Patents by Inventor David G. McAlees

David G. McAlees has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 10304572
    Abstract: Illustrative embodiments provide nuclear fission igniters for nuclear fission reactors and methods for their operation. Illustrative embodiments and aspects include, without limitation, a nuclear fission igniter configured to ignite a nuclear fission deflagration wave in nuclear fission fuel material, a nuclear fission deflagration wave reactor with a nuclear fission igniter, a method of igniting a nuclear fission deflagration wave, and the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2019
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John R. Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr.
  • Patent number: 10186333
    Abstract: A traveling wave nuclear fission reactor, fuel assembly, and a method of controlling burnup therein. In a traveling wave nuclear fission reactor, a nuclear fission reactor fuel assembly comprises a plurality of nuclear fission fuel rods that are exposed to a deflagration wave burnfront that, in turn, travels through the fuel rods. The excess reactivity is controlled by a plurality of movable neutron absorber structures that are selectively inserted into and withdrawn from the fuel assembly in order to control the excess reactivity and thus the location, speed and shape of the burnfront. Controlling location, speed and shape of the burnfront manages neutron fluence seen by fuel assembly structural materials in order to reduce risk of temperature and irradiation damage to the structural materials.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2019
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Publication number: 20170301412
    Abstract: Disclosed embodiments include nuclear fission reactor cores, nuclear fission reactors, methods of operating a nuclear fission reactor, and methods of managing excess reactivity in a nuclear fission reactor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 3, 2017
    Publication date: October 19, 2017
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, Thomas M. Burke, Tyler S. Ellis, John Rogers Gilleland, Jonatan Hejzlar, Pavel Hejzlar, Roderick A. Hyde, David G. McAlees, Jon D. McWhirter, Ashok Odedra, Robert C. Petroski, Nicholas W. Touran, Joshua C. Walter, Kevan D. Weaver, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, George B. Zimmerman
  • Publication number: 20170301420
    Abstract: A nuclear fission reactor, flow control assembly, methods therefor and a flow control assembly system. The flow control assembly is coupled to a nuclear fission module capable of producing a traveling burn wave at a location relative to the nuclear fission module. The flow control assembly controls flow of a fluid in response to the location relative to the nuclear fission module. The flow control assembly comprises a flow regulator subassembly configured to be operated according to an operating parameter associated with the nuclear fission module. In addition, the flow regulator subassembly is reconfigurable according to a predetermined input to the flow regulator subassembly. Moreover, the flow control assembly comprises a carriage subassembly coupled to the flow regulator subassembly for adjusting the flow regulator subassembly to vary fluid flow into the nuclear fission module.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 2, 2017
    Publication date: October 19, 2017
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Jon D. McWhirter, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Ashok Odedra, Clarence T. Tegreene, Thomas A. Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Victoria Y.H. Wood, Lowell L. Wood, George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9793014
    Abstract: Illustrative embodiments provide nuclear fission fuel elements, and systems, applications, apparatuses, and methods related thereto. Illustrative embodiments and aspects include, without limitation, nuclear fission fuel elements, heat pipe assemblies, heat pipes, methods of fabricating a nuclear fission fuel element, methods of fabricating a heat pipe assembly, and the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 2008
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2017
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr.
  • Patent number: 9734922
    Abstract: Illustrative embodiments provide modular nuclear fission deflagration wave reactors and methods for their operation. Illustrative embodiments and aspects include, without limitation, modular nuclear fission deflagration wave reactors, modular nuclear fission deflagration wave reactor modules, methods of operating a modular nuclear fission deflagration wave reactor, and the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 12, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2017
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., Ashok Odedra
  • Patent number: 9721677
    Abstract: Illustrative embodiments provide a nuclear fission reactor, that includes a reactor vessel, a nuclear fission fuel element capable of generating a gaseous fission product, a valve body defining a plenum for receiving the gaseous fission product, and a valve in operative communication with the plenum for controllably venting the gaseous fission product from the plenum.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2017
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, Pavel Hejzlar, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Jon D. McWhirter, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Ashok Odedra, Clarence T. Tegreene, Joshua C. Walter, Kevan D. Weaver, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9721679
    Abstract: A nuclear fission reactor fuel assembly adapted to permit expansion of the nuclear fuel contained therein. The fuel assembly comprises an enclosure having enclosure walls to sealingly enclose a nuclear fuel foam defining a plurality of interconnected open-cell voids or a plurality of closed-cell voids. The voids permit expansion of the foam toward the voids, which expansion may be due to heat generation and/or fission gas release. The voids shrink or reduce in volume as the foam expands. Pressure on the enclosure walls is substantially reduced because the foam expands toward and even into the voids rather than against the enclosure walls. Thus, the voids provide space into which the foam can expand.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2017
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Clarence T. Tegreene, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr.
