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Former SpaceX engineers design nuclear microreactor as a ‘clean energy alternative to fossil fuels’



Governments around the world are seeing energy security as a priority to power their industries, businesses, homes and offices. But there are limited sources of energy and the technology to harness renewable energy is still decades away from widespread adoption. American company Radiant is trying to meet this challenge by developing portable nuclear micro reactors. It is raising funds to design a reactor that can be used where other forms of power generation, including diesel gensets, are not practical. Radiant is founded by engineers who worked with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

This technology is expected to enable rapid supply of electricity to people in remote and disaster areas as needed. Microreactors can be monitored remotely and centralized refueling, maintenance enables microgrids without any lasting effects.

Radiant says each unit of its microreactor delivers more than 1MW of power and can operate for eight years, providing enough power to support more than 1,000 homes per unit. The company calls its design a “clean energy alternative to fossil fuels” for military and commercial uses.

Radiant said last month that it has raised $1.2 million (about Rs 8.97 crore) from angel investors. “Radiant is developing the first power generation system that can go anywhere,” company co-founder Doug Bernauer said in an interview last month.

Bernauer, a former SpaceX engineer who worked on developing energy sources for an eventual Mars colony, said he thinks microreactors hold the most promise of supplying electricity for settlements on Mars. During his research, he said, he saw an immediate opportunity to use the technology on Earth, which resulted in the founding of Radiant with two other SpaceX collaborators.

Diesel has long been the fuel of choice for running gensets in areas away from the conventional power grid. This brings forth both logistical challenges and environmental concerns. Another major problem is the transportation of fuel. Radiant’s microreactors have the potential to change the energy generation process for the better.

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