People here at the NRC were scratching their heads last week when e-mails began circulating about an Internet ad for the KUBE X-15 MiniNuke, a palm-sized power reactor that supposedly could power a city the size of Dayton, Ohio, for a year. The ad said the device was “pending approval by federal regulators” and even prominently displayed the NRC’s branding logo. But the poor regulators (that would be us) hadn’t even heard about this revolutionary product we were supposedly about to certify.
Then of course we remembered the date. And indeed, the KUBE X-15, supposedly marketed by TigerDirect.com, was an ingenious April Fool’s joke. After the prank was exposed by International Business Times, the “ad” was pulled from the web.
There were several clues that immediately signaled the ad’s false claims, such as the proviso, “additional plutonium sold separately.” But to us, at least, the most obvious tip-off that this was a joke came near the bottom: “This product has not been approved by the USNRC. They wouldn’t even take our calls or return a damn e-mail! But we think they’d have no problem with the KUBE.” We pride ourselves on answering public inquiries, after all, even crazy ones!
Even after the prank was exposed, the ad continued to circulate, and many folks on Twitter retweeted the exciting news of the technology breakthrough at #KUBEX15. So just for the record – such a tiny nuclear generator doesn’t exist and is NOT being reviewed by the NRC.
It might be nice if power generation were as simple as pouring some plutonium powder into a small block the size of a Rubik’s Cube. But for now, we’ll be sticking to regulating those old-fashioned large plants that keep the computers running so those funny folks at TigerDirect.com – wherever and whoever they are – can keep us laughing.David McIntyre Public Affairs Officer