A Summary of the NEPSTP Nuclear Safety Program

by Albert C. Marshall, Sandia Natl Lab, Albuquerque, United States,
G. Kompanietz, Sandia Natl Lab, Albuquerque, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space IV


The Nuclear Electric Propulsion Space Test Program (NEPSTP) is sponsored by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) to demonstrate and evaluate the Russian-built TOPAZ II nuclear reactor as a power source for an electric propulsion system in space. From its inception, safety has been a central feature of the NEPSTP program. This paper describes the nuclear safety program activities for NEPSTP. The safety program management, organizational structure, policy and requirements are in place. Initial safety analysis has been completed. The principal safety issue for the NEPSTP program is accident environment induced inadvertent criticality. Our preliminary findings indicate that the safe use of the TOPAZ II for the NEPSTP space mission is feasible.

Subject Headings: Electric power | Power supply | Space exploration | Nuclear power | Aircraft and spacecraft | Accidents | Structural safety | Russia | Europe | United States

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