Usefulness of Space Power Research to Ground-Based Nuclear Reactor Systems

T-RCED-89-64: Published: Sep 30, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1989.

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GAO discussed the applicability of the Department of Energy's (DOE) space nuclear power systems research to development of advanced terrestrial nuclear power systems. GAO noted that: (1) DOE, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Defense's Strategic Defense Initiative Organization are participating in two programs to research and develop space nuclear power systems; (2) it surveyed government and industry experts on the applicability of space nuclear power research to terrestrial power generation; (3) survey respondents believed that space nuclear power research could prove useful in the areas of fuel and fuel systems, materials, heat transport, instrumentation, control methodology, safety, reliability, and modelling and analysis techniques; and (4) respondents also identified technical and institutional limitations on the technology that could be transferred from space nuclear power generation to terrestrial power generation.

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