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Simple, Reliable Space Power System Demonstrated
A team of engineers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, the NASA Glenn Research Center, and National Security Technologies LLC (NSTec) has tested a new concept for a reliable nuclear reactor that could be used on space flights. The research team demonstrated the first use of a heat pipe to cool a small nuclear reactor and power a Stirling engine at the Nevada National Security Site?s Device Assembly Facility. The Demonstration Using Flattop Fissions (DUFF) experiment produced 24 watts of electricity. Heat pipe technology was invented at Los Alamos in 1963, and DUFF is the first demonstration of a space nuclear reactor system to produce electricity in the United States since 1965. The experiment confirms basic nuclear reactor physics and heat transfer for a simple, reliable space power system.
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