Executive Intelligence Review


Storied Nuclear Company Is Studying Nuclear Propulsion for Mars

June 26, 2018 (EIRNS)—One of this country’s nuclear companies which was the foundation upon which the U.S. built more than 100 nuclear power plants, has received a contract from NASA to create conceptual designs for a nuclear thermal reactor that could power a spacecraft to Mars. AP reported on June 22 that BWX Technologies will carry out the work at NASA’S Marshall Space Flight Center, and that BWX opened an office in Huntsville, Alabama last week. NASA’s work on nuclear reactors for propulsion goes back to the early 1960s, and has been carried out in fits and starts since then.

In 2015, BWX Technologies was spun off from the Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) company, to handle the company’s government and nuclear work. B&W began manufacturing high-pressure boilers in 1867. In 1953, it built components for the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine, and for Shippinport, the first U.S. utility-owned nuclear plant. B&W manufactured the largest nuclear components, including pressure vessels and generators.

Today, BWX, headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia, supplies nuclear fuel and components to the government for submarines and aircraft carriers.