  • Patent number: 9704604
    Abstract: A nuclear fission reactor fuel assembly and system configured for controlled removal of a volatile fission product and heat released by a burn wave in a traveling wave nuclear fission reactor and method for same. The fuel assembly comprises an enclosure adapted to enclose a porous nuclear fuel body having the volatile fission product therein. A fluid control subassembly is coupled to the enclosure and adapted to control removal of at least a portion of the volatile fission product from the porous nuclear fuel body. In addition, the fluid control subassembly is capable of circulating a heat removal fluid through the porous nuclear fuel body in order to remove heat generated by the nuclear fuel body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2017
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Clarence T. Tegreene, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Victoria Y. H. Wood, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9677147
    Abstract: Illustrative methods are provided for annealing nuclear fission reactor materials, such as without limitation, a nuclear fission reactor core or fuel assembly or components thereof within the nuclear core. Annealing a metallic component of a nuclear fission reactor within the reactor core may include determining an annealing temperature for at least a portion of at least one metallic component of a nuclear fission fuel assembly of the reactor. The temperature of the core may be adjusted to affect the determined annealing temperature, which in some cases may be greater than the predetermined operating temperature range of the nuclear fission fuel assembly. The portion of the at least one metallic component of the nuclear fission fuel assembly is annealed within the core at the annealing temperature range.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2017
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, David G. McAlees, Jon David McWhirter, Ashok Odedra, Clarence T. Tegreene, Joshua C. Walter, Kevan D. Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9659673
    Abstract: A nuclear fission reactor fuel assembly and system configured for controlled removal of a volatile fission product and heat released by a burn wave in a traveling wave nuclear fission reactor and method for same. The fuel assembly comprises an enclosure adapted to enclose a porous nuclear fuel body having the volatile fission product therein. A fluid control subassembly is coupled to the enclosure and adapted to control removal of at least a portion of the volatile fission product from the porous nuclear fuel body. In addition, the fluid control subassembly is capable of circulating a heat removal fluid through the porous nuclear fuel body in order to remove heat generated by the nuclear fuel body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2017
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Clarence T. Tegreene, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Victoria Y. H. Wood, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9653187
    Abstract: Disclosed embodiments include nuclear fission reactor cores, nuclear fission reactors, methods of operating a nuclear fission reactor, and methods of managing excess reactivity in a nuclear fission reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 16, 2017
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, Thomas M. Burke, Tyler S. Ellis, John Rogers Gilleland, Jonatan Hejzlar, Pavel Hejzlar, Roderick A. Hyde, David G. McAlees, Jon D. McWhirter, Ashok Odedra, Robert C. Petroski, Nicholas W. Touran, Joshua C. Walter, Kevan D. Weaver, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9443623
    Abstract: A nuclear fission reactor fuel assembly and system configured for controlled removal of a volatile fission product and heat released by a burn wave in a traveling wave nuclear fission reactor and method for same. The fuel assembly comprises an enclosure adapted to enclose a porous nuclear fuel body having the volatile fission product therein. A fluid control subassembly is coupled to the enclosure and adapted to control removal of at least a portion of the volatile fission product from the porous nuclear fuel body. In addition, the fluid control subassembly is capable of circulating a heat removal fluid through the porous nuclear fuel body in order to remove heat generated by the nuclear fuel body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 13, 2016
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Clarence T. Tegreene, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Victoria Y. H. Wood, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9401228
    Abstract: Disclosed embodiments include nuclear fission reactor cores, nuclear fission reactors, methods of operating a nuclear fission reactor, and methods of managing excess reactivity in a nuclear fission reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 26, 2016
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, Thomas M. Burke, Tyler S. Ellis, John Rogers Gilleland, Jonatan Hejzlar, Pavel Hejzlar, Roderick A. Hyde, David G. McAlees, Jon D. McWhirter, Ashok Odedra, Robert C. Petroski, Nicholas W. Touran, Joshua C. Walter, Kevan D. Weaver, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Publication number: 20160196883
