The Anonymous Widower

Rolls-Royce To Play Key Role In US Department Of Defense Nuclear Microreactor Program

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

This paragraph outlines the program.

Rolls-Royce has been an industry leader in developing reliable sources of energy to help the Department of Defense and other customers be resilient using various energy sources. We pioneer cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions. We are excited to be part of the winning BWXT team along with Northrop Grumman, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Torch Technologies, and expand our capabilities in nuclear power generation.

There is also a link to this web press release on the BWXT web site, which is entitled BWXT to Build First Advanced Microreactor in United States.

This is the first paragraph.

BWX Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: BWXT) will build the first advanced nuclear microreactor in the United States under a contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO). The Project Pele full-scale transportable microreactor prototype will be completed and delivered in 2024 for testing at the Idaho National Laboratory.

These three paragraphs outline the design.

The high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) will operate at a power level between 1 and 5 MWe and will be transportable in commercially available shipping containers. It will be powered by TRISO fuel, a specific design of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel that can withstand extreme heat and has very low environmental risks.

The transportable reactor core and associated control system is designed to maintain safety under all conditions, including transitional conditions throughout transport. The fuel has been tested and verified to temperatures far exceeding the operating conditions of the reactor.

The transportable design consists of multiple modules that contain the microreactor’s components in 20-foot long, ISO-compliant CONEX shipping containers. The reactor is designed to be safely and rapidly moved by road, rail, sea or air. The entire reactor system is designed to be assembled on-site and operational within 72 hours. Shut down, cool down, disconnection and removal for transport is designed to occur in less than seven days.


  1. This Wikipedia entry describes the HTGR.
  2. One of the advantages of the HTGR is that it can be built in relatively small unit sizes.
  3. These reactors can also produce heat as well as electricity.
  4. Some designs of HTGR use both nuclear and gas-turbine technology.

The last paragraph of the specification, sounds to be particularly challenging.

There is also an Anglo-Dutch design from the Universities of Manchester and Delft, which is called a U-battery.

  • Their flyer is particularly informative.
  • Two of their supporters are BWXT and Rolls-Royce.

Do the two projects share technology?


August 2, 2022 - Posted by | Energy | , ,

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