Hyperion Power Generation plans to build one of its first modular nuclear devices at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River test site in South Carolina, according to a statement by Hyperion on Monday morning. The DOE Savannah River site is a nuclear reservation that was built in the 1950′s to develop nuclear materials, but is now mostly used to work on nuclear cleanup processes and nuclear research.
Hyperion, founded in 2007 and based in Denver, has been developing a “hot-tub-sized” nuclear battery that can be buried deep beneath the ground and used by off-grid communities, islands, governments in remote regions, and industry, like remote oil and gas companies. Each “nuclear-in-a-box” devices can produce 25 MW and last 10 years without refueling — after 10 years the unit is picked up and replaced with another (not refueled onsite).
The startup has been working with Los Alamos National Laboratory, and has an exclusive license to commercialize this technology from the lab through the tech transfer program. Hyperion still needs to get licensing from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to commercialize its nuclear device, but building its first device at the DOE test site is a step in that direction.
Hyperion is backed by investment firm Altira Group, and counts Lady Barbara Judge, the former chairman of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, as Chairman.
Hyperion is one of a few startups that have been developing both modular and new types of nuclear technology. NuScale is another small nuclear reactor maker, and NuScale recently brought in nuclear engineering company Fluor as a backer. TerraPower is also a nuclear startup, which is working on a traveling-wave reactor nuclear design, and which counts Bill Gates as an investor.