Space Nuclear Power Sources: Safety Policy in the Development and Application of the RTG and SP-100 Systems 910872
Growth of the U.S. space program depends on the ability to develop cost-effective, reliable, and safe power sources. The Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) has satisfied these requirements in low-power regimes, and the SP-100 (Space Power-100 KW electric) space reactor program aspires to fulfill high-power needs. The SP-100 is the basis for opening a wide range of new opportunities in space technology. However, safety aspects are a major issue in the launch and applications of space nuclear power sources (NPS). Space development may be compromised if safety policy issues are not resolved, and life and the environment are at risk if these issues are not addressed carefully.
This paper examines RTGs and the SP-100 program in terms of safety policy and provides corresponding public policy alternatives.
“There's no such thing as a risk-free launch” Edward Tripp, aerospace consultant and author.