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Home-Based Nuclear Generators

In Pictures: Upcoming Technologies We Want Right Now
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Home-Based Nuclear Generators

Home-Based Nuclear Generators

In 2007, Toshiba revealed plans to sell nuclear reactors for every home across the globe based on a prototype it had developed. Measuring 20 by six feet, the 200 KW generator was fail-safe, fully automatic, self-sustaining, and could even serve the power needs of entire city blocks, Toshiba said.

Instead of traditional control rods, the personal reactor used special liquid-lithium reservoirs so it could last up to 40 years and, once commercialized, would cost consumers around 5 cents per KW/h of electricity consumed. For whatever reason, the device has not reached homes yet. However, earlier this year, Bill Gates (via TerraPower) announced a possible joint venture with Toshiba to refine and develop the original design. Gates' technology was said to run without refueling for up to 60 years on depleted uranium. Future generators are expected to be safer, smaller, and more socially acceptable than what Toshiba originally had in mind. Unfortunately, the technology isn't expected to go commercial until the early 2020s.

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