The objective would be to use a fusion powered IEC for next generation power units in the 100-kWe range to replace current [Hall Current Thrusters].
Advantages of p-B11 in Radiation emissions
- Radiation is virtually eliminated by p-B11. Exhaust with an IEC p-B11 fuel has trace radiation below NRC levels. Very few gammas are released from the fusion reaction chamber itself,
and they are stopped with modest shadow shielding.
- This is below the space radiation levels at stratosphere levels, so nothing beyond normal space radiation shielding is needed, e.g. all electronics for space is "radiation hardened" anyway.
- Exposure issues could only occur if people or electronics are very close to the IEC device while it is running - otherwise no shielding at all is needed at more than ~ 30 meters away due to 1/r2 spreading of beams and corresponding reduction of flux. Compared to space radiation, this is not even significant.
For smaller vehicles, maybe a distributed approach, using several low-power, small-diameter Polywells spread around the vehicle, could be used to reduce the oppressive shielding mass/volume requirements stated by 93143 for full coverage. Perhaps this might be good enough for atmospheric flight or road use (not for SSTO or other uses in the GW range). I'm assuming here that AVRC has their radiation types/fluxes estimated correctly and that IEC is similar to Polywell in this regard for the same power level.