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Out of This World: Westinghouse Design Takes Nuclear Power to Outer Space

Out of This World: Westinghouse Design Takes Nuclear Power to Outer Space

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NASA, in partnership with Battelle Energy Alliance, contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL), has selected Westinghouse Electric Company to provide an initial design concept for a fission surface power system that could be ready to launch to the Moon by the end of the decade.

NASA and DOE selected three firms to prepare such design concepts to advance space nuclear technologies. The 12-month contracts are valued at US$5 million each and will fund the development of initial design concepts for a 40-kilowatt class fission power system planned to last at least 10 years in the lunar environment. Westinghouse Government Services LLC, a member of the Westinghouse family of companies, is partnered with Aerojet Rocketdyne and supported by Astrobotic for this effort.

Fission systems are relatively small, lightweight, and reliable, with the potential to enable continuous power regardless of location and other natural environmental conditions. A demonstration of such systems on the Moon would pave the way for long-duration missions on the Moon and Mars.

“Westinghouse has a rich history of delivering innovative nuclear technology that provides safe, clean and reliable carbon-free power to even the most remote communities, so we are honored to help create groundbreaking technology for outer space,” said David Durham, President, Westinghouse Energy Systems. “Westinghouse is committed to our partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne and eager to begin our design for a fission surface power system.”

“The Fission Surface Power project is a very achievable first step toward the United States establishing nuclear power on the Moon,” said Idaho National Laboratory Director John Wagner. “I look forward to seeing what each of these teams will accomplish.”

Westinghouse Electric Company is shaping the future of carbon-free energy by providing safe, innovative nuclear technologies to utilities globally. Westinghouse supplied the world’s first commercial pressurized water reactor in 1957 and the company’s technology is the basis for nearly one-half of the world’s operating nuclear plants. Over 135 years of innovation makes Westinghouse the preferred partner for advanced technologies covering the complete nuclear energy life cycle. For more information, visit www.westinghousenuclear.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Idaho National Laboratory

Battelle Energy Alliance manages INL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. INL is the nation’s center for nuclear energy research and development, and also performs research in each of DOE’s strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and the environment. For more information, visit www.inl.gov. Follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.