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The nuclear reactor operating in space provides a unique environment which imposes one of the most stringent materials problems confronting the aerospace designer today. Environmental temperatures around the reactor control system range from 700 to 1300F, with radiation levels, per year, of 1019 nvt fast neutrons and gamma to 1013 rad. These conditions, combined with outer space vacuum below 10−7 torr, provide opportunity for contacting surfaces to “weld” together.
Kellogg, L. G.