A New Energy Age for DoD. Unlimited Power to Support DoD Missions. Presented to 1 st Thorium Energy Alliance Conference! The Future Thorium Energy Economy 20 October 2009. James R. Howe
Unlimited Power to Support DoD Missions
Presented to 1st Thorium Energy Alliance Conference!
The Future Thorium Energy Economy
20 October 2009
James R. Howe
Vision Centric Inc.
The Future Becomes Reality
-- DoD Distributed Power Requirement
-- DoD Remote Power Missions
-- DoD Logistics Issues: Electricity, Fuel, and Water
-- DoD Power Projection Missions
- Air Force
Pressurized water reactor technologies were chosen based on their compactness and relative simplicity.
The Air Force also had a desire for a nuclear-powered aircraft that would serve as a long-range bomber.
An aircraft reactor was far more challenging than a terrestrial reactor because of the importance of high-temperatures, light weight, and simplicity of operation.
The Nuclear Aircraft Program led to revolutionary reactor designs, one of which was the liquid-fluoride reactor.
The Army Reactor Program began in 1953 to enable nuclear power for remote sites—they chose PWR technology because the Navy did.
Reactors for Ft. Belvoir, Ft. Greely, Camp Century, and other sites were built.Three Branches—Three Reactor Programs
The Army Nuclear Power Program (ANPP) was a program of the United States Army to develop small pressurized water and boiling water nuclear power reactors for use in remote sites.
Eight reactors were built in all: (Of the 8 built, 6 produced operationally useful power for an extended period)
11 Nuclear Powered Carriers 69 Nuclear powered Submarines
More than 5500 reactor years without accident
DoD Power – Remote
and Naval Ships
DoD CONUS Bases
Ambassador Woosley: DoD Needs Distributed Power – “Small is Beautiful” (1)
Defense Infrastructure at Risk to National Grid Vulnerabilities
Need Power for Remote Sites, Global Bases, and Support to Expeditionary Forces
1. National Security and Homeland Security Issue
Energy is the Enabler of Military Operations
Desalination to Potable Water
Low-temp Waste Heat
Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactor
Electrical Generation (50% efficiency)
Hydrogen fuel cell
Ammonia (NH3) Generation
Automotive Fuel Cell (very simple)
Deployed forces logistics could be greatly reduced-no water, fuel, generators
Advanced high energy lasers, electromagnetic guns, and sensors
will enable highly cost-effective ballistic missile defense and space operations
Global, real time communications
Hypervelocity Impact Imparts High Energy
Hypervelocity Impact (M5+)
(1) Long-range Offensive Missiles cost ~ $500k to $3M+ and Defensive Interceptors cost $1-3M+
Long Endurance UAV’s
Power Space Based Systems
Used for All Navy Ships
Aircraft Carriers - 12
Cruisers - 22
Destroyers – 53+
Frigates – 30
Littoral Combat Ships - TBD
Amphibious Assault Ships - 11
SSBN – 14
SSGN – 4
SSN - 53
Thorium Reactors are expected to be smaller, lighter, safer and less costly
Thorium Reactors Can Capitalize on Existing Engine Design/Technology,
Significantly Reducing Engine Development Cost/Schedule
Current Naval Reactors
Recent Ship Propulsion Designs at NPGS have included thorium reactors
A - Pearl Harbor
E - Norfolk to
Persian Gulf (via Suez canal)
~ 8,300 nm
C - San Diego
D - San Diego
to Persian Gulf
~ 11,300 nm
B & D
B - Pearl Harbor
to Persian Gulf
~ 9500 nm
Transit time - hours
*Plus Re-fuel time
Directed Energy Weapon
> 30 MW power needed
2020: > 500 km
2030: > 3000 km?
Figure 2. Naval EM Gun System Architecture
Figure 5. Power Requirements as a Function of Firing Rate.
20 kg Launch package
15 kg flight
2.5 km/s at muzzle
63 MJ Muzzle Energy
Range: ~ 500 km
(1) Data from “Integration of Electromagnetic Rail Gun into Future Electric Warships.”, A. Chaboka, et al.
Is this the future of naval forces?