Thanks to Los Alamos research labs, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb, Miniature nuclear reactors that can power up 20,000 houses will be available commercially in five years time.
The new nuclear reactor is a little larger than a hot tub. It is totally isolated and, apart from refueling every 7 to 10 years, needs no human interaction or maintenance. It contains no moving parts and it can be covered in concrete and then buried while in operation (and excavated for refueling).
The U.S. government licensed the technology to Arizona-based company, Hyperion, which plans to release it commercially within 5 years. "Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world", Hyperion CEO, John Deal, told The Guardian.
The reactor will output 27 MW. The reactor's produces power 100% of the time, which makes its total power output more than 15 times what the world's most powerful 400-foot tall 5 MW wind turbine will produce. The reactor costs around 25 million dollars and its fuel will not be enriched to weapons-grade.
Hyperion has already received more than 100 orders from both the oil and electricity industries, as well as developing nations. "We now have a six-year waiting list," says Deal. "We are in talks with developers in the Cayman Islands, Panama, and the Bahamas". Hyperion plans to eventually have three factories mass-producing the reactors, a step which will further reduce costs.