Portable Nuclear Reactor Now A Reality

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

Exciting news on the energy front: scientists in Canada have unveiled a portable nuclear reactor representing the potential to completely revolutionize energy generation. Known as the eVinci and representing a technological milestone, this compact, self-sufficient nuclear reactor will be operational in Saskatchewan, Canada, by 2029.

The eVinci paves the way for cleaner and more efficient energy production.

The ambitious project was (as perhaps expected) not exactly cheap. The Saskatchewan Research Council footed the $80 million bill. Renowned nuclear industry leader Westinghouse constructed the eVinci.

Their CAD (computer-aided design, for those not designing nuclear reactors) aims to showcase the impressive capabilities of the microreactor. 

For his part, the Premier of Saskatchewan, Scott Moe, commended the initiative, highlighting the potential economic and industrial impacts of the portable nuclear reactor, as well as the significance it represents for local communities. 

The eVinci. Image Credit: Westinghouse

Patently futuristic—though perhaps not Dune-level futuristic—the eVinci paves the way for cleaner and more efficient energy production. For example, it can reduce up to 55,000 tons of air pollution annually. Additionally, the microreactor generates five megawatts of electricity and over 13 megawatts of high-temperature heat. The reactor can also operate in a combined heat and power mode. 

To put things into perspective, one megawatt can power between 400 and 900 homes for a year.

Westinghouse praised the portable nuclear reactor as an innovative and novel solution addressing present and future energy requirements. Its ability to be easily transported and power remote areas is particularly remarkable. 

Good news also awaits those stateside–according to the U.S. Energy Department, similar microreactors are underway in the United States.

The eVinci’s remarkable design provides for its installation above ground and a minimal footprint–one comparable to the size of a hockey rink. Moreover, it seamlessly integrates into existing power grids to combine with renewable energy sources.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this portable nuclear reactor: it operates without water, instead utilizing heat pipe technology for cooling.

After approximately eight years of service, the eVinci is effortlessly replaceable. Indeed, simplicity is the name of the technology’s game.

For example, its design resembles a battery—further simplifying nuclear energy generation. Also, unlike conventional nuclear plants, the eVinci ensures safety and sustainability by either returning its used fuel to Westinghouse or storing it securely underground.

According to the U.S. Energy Department, similar microreactors are underway in the United States.

This project signifies more than just a single reactor; it serves as a proof of concept for a new era of nuclear technology. The Saskatchewan Research Council understandably considers the portable nuclear reactor a stepping stone supporting the region’s communities and industries in future nuclear energy endeavors. 

Generally speaking, nuclear power harnesses the energy from within atoms and offers a potent and eco-friendly option for generating electricity. While it inspires valid concerns regarding the management of radioactive waste and safety measures, it nonetheless plays a pivotal role in addressing the challenges of climate change. 

Embodying the promise of a cleaner, safer, and more efficient energy future, the eVinci portable nuclear reactor constitutes much more than a mere technological accomplishment.