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A lot of the responses to our posts on startup Hyperion Power Generation and its nuclear-in-a-box solution have questioned whether this is a serious solution or not. Well, folks, the company says it has signed up its first customer, TES Group, which it says is an investment company focusing on the energy sector in Central Eastern Europe.
We’re not familiar with TES’s investments, but the company has supposedly signed a “Letter of Intent” to purchase six Hyperion nuclear modules, which each cost roughly $25 million. Hyperion says the initial purchase could lead the way to a larger purchase of 50 nuclear devices — so that would be a massive purchase of $1.25 billion. The devices won’t be ready until 2013, so everyone has plenty of time to hash out all the inevitable regulatory and safety issues. (Anyone with more info on TES, let us know).
We had a lengthy phone conversation last week with Hyperion CEO John “Grizz” Deal, who said “this is not science fiction.” Deal defended his product and said the devices are very safe and will meet the important needs of developing nations that don’t have connections to a central electric grid. Deal said the nuclear devices are safer than traditional nuclear reactors because they don’t have moving parts and are more like a “nuclear battery.” The device also produces waste, “the size of a softball,” after five to seven years of use, Deal says.
The advantages of the modules are that it is cheaper, easier to deploy, quicker to get built and can reach remote areas where traditional reactors can’t be built. And this tech isn’t just nuclear pie in the sky: Other companies, like Toshiba, are also working on this type of technology, and Hyperion is backed by Altira Group, which has invested in GridPoint and Southwest Wind Power.
Though, Deal readily admits there are hurdles, from public perception to logistics, ahead for the technology: “This is idealistic, we’re the first to admit that.”