Out of This World: Westinghouse Design Takes Nuclear Power to Outer Space

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NASA and U.S. Department of Energy Name Westinghouse an Artemis Concept Awardee

Cranberry Township, PA, June 29, 2022 – NASA, in partnership with Battelle Energy Alliance, contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL), has selected Westinghouse Electric Company to provide an initial design concept for a fission surface power system that could be ready to launch to the Moon by the end of the decade.

NASA and DOE selected three firms to prepare such design concepts to advance space nuclear technologies. The 12-month contracts are valued at US$5 million each and will fund the development of initial design concepts for a 40-kilowatt class fission power system planned to last at least 10 years in the lunar environment. Westinghouse Government Services LLC, a member of the Westinghouse family of companies, is partnered with Aerojet Rocketdyne and supported by Astrobotic for this effort.

Fission systems are relatively small, lightweight and reliable, with the potential to enable continuous power regardless of location and other natural environmental conditions. A demonstration of such systems on the Moon would pave the way for long-duration missions on the Moon and Mars.

“Westinghouse has a rich history of delivering innovative nuclear technology that provides safe, clean and reliable carbon-free power to even the most remote communities, so we are honored to help create groundbreaking technology for outer space,” said David Durham, President, Westinghouse Energy Systems. “Westinghouse is committed to our partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne and eager to begin our design for a fission surface power system.”

“The Fission Surface Power project is a very achievable first step toward the United States establishing nuclear power on the Moon,” said Idaho National Laboratory Director John Wagner. “I look forward to seeing what each of these teams will accomplish.