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Y-12 to help create fuel for NASA’s long-range space exploration missions


The NNSA Production Office (NPO) at Y-12 recently entered an agreement earlier this year with NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, to support the design of a small nuclear-powered reactor with potential to lead to small fission power reactors for future space exploration missions.

For the first phase of the project, Y-12 will research materials and manufacturing processes for a physics demonstration of a kilowatt-range nuclear reactor, known as project Kilopower, using an enriched uranium-molybdenum metallic fuel core and a lithium-hydride shield. The Kilopower concept was a 2013 R&D 100 Award winner for proof-of-principle experiments performed at the National Criticality Experiments Research Center in Nevada led by Los Alamos National Laboratory in collaboration with NASA Glenn and National Security Technologies.

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NNSA Blog 

About the photo:
Y-12 Development’s Roland Seals explains Y‑12’s infrared heating capabilities to NASA and DOE Office of Nuclear Energy officials. Photo by Brett Pate.