Black Mesa Advanced Fission



Black Mesa Advanced Fission is a newly formed, service disabled veteran owned (SDVOSB) nanoreactor and nuclear technology production company based in Rapid City, SD. We seek to disrupt the nuclear technology sector through creative problem solving, physical prototyping, extensive destructive testing, and simple, robust reactor design.

Our initial focus will be on developing rapid prototyping, destructive testing, and model validation and verification services. We will utilize these services in production of an autonomous, extremely low risk, kW-scale portable fission generator. Additionally, we plan on offering these services to other advanced reactor companies in order to facilitate the deployment of advanced fission energy systems.


Best is the Enemy of Good

- Voltaire

We believe that this quote accurately sums up nuclear energy development in the US today. Most new reactor concepts focus on lightest, most compact, most powerful, most efficient, or some other form of "best". These concepts seek to greatly improve upon a technology with a proven track record of already being the safest, cleanest, and most environmentally friendly source of energy mankind has devised to date. These attempts at design perfection have resulted in the destruction of any capability to actualize any nuclear power systems, let alone the more complicated and advanced system concepts currently in development. The first nuclear reactor was constructed on a squash court from graphite and uranium blocks in a few months without the aid of computers, cross section libraries, or the wealth of information and manufacturing technology we now have access to. The US has built and operated over 300 fission reactors, yet the number that were proposed and finished after 1977 is in the single digits. The most recent reactor system to produce electricity was KRUSTY in 2018, rated at a mere 1kWe.

The US, once leaders in nuclear technology, are now back at square one. We believe a bottom up, learn by building, approach is required. We will start with the minimal useful product and focus on demonstrating a critical system as quickly as possible.


A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.

- Gen. George Patton

Black Mesa Advanced Fission seeks to take a radical departure from the formula used by all existing advanced reactor systems. Instead of spending years modeling and optimizing every aspect of the system we seek to focus on simple, over engineered systems with large engineering margins backed by extensive prototyping and physical testing. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) is the philosophy at the heart of this design. We will leverage rapid prototyping techniques to create physical test samples at every stage of design. Doing this with a simple system is what is required to advance the engineering wisdom and industrial base necessary to produce, and field, a successful physical product in a timely fashion.

This approach follows in the footsteps of the only advanced reactor system to produce electrons in the US in decades, KRUSTY. KRUSTY was a 1kWe simple reactor system designed at Los Alamos National Laboratory and tested at the Nevada Test Site in 2018. Our concept is an iteration on the technologies demonstrated by KRUSTY coupled with several other mature reactor technologies.

Leveraging automated manufacturing solutions such as 3D printing, CNC milling, and robotic quality control and inspection, we can build a scalable production line as well as a production ready design.

The Team

Joshua Payne - Chief Executive Officer

Nuclear Engineer and Systems Modeler

Nicholas McDougall - Chief Operations Officer

Chemical Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Destructive Testing Expert

Kent Payne - Chief Administrative Officer

Retired Lieutenant Colonel (USAF), B-1B Pilot