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Russia’s nuclear tug, Nuklon, will be able to deliver 10 tons of cargo to the Moon in 200 days, according to documents from Roskosmos, published on the government procurement website.

Date: Saturday, 19 December 2020
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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
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The US government yesterday announced the release of the National Space Policy, which advocates for developing and deploying nuclear power and propulsion systems on US space missions. The document specifies who, or which government agency, is responsible for various aspects of their development and deployment.

Date: Friday, 11 December 2020
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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
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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has developed arrangements to help countries respond quickly to protect the public and the environment in the event of an accident involving radioactive materials launched into orbit or travelling in spacecraft.

Date: Friday, 30 October 2020
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The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have agreed to extend their existing cooperation by a further 10 years. One area for continued cooperation is space nuclear power and propulsion.

Date: Thursday, 22 October 2020
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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
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Milestones achieved within a recent two-week period demonstrate what nuclear technology is all about, what it is doing and can do for humanity, Agneta Rising, World Nuclear Association director general, said ahead of the Association's Strategic eForum 2020.

Date: Wednesday, 09 September 2020
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The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 30 July launched the Perseverance Mars from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The rover is expected to land on Mars in February 2021. It will be powered by a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) developed at the Department of Energy's (DOE’s) Idaho National Laboratory (INL). NASA said the rover, was powered by the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 541 rocket. ULA is the only space launch provider certified to handle Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs), according to ULA president and CEO, Tory Bruno. NASA certifies the rocket, but NASA and DOE together certify the provider to carry a nuclear payload, he explained.

Date: Tuesday, 04 August 2020
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Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA), the managing and operating contractor for the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Idaho National Laboratory (INL), is seeking information from leaders in the nuclear and space industries to develop innovative technologies for a fission surface power (FSP) system that can be operated on the moon, INL said on 24 July. Responses are sought by 8 September, after which, INL will issue a request for proposal.

Date: Saturday, 01 August 2020
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