    Abstract: A traveling wave nuclear fission reactor, fuel assembly, and a method of controlling burnup therein. In a traveling wave nuclear fission reactor, a nuclear fission reactor fuel assembly comprises a plurality of nuclear fission fuel rods that are exposed to a deflagration wave burnfront that, in turn, travels through the fuel rods. The excess reactivity is controlled by a plurality of movable neutron absorber structures that are selectively inserted into and withdrawn from the fuel assembly in order to control the excess reactivity and thus the location, speed and shape of the burnfront. Controlling location, speed and shape of the burnfront manages neutron fluence seen by fuel assembly structural materials in order to reduce risk of temperature and irradiation damage to the structural materials.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 4, 2016
    Publication date: July 7, 2016
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Publication number: 20160148710
    Abstract: Illustrative embodiments provide nuclear fission igniters for nuclear fission reactors and methods for their operation. Illustrative embodiments and aspects include, without limitation, a nuclear fission igniter configured to ignite a nuclear fission deflagration wave in nuclear fission fuel material, a nuclear fission deflagration wave reactor with a nuclear fission igniter, a method of igniting a nuclear fission deflagration wave, and the like.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 1, 2015
    Publication date: May 26, 2016
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John R. Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, JR.
  • Patent number: 9281083
    Abstract: A traveling wave nuclear fission reactor, fuel assembly, and a method of controlling burnup therein. In a traveling wave nuclear fission reactor, a nuclear fission reactor fuel assembly comprises a plurality of nuclear fission fuel rods that are exposed to a deflagration wave burnfront that, in turn, travels through the fuel rods. The excess reactivity is controlled by a plurality of movable neutron absorber structures that are selectively inserted into and withdrawn from the fuel assembly in order to control the excess reactivity and thus the location, speed and shape of the burnfront. Controlling location, speed and shape of the burnfront manages neutron fluence seen by fuel assembly structural materials in order to reduce risk of temperature and irradiation damage to the structural materials.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 8, 2016
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9275759
    Abstract: Illustrative embodiments provide modular nuclear fission deflagration wave reactors and methods for their operation. Illustrative embodiments and aspects include, without limitation, modular nuclear fission deflagration wave reactors, modular nuclear fission deflagration wave reactor modules, methods of operating a modular nuclear fission deflagration wave reactor, and the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 12, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2016
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, John Rogers Gilleland, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., Ashok Odedra
  • Patent number: 9269462
    Abstract: Disclosed embodiments include a vented nuclear fission fuel module system. Given by way of non-limiting example and not of limitation, an illustrative vented nuclear fission fuel module system includes a nuclear fission fuel element capable of generating a gaseous fission product. A valve body is associated with the nuclear fission fuel element, and the valve body defines a plenum therein for receiving the gaseous fission product. A reclosable valve is in operative communication with the plenum for controllably venting the gaseous fission product from the plenum, and the valve body includes a flexible diaphragm coupled to the valve for moving the valve to a closed position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 8, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 23, 2016
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, Pavel Hejzlar, Roderick A. Hyde, Muriel Y. Ishikawa, David G. McAlees, Jon D. McWhirter, Nathan P. Myhrvold, Ashok Odedra, Clarence T. Tegreene, Joshua C. Walter, Kevan D. Weaver, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 9236150
    Abstract: Disclosed embodiments include nuclear fission reactor cores, nuclear fission reactors, methods of operating a nuclear fission reactor, and methods of managing excess reactivity in a nuclear fission reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 2, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 12, 2016
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Charles E. Ahlfeld, Thomas M. Burke, Tyler S. Ellis, John Rogers Gilleland, Jonatan Hejzlar, Pavel Hejzlar, Roderick A. Hyde, David G. McAlees, Jon D. McWhirter, Ashok Odedra, Robert C. Petroski, Nicholas W. Touran, Joshua C. Walter, Kevan D. Weaver, Thomas Allan Weaver, Charles Whitmer, Lowell L. Wood, Jr., George B. Zimmerman