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Closed Cycle Magnetohydrodynamic Nuclear Space Power Generation Using Helium/Xenon Working Plasma
A multimegawatt-class nuclear fission powered closed cycle magnetohydrodynamic space power plant using a helium/xenon working gas has been studied, to include a comprehensive system analysis.
Total plant efficiency was expected to be 55.2 percent including pre-ionization power. The effects of compressor stage number, regenerator efficiency, and radiation cooler temperature on plant efficiency were investigated. The specific mass of the power generation plant was also examined. System specific mass was estimated to be 3 kg/kWe for a net electrical output power of 1 MWe, 2-3 kg/kWe at 2 MWe, and approx.2 kg/KWe at >3 MWe. Three phases of research and development plan were proposed: (1) Phase I-proof of principle, (2) Phase II-demonstration of power generation, and (3) Phase III-prototypical closed loop test.