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The US Administration has issued a new directive on the use of nuclear power and propulsion in space. Space Policy Directive-6 (SPD-6) establishes high-level goals, principles, roles and responsibilities, and a supporting roadmap demonstrating the nation's commitment to the safe, effective and responsible use of space nuclear power and propulsion (SNPP) systems.

Date: Friday, 18 December 2020
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/US-Administration-issues-Space-Policy-Directive

Cross-section of a Triso nuclear fuel pellet. Courtesy Idaho National Laboratory. BWX Technologies announced that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group subsidiary has completed its Triso nuclear fuel line restart project and is now producing fuel at its Lynchburg facility in the state of Virginia.

The restart of the Triso line means BWXT as the only company in the US that is executing production contracts for Triso fuel.

BWXT is the only US company to manufacture irradiation-tested uranium oxycarbide TRISO fuel using production-scale equipment.

In June 2020, BWXT announced a contract with the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory to expand BWXT’s Triso manufacturing capacity and produce a demonstration quantity of the fuel.

Date: Tuesday, 17 November 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/bwxt-announces-start-of-production-at-virginia-facility-11-1-2020

US-based BWX Technologies (BWXT) announced that its BWXT Nuclear Operations Group subsidiary has completed its TRIstructural-ISOtropic (TRISO) nuclear fuel line restart project and is producing fuel at its Lynchburg facility in Virginia.

Date: Friday, 13 November 2020
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsbwxt-restarts-triso-fuel-line-8359001

BWXT Nuclear Operations Group, Inc has completed its TRISO nuclear fuel line restart project and is actively producing fuel at its facility in Lynchburg, Virginia, BWX Technologies, Inc (BWXT) has announced. TRISO - standing for TRIstructural-ISOtropic - particles contain a spherical kernel of enriched uranium oxycarbide surrounded by layers of carbon and silicon carbide, which contains fission products.

Date: Wednesday, 11 November 2020
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/BWXT-completes-TRISO-fuel-line-restart

An artist’s rendition of KiloPower reactors powering a human habitat on Mars. Courtesy SpaceNukes/NASA/Los Alamos. The US government’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has signed an agreement to licence its Kilopower space reactor technology to Space Nuclear Power Corporation (SpaceNukes), a move it says will speed up a nuclear reactor technology that could be used to fuel deep-space exploration and possibly power human habitats on the Moon or Mars.

The Kilopower technology was developed at the laboratory in partnership with NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Patrick McClure, who served as project lead for Kilopower at Los Alamos and is now a partner in SpaceNukes, said that by creating a new company, Kilopower’s founders are hoping to be able to reach potential new sponsors “who will want to take this technology to the next level and put it into space”.

Kilopower is a small, lightweight fission power system capable of providing various ranges of power depending on the need. For example, SpaceNukes offers low-kilowatt reactors to power deep space missions, middle-range reactors in the tens of kilowatts to power a lunar or martian habitat, and much larger reactors in the hundreds of kilowatts that could make enough propellant for a rocket to return to Earth after a stay on Mars.

Date: Saturday, 07 November 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/new-us-company-to-develop-los-alamos-kilopower-reactor-11-5-2020

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has agreed to license Kilopower space reactor technology to New Mexico company Space Nuclear Power Corporation (SpaceNukes), which aims to commercialise the technology for use in space in the next few years.

Date: Saturday, 07 November 2020
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Los-Alamos-spin-off-to-commercialise-space-reactor

US Department of Energy (DOE) Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) leaders last week to mark progress toward a next-generation fusion materials project.

Date: Wednesday, 21 October 2020
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsprogess-for-oakridge-mpex-fusion-project-8191161

Netherlands Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Eric Wiebes has said that more nuclear power may join solar and wind in the Dutch energy mix after 2030, in particular small modular reactors (SMR) with a capacity of up to 400MW.

Date: Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Original article: neimagazine.com/news/newsnetherlands-pushes-for-more-nuclear-8153490

A design concept for a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) reactor to power future astronaut missions to Mars has exceeded key performance parameters and optimised the reactor for manufacturability, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has announced. The reactor's features include a compact core thanks to the use of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel.

Date: Friday, 18 September 2020
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/GA-delivers-HALEU-fuelled-reactor-concept-for-Mars

The design was produced as part of a NASA-funded study Image courtesy General Atomics US-based General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has delivered a design concept for a nuclear thermal propulsion reactor to power future astronaut missions to Mars.

The design was produced as part of a NASA-funded study. GA-EMS said its design exceeded the key performance parameters requested by NASA.

The reactor concept incorporates advancements in modern nuclear materials and manufacturing methods with experience from GA-EMS’s involvement on NASA Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Project Rover in the 1960s. Project Rover was one of the first programmes to demonstrate the feasibility of space-based nuclear thermal propulsion.

GA fabricated approximately six tonnes of the nuclear fuel kernels for the project. In 1965, the company was also directly involved in nuclear fuel testing and characterisation for the SNAP-10A reactor, the only US nuclear power reactor launched into space, which powered the satellite for 43 days. The fuel used for that reactor is the same fuel that has been used since the 1950s in General Atomics Triga reactors.

Date: Wednesday, 16 September 2020
Original article: nucnet.org/news/general-atomics-submits-nuclear-reactor-concept-for-missions-to-mars-9-2-2020