a Little time? At the end of text there is a summary.

With high-tech wants to ensure the U.S. military its Superiority on the battlefields of the future. So we developed a powerful mobile radar systems such as the “G/ATOR”-System of the Marine Corps and conducts research on laser weapons such as the “MEHEL”System of the Army, which has been tested in the past year, on the troop exercise area in the upper Palatinate grafenwoehr. To get, for example, approaching drones from the sky.

A critical issue: The technology is extremely power-consuming, so the next Version of the laser-based defense system should require a power output of 50 kilowatts per installation. The power is classically supplied of generators and the need, in turn, Diesel. Just in front of the is not always easy to obtain, supply convoys are trucks with a Tank – for instance in Afghanistan – are attractive targets for attackers.

As a possible solution for this Problem in Washington now to mobile nuclear reactors to supply power in-combat research. The technique could also come in the aftermath of natural disasters, it says. The Strategic Capabilities Office of the U.S. Department of defense has released this a few days ago a call in the network. Therefore, the government wants to encourage the development of up to three technical concepts for a Mini-reactor. This should provide between one and ten megawatts of power, and not more than 40 tons.

core is “physically impossible”

Transported to the planned System by Truck, ship or C-17 heavy lift aircraft. For cooling only the ambient air is to be used, the System shall be passive, i.e. no active intervention need. At all: the operation of the reactor should only require the least personal effort. Therefore, should be for normal operation, no soldiers necessary for the Monitoring of the overall system of “minimum manning”.

Within three days, the claim, the System at the destination application capable of removal within a week can be done. It means that the reactor could, if necessary, provide three years on electricity, without fuel rods must be replaced. But probably the most important: The system should be so designed that a core melt in various scenarios of disaster “is physically impossible” and the System will automatically shut down the system.

The uranium, as a fuel is provided, according to the planning, a higher degree of Enrichment than in the case of conventional nuclear fuel rods. The fissile Material should be in the Form of tiny globules, TRISO called, which consist of several layers of uranium oxide and graphite, and carbide. This fuel was used in Germany at the now-shutdown experimental nuclear power plant in Jülich, where it had several times given to interference cases.

Tests in the Arctic and Antarctica

Also if the Plan of the U.S. military may sound at first hearing to be unrealistic – small nuclear reactors for use in the field has given it several times already. On U -, and ice-breakers are boats and they were used, but also to the power supply in the country. The technique was tested in the sixties under the Greenland Ice sheet in the so-called Camp Century. (More about the Operation of the “Iceworm” read here.) There is since a nuclear contamination problem, although much of the technology was reduced.

also in Fort Greely in Alaska, the Sundance Air Force Station in Wyoming, or the McMurdo research station in Antarctica, small reactors have been built – and even on a ship in the area of the Panama canal. The Soviet Union also used similar technology. Russia has developed a floating a 35-Megawatt nuclear reactor. One of them, the “Akademik Lomonosov”, is currently being hazards for use in the East of Siberia.


The U.S. military has dealt in the past few years, once again with the theme of the Mini-nuclear power plants. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency had taken in 2011, at least $ 150 million to promote the technology in the Hand. The program was discontinued after several years. In 2016, there had been a study by the Defense Science Board on the subject, and last October, had involved the Army in one paper.

The reactor manufacturers, Westinghouse has presented together with the US Department of energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a concept for a small reactor called the “mega power” and developed with the eVinci parallel even a private Design.

Mini-NUCLEAR power plant instead of Mega-Meiler AP/Imaginechina micro-power plants: attack of the atomic gnomes

the U.S. space Agency Nasa is interested in small nuclear reactors. You could for example, provide a human Outpost on the moon, when solar panels can provide due to darkness, no energy. Also in the civilian sector will be discussed again on the construction of micro-nuclear power plants, but also in Europe.

Several concepts exist, the developers advertise that they are cheaper and safer than the existing technology. Built only a few plants, such as in China, India, and Argentina have been but so far.

Summary: several times the U.S. army has dealt with a Mini-nuclear power plants. After the first Tests in the sixties, the technology for a long time played no role, now, the military can use and check again. It comes to develop power supply systems for use in combat zones. So to save hard to be protective convoys of Diesel trucks. In addition, the reactors energy for particularly electricity-intensive new weapons could deliver systems. If the NUCLEAR power plant will be built with this in fact, is not yet clear.


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.