An EPRI study by A. G. Tarditi, J. H. Scott focused on the conversion via traveling wave DEC (direct energy conversion), that has the advantage of being able to generate high frequency power (MHz range) and does not require high voltage technology, unlike electrostatic energy conversion.
The fission fragment direct energy conversion (FFDEC) is considered as a best fit to an accelerator-driven fission core to improve the efficiency and the overall specific mass.
This proposed approach is complementary to the fission fragment direct utilization for propulsion since it can provide a more versatile scenario where a lower Isp is provided by plasma acceleration while at the same time some of the extremely high Isp provided by the fission fragment beam is being reduced.
Direct energy conversion instead of steam cycle (conversion of heat to electrical energy)
– Less heat: less radiators
– No pumps, pipes, generators: lowering mass
– Lowering mass + Improving efficiency