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Center Innovation Fund: MSFC CIF

Storage and Containment of Nuclear Targets for Pulsed Fission-Fusion Testing

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Storage and Containment of Nuclear Targets for Pulsed Fission-Fusion Testing
The combined fission-fusion fuel target is the heart of an engine concept that can open the solar system to fast and efficient human exploration. This is a unique development effort for a high-performance propulsion system concept to enable faster trip times to Mars or other destinations. The current target is a highly enriched uranium shell holding Deuterium and Tritium gas at the critical point with a layer of Li6 outside the Uranium shell. Alternative targets replace the D-T with solid D-Li6. Additionally we wish to investigate the feasibility of operating more in the fast neutron spectrum by running lower enriched Uranium with thicker layers of Lithium. This work is computational only and is necessary to set up the nuclear site license with the NRC. Another part of this CIF will be to design the containment system for these experiments. We will have to develop a chamber capable of containing the blast and a storage unit to move nuclear materials to and from the experimental rig. We will validate the containment system using conventional explosives. More »

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