We propose a low-enriched-uranium, thermal-neutron-spectrum sodium-cooled reactor with a peak sodium temperature of 700°C coupled to an air-Brayton power cycle for electricity and heat. Three low-enriched-uranium, thermal spectrum sodium-cooled reactors were built in the 1960s and 1970s; but there has been no examination of such systems for many decades. We develop a pre-conceptual design based on “new” enabling technologies since the 1970s including yttrium hydride as the high-temperature neutron moderator, commercial gas turbines and secure decay heat removal systems. We define the reactor as a sodium hydride reactor (SHR).
The initial application is as a fission battery. The concept of the fission battery (FB) is a “plug and play” nuclear reactor defined by multiple characteristics: economics enabled by factory fabrication of large numbers of identical units, easy installation and removal, unattended operation and highly reliable operations. FBs are designed to be a low-carbon replacement for fossil fuels by industrial and commercial companies that require energy to produce some product (manufactured goods, chemicals, education, data centers, ship transportation, etc.). The reactors may be owned or leased by the company. The SHR is at an early stage of development.