Wow! I just read this article over at the Guardian about miniature nuclear reactors that could power 20,000 homes, cost $25 million US dollars and essentially be buried underground, refueled every seven to ten years.
No moving parts, not weapons grade fuel, according to the article a Chernobyl style leakage is “impossible”. This is apparently technology from Los Alamos laboratories and the United States government has licensed the technology to a New Mexico based company called Hyperion. They say they currently have more than 100 orders and have plans to up their production potential. They’ve got a six year backlog.
This box could be delivered on a truck, “smaller than a garden shed” is how the Guardian has billed it. Mass production is expected within about 5 years. The units would be encased in concrete.
Other companies are known to be designing micro-reactors. Toshiba has been testing 200KW reactors measuring roughly six metres by two metres. Designed to fuel smaller numbers of homes for longer, they could power a single building for up to 40 years.