Can a Death Star Be Built Today?
For those of you who have very low levels of midi-chlorians in your blood and have never heard of the Death Star from Star Wars, it was basically a man-made space station the size of a small moon. It could fly through space and still generate enough energy to shoot a weapon that would destroy an entire planet.
Sounds far-fetched, right? How would you even power something like that? Well, I’ve been doing some research and discovered it was powered by a hypermatter reactor. This is highly confidential technology and my Freedom of Information Act request was denied by the Galactic Empire; but I have been able to ascertain that it is a massive fusion reactor fed by stellar fuel bottles that line the periphery of the fuel reaction chamber in the core.
Can you imagine a molecular reactor that powers a massive steel machine carrying thousands of soldiers that can annihilate life on an entire planet?
Not as far fetched as you think! Small modular reactors (SMRs) are used on submarines that carry enough nuclear missiles to wipe out life on earth as we know it. SMRs are a promising next chapter in our energy future. Currently, companies are experimenting with technology that will create a commercially viable small modular nuclear reactor that can power geographic areas, jobsites, etc. They are mobile and compact. SMRs aim to capture the advantages of nuclear power – always on, low carbon energy; while avoiding the problems – mainly the vast cost and time taken to build huge plants.
SMRs produce less than 300 MW (0.3 GW) of electricity – much smaller than the 1,000 MW (1 GW) of many existing nuclear plants. Another advantage is that SMRs can vary their output quickly, meaning they could be used to balance intermittent wind and solar energy, unlike big nuclear plants.
The technology is being developed, and some companies expect to have a SMR roll off the assembly line and put into production in the 2020s. This is an exciting next chapter in our energy future. So when you’re watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you can have a better appreciation for the Empire’s energy advancements. (I haven’t even started discussing Darth Vader’s ability to create electricity from his fingertips by harnessing the force!)
For more on this subject, check out this article from the Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/24/mini-nuclear-reactors-answer-to-climate-change-crisis
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