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Rosatom to develop nuclear reactor for long-range space missions

September 14, 2015, 20:49 UTC+3 VIENNA
Russian civilian nuclear power corporation is scheduled to complete a prototype of a megawatt-class nuclear reactor for space flight in 2018
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© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

VIENNA, September 14. /TASS/. Russian civilian nuclear power corporation Rosatom will manufacture a prototype megawatt-class nuclear reactor by 2018 for long-range space flights, Rosatom Deputy CEO for Innovation Management Vyacheslav Pershukov said on Monday.

"We are scheduled to complete a prototype of a megawatt-class nuclear reactor for space flight in 2018, and we will do so," Pershukov told journalists on the sidelines of the 59th session of the IAEA General Conference.

"We shall meet our commitments. A solution in principle will be developed, it will be a working example, and Rosatom is hopeful that Roscosmos [Federal Space Agency] will find an application for a useful product like that."

Roscosmos is said to have pondered abandoning the development of a megawatt-class reactor.

The development of a transport power module based on such a power plant started in 2010, with the engineering design completed in 2012. The completion of the development of the power plant itself was expected in 2015, and transport power module flight tests were anticipated by late 2018. The program’s implementation was reported to call for 20 billion rubles ($295 million at the current exchange rate), including 17 billion rubles ($251 million) of governmental funds.

Nuclear power engineering has been repeatedly used by this country in space exploration. The Soviet Union had launched 32 spacecraft equipped with thermoelectric nuclear power plants from 1970 to 1988 and had developed a nuclear engine for space rockets and tested it at the Semipalatinsk nuclear proving ground from 1960 to 1980.

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