High efficiency magnetic-nuclear propulsion/power system Conference Paper uri icon


  • The possibility of developing a high efficiency MAGnetic NUclear System (MAGNUS) for space applications is discussed The concept is based on a fission fragment magnetic collimator reactor (FFMCR) that has emerged from the DOE-NERI Direct Energy Conversion (DEC) Program as a feasible, highly efficient terrestrial power system. In the MAGNUS unit, the basic power/propulsion source is the kinetic energy of fission fragments (FFs). After FFs exit the fuel, they are captured by a magnetic field and directed out of the core. The energetic FFs flow has a high specific impulse and allows efficient power production and propulsion. The terrestrial application analysis indicated that direct energy conversion (DEC) efficiencies up to 90% are potentially achievable. Preliminary studies demonstrated a potential for developing MAGNUS units for space applications. Absence of high temperatures and pressures, low fuel inventory, long-term operation, chemical propellant absence, highly efficient power generation, high specific impulse, and integral direct energy conversion without mechanical components provide an opportunity for exploration of the solar system and deep space. Interstellar missions of reasonable duration may be possible.

published proceedings

  • American Nuclear Society Embedded Topical Meeting - 2005 Space Nuclear Conference

author list (cited authors)

  • Tsvetkov, P. V., & Hart, R. R.

complete list of authors

  • Tsvetkov, PV||Hart, RR

publication date

  • November 2005