Muons, Inc.

Mu*STAR – Carbon-Free Energy to Power the World

Climate change

Mu*STAR is an advanced energy system leveraging accelerator technology to address four critical problems: access to energy, climate change, nuclear waste, and nuclear weapons proliferation.

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Project Locations

Lead Organization

Muons, Inc.

Batavia, Illinois, United States

http://www.muonsinc.com

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Project Summary

A major problem in reducing climate change is providing base-load energy, which current renewable technology cannot do but Mu*STAR can. Mu*STAR is an advanced energy system leveraging accelerator technology to address four critical problems: access to energy, climate change, nuclear waste, and nuclear weapons proliferation. Using accelerator technology to drive a subcritical nuclear reactor, it can utilize existing nuclear waste, generating seven times more energy without creating additional waste. Operating sub-critically means our technology gains design simplicity and reduced regulation that make it low cost. As it is also highly resistant to weapons proliferation, it can be exported to underdeveloped countries that are considering nuclear for the first time. We see an opportunity to expand Mu*STAR to provide affordable carbon-free energy around the world – hundreds of fossil-fuel power plants could be upgraded to Mu*STARs fueled with natural uranium or thorium. We will provide fee-free access to this technology, worldwide.

Problem Statement

We believe in a world where all people have access to energy – we believe energy will increasingly drive quality nutrition, quality jobs, and quality lives. Today, 1.2B people lack access to energy. The UN predicts the global population will reach 9.7B by 2050, with most growth from countries with low energy use per capita; humanity’s energy requirements are growing far faster than population. At the same time, climate change will have terrifying impacts on the quality of life for all peoples. Access to energy is directly at odds with this – today, the more energy we produce, the more we contribute to climate change. This tension is a critical problem we must solve as we seek a future where all people are able to live quality lives. Solar and wind have the potential to shift this dynamic, but are not sufficient, because reliable base-load energy is required in the modern world. Humanity has an imperative to deliver clean, carbon-free energy globally. As physicists, we know the traditional approach to nuclear energy does exactly this, but with notable problems: 1) traditional nuclear energy generates waste that is difficult & expensive to handle for 100,000 years; 2) it can proliferate weapons; and 3) natural disasters or terrorist attacks can release radioactivity into the environment. Mu*STAR avoids or mitigates all of these.We must scale up carbon-free energy, without the critical problems of today’s technology. Mu*STAR will be an important part of providing energy access to all without accelerating climate change.

Solution Overview

Mu*STAR produces carbon-free energy, helping to reduce climate change. Our technology consumes used fuel from existing nuclear reactors, dramatically reducing the time frame needed to store nuclear waste from 100,000 years to 100s. Indeed, we calculate there is enough fuel out of the ground today to provide ALL current U.S. electricity usage for over 1,000 years, without producing any carbon to drive climate change.By design, Mu*STAR fuels and byproducts are unsuitable for nuclear weapons, avoiding the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation alongside nuclear power. Mu*STAR produces very low-cost, carbon-free energy that needs to be scaled to both industrialized and developing countries. These are all global problems that require broad, innovative solutions. During the five-year grant period, we will complete the licensing process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, enabling the distribution of our technology globally, especially to countries without nuclear access today. We are committed to fee-free worldwide global licensing of our technology, which will dramatically increase its potential impact. The world’s population and future generations will benefit from Mu*STAR’s carbon-free energy. By producing energy at lower cost than fossil fuels, we will catalyze worldwide economic growth and improved standards of living, as electricity becomes available to all. Future generations will benefit from Mu*STAR consuming current nuclear power plant waste. Building Mu*STARs alongside existing nuclear power plants eliminates the need to transport radioactive materials. Mu*STAR provides nuclear power without nuclear proliferation. Our broad impact will spur future innovation for new uses of electricity without increasing the risk of climate change.

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Project Funders

  • U.S. Department of Energy 2018
  • U.S. Department of Energy 2002 - 2019
  • U.S. Department of Energy 2007 - 2010

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