Investigation of portable nuclear power systems
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Energy needs for modern society are an ever-changing and complex problem. One of the most diverse areas of energy needs is portable energy generation. Many electronic devices do not simply plug into the power grid, due to their size, use, or distance from infrastructure. The use of nuclear power is well-established in large-scale power production, but mostly unutilized in small-scale applications. One potential candidate for small-scale power production would be the use of tritium as a power supply for betavoltaic batteries. Such a battery could last for years without need of maintenance, and be small enough to be carried around by a person. An experiment was designed to use a GE PETtrace cyclotron to synthesize a tritium power source using LiC6 as a starting material. Another small-scale nuclear power system option is the use of thorium as a fuel for a subcritical Energy Amplification device. This would use a particle accelerator to generate neutrons, which would breed and fission U-233 to produce power. Initial simulations were done using TRITON as a simulation package to determine its viability for more complex simulations. The results indicate that it is possible to produce a tritium-based power source using LiC[subscript 6] and a cyclotron. Furthermore, TRITON simulations yield results that are logical and promising for future simulations.
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