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A Martian surface nuclear reactor (MSNR) concept is under development by China Institute of Atomic Energy. The MSNR operates in the fast spectrum, using uranium dioxide fuel pins with sodium or lithium heat pipes for cooling. Stirling engines convert the energy transferred via heat pipes into electricity. Thermal power not converted by the stirling engines to electricity is removed by sodium heat pipes to the radiator. Reactivity is controlled by control drums. In order to minimize the overall weight of the system, Martian earth is used to build shield to protect humans from ionizing radiation from the core. This configuration has the advantages of compact, light weight, safe, and no single point of failure. The overall system efficient is 25% ~ 30%. The MSNR can produce reliable and safe 40 ~ 50 kWe for up to 8 years on Mars. More work is undergoing.
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go back to reference El-Genk, M.S., Tournier, J.-M., 2004. SAIRS – scalable AMTEC integrated reactor space power system. Prog. Nucl. Energ. 45. El-Genk, M.S., Tournier, J.-M., 2004. SAIRS – scalable AMTEC integrated reactor space power system. Prog. Nucl. Energ. 45.
- A Small Nuclear Reactor Concept for Martian Surface Use
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