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Hyperion Signs First Customer for Nuclear Pods

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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.”

16 Responses to “Hyperion Signs First Customer for Nuclear Pods”

  1. Hyperion’s HPM pod may not be science fiction but it is far from being a product that can be manufactured, let alone shipped and installed. Hyperion June 2013 date is overly agressive, given NRC has qualified it as a fast reactor. It will take several years for NRC to come up on the learning curve with fast reactors before it can stamp its seal of approval on HPM. What I saw on slide 17 of Hyperion HPM powerpoint presentation is a conceptual design, and to get to a real detailed power plant design in less than 3 years will be a feat of engineering and project management. And that is without asking how HPM nuclear fuel (now enriched to near 20%) will be manufactured and what are the issues with regulators there? Will Hyperion has sufficient financing to bring HPM to the market and get it approved by the NRC, I do not know. What happens with investors and Hyperion’s business case if NRC date is 2018 (this is probably an agressive date even) and not 2013


    Great! Good source of energy, clean and nonhazardous! IAEA oversight will be the key! Member Nations need to sign up for its usage and purchase.

  3. ^^^ and here go the nuclear haters again. For some reason some people don’t seem to understand that electricity powering their homes has to come from somewhere. The current BANANA concept ( Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) is plain stupid and is one of the major cost rising influences on nuclear as well as wind power.

    The ‘we’ll destroy the environment for x years’ rhetoric is bullsh*t – read the wikipedia entry on Chernobyl and see how lands deemes unsafe for ‘the future 600 years’ are being resettled by farmers 30 years later.

  4. Ronald Wagner

    Great way to destroy the environment for thousands of years. Just distribute nuclear waste all over.

    Also a great idea that could be very profitable. Just sell it to terrorists, with some extra fuel. They can then pulverize it and scatter it from the top of tall buildings.

  5. I’m toying with electric RV design possibilities. I hope they can come up with a version that’s less powerful and more compact. The prospect of having something like this on board means only having to fill up once every 5 years. Trains could easily use this?

    Of course I’m seeing in the picture on their site that needs lots of water, so I think it’s a long burning heat source for a steam turbine, which I assume is separate, instead of being anything in the “battery” family.

  6. Brilliant idea ! They should have come up with this 50years ago. Just imagine how much coal would not have been burned ! The radioactive materials are under ground. If not serviced, the ‘stuff’ can stay their for ever – after all it is mined out of the ground in the first place :-)

  7. bob bobberson

    This is a great idea. You can put that thing into a big truck and drive that thing around for years.

    My only question is if after the 5-7 years is it “inert”? A lot can happen in 5-7 years. What if there’s a war/sandstorm/earthquake and you can’t easily get back to it easily? Can you leave it for 10 years with no ill effects and dig it up later? Personally I think it makes far more sense to place one of these on a ship or barge and export the power for a few years and return it, replace the softball, and set sail again. Place one of these on a transport ship and have it use nuclear instead of diesel.

    Is the nuclear material enough or the same type to make a bomb? I seriously doubt the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission would allow you to export the modules if they could make even a dirty bomb from it.
    I assume it won’t go anywhere and the process to dig it up would be slow enough that you can see it and track it from a satellite.

  8. Question: if you put a nuclear reactor in the ground far from traditional municipal services, who will be sure to collect the ‘softball sized’ waste every 5-7 years? For less developed (and less stable) countries, couldn’t it potentially be extremely difficult to keep track of these things and be sure the waste is disposed of properly? Seems to be a big question mark on a continent like Africa where there is often political instability

    I’m sure these are questions Hyperion has thought of, I’d just like to know the proposed answers. If a place like Myanmar is willing to restrict foreign aid from reaching it’s citizens wouldn’t they be even more willing to let nuclear waste build up underground?