The U.S. military is exploring the use of small mobile nuclear reactors that could be used in remote operating bases to supply basic power needs like lighting and refrigeration, Defense One reported.
The military's Strategic Capabilities Office has put out a request for information for its "Project Dilithium," specifying the reactor should fit on a truck and a C-17 aircraft, generate from one to 10 megawatts of electric power for three years without refueling, be able to be put up in 72 hours and taken down in a week, and be meltdown-proof, Defense One reported.
The office is looking to fund three different prototype designs and will then select a winner from among them, the news outlet reported.
The research on the tiny nuclear reactors has a long history in the military, beginning in 1954. But last October, the Army did its own study, declaring "the return of nuclear power to the Army and [Department of Defense] will have a significant impact on the Army, our allies, the international community, commercial power industry, and the nation."
If it can work, Defense One's technology editor, Patrick Tucker wrote, "it beats the alternative, hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel truck over dangerous enemy terrain."