Magnetic-nuclear propulsion/power system (MAGNUS): Control and heat removal options Conference Paper uri icon


  • The Magnetic-Nuclear Propulsion/Power System (MAGNUS) is an advance space power concept that utilizes kinetic energy of fission fragments to generate electricity or other utilizable energy form for space applications. The nuclear fission process is the fundamental energy source in the system. All of the design characteristics depend and are determined by the performance as a nuclear reactor. The complexity results from the essential condition to design a nuclear reactor that functions as an efficient fission fragment source. The MAGNUS nuclear reactor components differ from all of the conventional systems and from most of the advanced and innovative concepts. The acceptable performance characteristics are obtained using micro- and nano-structured fuels, erbium doping and graphite or beryllium moderation/reflection properties. The control and heat removal aspects of the concept are discussed. The applied out-of-core direct energy conversion method and absence of any active in-core components for control and heat removal result in the unique dynamics and safety characteristics. Although the attained temperatures depend on the neutronics power and its spatial distribution, all potential active sources of reactivity perturbations under normal operation conditions are located in the reflector. Only accidental mechanical breakdowns of fuel structures with subsequent massive geometry changes could potentially initiate some reactivity perturbations. However, space environment, absence of coolant flow and moving components make such accidents practically impossible due to extremely limited triggering circumstances. Because kinetic energies of fission fragments are directly utilized to produce output power, there is no direct dependence of the dynamics and safety characteristics on the output power level.

published proceedings

  • Space Nuclear Conference 2007 - Proceedings of Embedded Topical Meeting, SNC'07

author list (cited authors)

  • Tsvetkov, P. V.

complete list of authors

  • Tsvetkov, PV

publication date

  • December 2007