Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 153 / Number 1 / May 2006 / Pages 90-92
There is a growing need for very small nuclear reactors for space applications and as portable high-intensity neutron sources. This technical note investigates the question of what is the smallest possible thermal reactor. It was found that the smallest reactor is a spherically shaped solution of 242mAm(NO3)3 in water. The weight of such a reactor is 4.95 kg with 0.7 kg of 242mAm nuclear fuel. The radius of the reactor in this case is 9.6 cm.