one of these reactors for it. I will have the first private nuclear submarine in history!!!

  15. Ron Larson says:

    Sounds like a Pebble Bed Reactor. A South African designed super simple and much safer nuclear reactor.

  16. OvenMaster says:

    “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.”
    Sign me up… I’m paying 13 cents per kWh!

  17. GF says:

    I wonder if the HOA will be responsible for maintenance when they start installing these in subdivisions.

    Love the line: Proliferation resistant fuel.

  18. GregA says:

    #16,

    Someone flame me if I am wrong about this, but it seems like all that soil around the reactor will have been under neutron flux for 40 years as well, and there will be all sorts of strange isotopes in that dirt. Sooo… What do you do with all that radioactive dirt after you dig that 40 year old reactor out of the ground?

  19. Cyberrod says:

    Here is another artical about this technology:

    http://tinyurl.com/2w5le3

    [Please use TinyUrl.com for overly long URLs. – ed.]

  20. moss says:

    #19 different from the Toshiba. They also refer to their reactor as a nuclear battery, though.

    Bloomberg updates on politics:

    http://tinyurl.com/2sbqhp

    The NRC stumbles ahead basing their “deliberations” on data from a half-century ago – as modified by Homeland Insecurity.

    They want the Alaskan village to fund 34 security guards for the facility. They must expect Osama to send someone to steal it and drop it on Crawford, TX.

    One-off pricing would be ~$25 million. Economies of scale would bring that down to ~5 million or less. Note that this prototype ouputs 5 times the needs of Galena. Toshiba hopes competitors and demand will show a need for units 20-40% the size of the 4S.

  21. Jack Flanders says:

    #16…no flame. It’s a valid concern. The idea though is that the entire thing is in one self contained box. There NO problem/trick in containing/shielding the thing. That’s easy. The only PROBLEM ever in a reactor is what happens if the shielding fails (blows up like Chernobyl, leaks out like steam coolant in 3 Mile Island, etc). Assuming your containment holds, no big deal. Since these are not fuel rod cooled designs, just ‘static’ based components, the only real concern is earthquakes, and how easy is it to dig up and refuel or dispose of when it’s done.

  22. Rob Alter says:

    From Alaska Journal

    http://tinyurl.com/3basxp

    [Please use TinyUrl.com for overly long URLs. – ed.]

  23. Steve says:

    Now Just shrink this thing a bit more … and Jam it into my car … BAM no more refueling !! HAHA!!

  24. Teajay says:

    Where’s the pilot light?

  25. AdmFubar says:

    Well it is the perfect size for my 3 kilometer island site…

    sure it is failsafe… and the titanic was unsinkable…

  26. Chris McMahon says:

    200 kilowatts (~268HP)? Is that right? Seems pretty low powered to me. Equivalent to an average sedan’s engine.

    It would make in interesting power source for private motor yachts, assuming the shielding isn’t 40ft of concrete.

  27. B. Dog says:

    I think I read about that in the print version of Popular Science. I looked for it in their online mag, but didn’t see it. Another energy technology that they covered recently is a new solar cell technology. There is a new manufacturing plant with the capacity to produce more solar panels than the rest of the panel producing factories in the U.S. combined. They started selling the new panels today.

  28. Copper says:

    Where is the TM? if this was real there would be TM or (R) on Micro Nuclear (which doesnt have an entry at uspto.gov btw). I guess hoax.

  29. Angel H. Wong says:

    Apple’s version is better, although it costs 3 times more than the Toshiba’s version and it needs you to slide your credit card on the scanner every time you want to run a diagnostics on the system AND it costs about $2 per kilowatt hour but it’s prettier than any nuclear reactor made by the competition.

  30. The 200kw range is interesting in that it is much more appropriate for manufacturing facility or similar. Most homes would find a constant 25kw to be overkill. I live in a Maine, and am a volunteer firefighter as well as technology consultant – which means if we lose power I’m not around to crank up a generator to keep the servers running — I’m on a fire truck dealing with whatever took the power out. I went with a 12kw LP Gas fired unit that is automatic start, and it runs the house just fine – though I haven’t hooked in the electric dryer or stove. We do not have electric heat (a bad plan if you live in New England) are rarely need air conditioning up here.

    Putting in neighborhood sized units like this though, would allow for great load balanced use, be centralized enough for municipal oversight and maintenance to make sure the cooling and shielding are managed properly, and would still be local generation, avoiding the huge loss of energy in transmission from current plans to local use now. Sounds like a good win to me.

    Another great use for this would be regional hydrogen cracking plants, which could much more easily keep a local distribution network (think service stations) with hydrogen.

    Cracking hydrogen is costly in terms of energy use, but gives you a way to convert the form of your nuke powered energy into the more “portal” form of hydrogen for your car. Nice.

    Further out, electric vehicles that use big capacitors rather than batteries (which do nearly the same thing) would allow VERY fast charge at service stations, but by definition would then require this kind of power on demand. This is the sort of unit that could supply local service stations with enough power to handle that need.

    I can’t wait for this to go forward.


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