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Activity name

NUPFLIGHT: Potential release scenarios from flight testing of nuclear-powered flying vehicles

NKS-B Research Area Emergency Preparedness
Project summary

In recent years, there have been claims that a nuclear-reactor-powered cruise missile is under development in Russia, and indeed has been successfully flight tested. Although there are no reliable independent open reports confirming the precise status of such a project, it is clear that there is a need to consider the radiological implications, if any, for the Nordic countries, particularly those with territories close to Russian Arctic testing areas.
It is proposed that a workshop would be held bringing together Nordic authorities responsible for nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness, to discuss and collate the current state of knowledge about nuclear reactors used to power flying vehicles, or knowledge that can be extrapolated into this area. The focus would be on the possible consequences of accidents during flight testing, and potential release scenarios. While there has been some work on risks related to maritime nuclear propulsion, and the outcomes of e.g. the CRESCENT activity would be leveraged where possible, it is expected that a nuclear reactor used to power a flying vehicle such as a cruise missile would have distinct features impacting the assessment of potential releases in case of an accident or even during planned operations. Little is known about engineering details relating to such reactors, which makes the problem of estimating a source term challenging. Nevertheless, it is hoped that considerations of general principles such as power requirements, flight times, temperatures, weight and the properties of conceivable fuel materials and designs could be used to bound the problem and assist in improving the confidence in risk assessments.

Lead Organization SSM
Contact Person

Anders Axelsson:  

phone number: +46 8 799 44 87


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