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Press Release 12-059

A test operator inserting a heat pipe into a small nuclear reactor. A test operator inserting a heat pipe into a small nuclear reactor.

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Caption: A test operator from Los Alamos inserts a sealed, water-filled heat pipe into a small nuclear reactor to extract fission heat from the uranium core. The heat pipe transferred the heat to a pair of Stirling engines which produced electrical power. The successful demonstration of the heat pipe and the Stirling engine assembly, designed and built by engineers at NASA's Glenn Research Center, establishes the proof of concept for a simple, reliable electric power supply that can be adopted to power future space missions. Credit: Courtesy NASA