London, Nov 9 : Nuclear power plants, which are smaller than a garden shed and are able to power 20,000 homes, shall be available within five years, according to a group of scientists.
Scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb, said that the miniature reactors will be factory-sealed and contain no weapons-grade material.
The experts added that they have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.
The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years.
"Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world," Guardian.co.uk quoted John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion, as saying.
"They will cost approximately 25milion dollars. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable 250 dollars per home," the expert added.
The company plans to set up three factories to produce 4,000 plants between 2013 and 2023.
The reactors, only a few metres in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory.