Rosatom and Kurchatov Institute national Research Centre are working to create a new generation of megawatt-class nuclear reactors, so-called “thermonuclear batteries”, for space missions.

“This is a joint project to create a new class of power plants for space missions. These are megawatt-class reactors,” Rosatom Head Sergei Kiriyenko said at a press conference hosted by ITAR-TASS on Monday, April 15, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Kurchatov Institute.

Now nuclear fuel needs to be reloaded every 1.5-2 years. “We are solving the task of doing this every 4-5 years and eventually every 25 years,” Kiriyenko said. “This is a so-called thermonuclear battery – small volume, big capacity and one-time loading.”

Kiriyenko noted that such “thermonuclear batteries” will help solve both military and civilian tasks, including interplanetary missions.

Kurchatov Institute Director Mikhail Kovalchuk said this is a “cutting-edge technology” and noted that it takes two years to reach Mars and the use of “thermonuclear batteries” will provide enough energy for this mission.