With the notable exceptions of people and soft drinks, everything seems to get smaller over time. It seems nuclear reactors are going that way too.
Using technology licensed from the U.S. government, an Arizona-based company is planning to bring a new generation of miniature nuclear reactors to market. The Hyperion Hydride Reactor is not much larger than a hot tub, is totally sealed and self-operating, has no moving parts and, beyond refueling, requires no maintenance of any sort. The reactor will output 27MW, enough to power a community of 20,000 homes, says Hyperion Energy, makers of the new reactor. The first models will roll off the assembly line in five years.Sometime in the future Dick Cheney may be able to power the locks on his man-sized safe at his undisclosed location with his very own nuclear power source.