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The Smallest Thermal Nuclear Reactor

Y. Ronen, E. Fridman, E. Shwageraus

Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 153 / Number 1 / Pages 90-92

May 2006

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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.

 
 
 
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