Latest Publications
Recent Events
Mohamed El-Genk Selected to Recieve 2017 ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award
Benjamin Cowen, Phd Proposal Defense
Patent awarded for UNM-ISNPS SLIMM Small Modular Reactor Concept
Physical Location:
Manufacturing Technology and Training Center - STP
800 Bradbury, Suite 235

Mailing Address:
Institute for Space & Nuclear Power Studies
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: 505.277.5442
Fax: 505.277.5433

Online: Contact Form

Our Mission: Empowering the Next Generation

Whether they are employed in space or on Earth, new uses for nuclear energy continue to emerge year upon year, promising exciting benefits to humankind for generations to come. The Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies is at the forefront of the technological revolution in peaceful uses for nuclear power which will:

  • Create efficient, dependable reactors designed to power bases on the Moon and Mars, and extend our knowledge of deep space using unmanned spacecraft traveling to the farthest reaches of the solar system and beyond.
  • Build safe, cost-effective commercial reactors for use in underdeveloped nations where electricity and power are not yet universally available.
  • Reduce nuclear waste generated by today's nuclear reactors, through an advanced fuel cycle which alters the half-life of existing reactor by-products, and renders them non-radioactive in hundreds rather than thousands of years.
  • Develop the next generation of commercial nuclear power plants for meeting ever-growing global needs for environmentally friendly electricity production, and the generation of hydrogen fuel for industrial applications and transportation.

ISNPS and Its Director, Mohamed S. El-Genk, are featured in
the Spring 2006 Issue of UNM Engineering Magazine.

Versatile Research Goals

"Fostering innovations in energy development and improving the efficiency of current power sources is one way to benefit society and mankind," says ISNPS Director and Regents' Professor, Mohamed S. El-Genk.

Other ways in which UNM-ISNPS seeks to contribute to the scientific knowledge base include: the study of fluids transport through microchannels for nanotechnology applications, and cooling of high-power electronics through the use of boiling heat transfer and thermal management.

In addition, "Passive cooling using heat pipes, designing lightweight heat rejection radiators, and dynamic simulation of space power systems with either static energy conversion or turbo-machinery, are other major focus areas for UNM-ISNPS," says Jean-Michel Tournier, assistant research professor at the Institute.

Nuclear power and propulsion, however, remains a main focus of the Institute, developing the technology for reliable, safe, affordable, long-life, and lightweight power systems to support future space exploration missions and outposts.

Research teams at ISNPS-UNM are developing three space reactor designs that avoid single-point failures and provide a high degree of reliability. These designs are: the liquid metal-cooled Sectored Compact Reactor (SCoRe), the gas-cooled Submersion-Subcritical Safe Space reactor (S^4), designed to operate with multiple Closed Brayton Cycle (CBC) Engines; and the liquid metal heat pipe cooled Scalable AMTEC Integrated Reactor System (SAIRS). Redundancy is built into each reactor design to ensure continued operation of the power system for in excess of 10 years, operations safety, and longevity.

"These reactors are also designed to remain safe in case they are submerged in wet sand and flooded with seawater, following a launch abort accident," says INSPS post-doctorate fellow, Jeffrey C. King.

Educating Tomorrow's Engineers

As an academically-based, self-supporting research and development organization within the UNM School of Engineering, ISNPS stands by the belief that research is only half the equation. Without taking an active role in the education of tomorrow's engineers, today's sixth-grade through post-graduate level students - the promises of the future may never arrive.

UNM-ISNPS includes graduate and undergraduate students in its research teams, provides scholarships and fellowships through the NMOne Fellowship Program, and takes a proactive role in inspiring the next generation of college bound students to consider a career in nuclear engineering.

Education outreach activities play an important part of the Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF) , organized and hosted by ISNPS in Albuquerque, New Mexico each February. Among the activities are an annual Space Design Competition, and Special Secondary School Session, with prominent guest speakers from the space technology community.

"To me, the education and outreach programs are the most valuable contribution we can make to the state of New Mexico and the nation," says El-Genk.