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U.S. Begins Quest for a Lunar Nuclear Reactor

July 30, 2020

What will it realistically take to ready a fission surface power system (FSP)—a small (maybe modular) nuclear reactor—for deployment on the moon by 2027? That’s essentially what Battelle Energy Alliance LLC (BEA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are asking the private sector in an interesting request for information (RFI) issued on July 23.

According to the RFI, because space exploration is going further and spanning longer periods of time, NASA has identified a need for a lunar FSP system to provide reliable, durable, and resilient energy for an installation on the moon, and it is pushing forward on efforts to develop one for launch readiness “no later than” Dec. 31, 2026, under the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Technology Demonstration Mission Program Office’s Nuclear Fission Power Project.

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