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Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by ColJack, Jul 29, 2010.
What do you mean? For large ships and submarines, nuclear is the way to go.
as for cooling, they use water to cool the coolant water in the reactors, no direct mixing since it would be radioactive surely?
in space there would be no need, just pump the coolant into large flat panels that are in the shade ( mounted spaced off under the solar panels would be a good place.. )
space is very cold and the heat will dissipate very fast I'm sure..
anyway, back to the ships..
there are plenty of naval ships with reactors on board, so there's a source of engineers.. retired naval officers..
have there been many ship board reactor accidents recently?
granted there is the whole piracy / security issue where if the ship docks in a country that doesn't have nuclear capability they might seize the ship.
Don't want it to freeze though =p
Space is cold, but it is also devoid of any matter. It would take about one hour for your body to reach freezing point in space. That's because there are no atoms or molecules (like in cold air) to conduct heat away from you. This means the only means to lose heat in space is through the radiative process, which is a slow process. This means that the water radiator in space is not such a good ideea when you've got boiling water and a huge reactor.
And do what? Not enough material for a nuke...
Nor would it be weapons grade.
it wouldn't have to be a nuke.. just a regular "dirty bomb"...!!
you're right about the freezing in space thing though, i've been watching too many sci-fi movies it seems where people freeze instantly when exposed to vacuum, and water freezes when expelled from a ship..
strictly speaking space isn't devoid of matter.. it just tends to clump together..
after all, we're in space.. on a bloody great lump of matter...
there is also a minute amount of particles in space.. something stupid like 3 hydrogen particles every cubic mile or so.. ( I've no idea on the exact figures but it's what I was told.. )
They could've done it already using medical nuclear material. Which poses the question, why haven't they?
Or, forgoing the idea of a nation stealing the reactor/material, there's always the worry that terrorists will seize the shit and do terrorist things and make the reactor go NUCLEAR TERRORIST. Y"know, cause they're terrorists. Regardless of the actual danger, the public perception of danger is going to be (hell, is) a serious factor in keeping it from becoming widespread. Never mind what would happen in the media in the most vague instance of a radiation leak in the reactor or anything of the kind, which is the sort of thing that could put that company out of business, and set an example for other companies to avoid doing the same thing for the same risks.
And yet most civilian ships are not using nuclear technology.
As I said. If it would be REALLY the cheapest solution more nations/companies would use it.
It's cheap for some things, not cheap for others. It certainly has its uses, and i am sure we'll see more nuclear ships once we start running out of petrol.
Additionally there is a certain mentality about nuclear power. Everyone uses diesel and what have you for your boat powering needs. Nuclear power is the realm of government owned ships and bombs and things; regardless of the actual cost, to most people it may not be realistic option because it's not their territory.
there would of course have to be a backup diesel gererator and fuel store on board on the off chance that the reactor had to be shut down mid ocean..
the backup would only power the thrusters and basic lights..
Boats have thrusters?
I really think the perception of the technology drastically affects companies ability's to make them.
Some do. It's a very rare system though and typically not nearly as effective.
yes, they are manouvering "propellers" that are positioned in various places to make it easier to dock etc.. they call them thrusters..
some are fixed like this one..
and some are rotatable like these ones..
I think it's the old 'chicken and egg' story. Without a full support network for N-powered civilian ships, nobody would want to buy one - even if the costs to run an N-ship was a fraction of a conventional one. Estabished tech is allways cheaper to use than to convert to a new one.
If I remember correctly, it was only after the (UK) Royal Navy after WWI put oil-engine support in the Empire's major ports did the merchant marine start converting from coal power.
The same issue is seen now with the alternatives to petrol for cars (hydrogen, ethenol). Petrol stations will not bother supplying fuel like that (with it's high setup costs) unless there is a proven demand for it. People won't buy cars unless there is a proven network of suppliers for their fuel.
That's why electric cars have taken off, despite there relitive inefficany and lack of greeness. Brazil is the only nation with a nation-wide supply of ethenol from petrol stations, and that was done with grants and tax-breaks from the goverment.
If by "ethenol" you mean ehtanol, than it is no biggie to have petrol stations with it everywhere. That stuff is just alcohol. Pure, alcohol. I once drank a shot of ethanol. It was horrible, but still. It can be supplied.
Well, its easier to provide than hydrogen or uranium slugs, I grant you. However, there are significant problems.
You will need to adapt the old petrol pump tech to pump ethenol. Then you will need to put in a new pump and underground storage tank (will mean you will need to close the station for a few days and hack through concrete). You'll need to build large regional storage tanks, put in new pipes between the storage depots and the refinery. Oh, and build the refinery too. And make sure you have enough large-scale producers of the sugar/corn/wood/whatever to make sure you can produce enough fuel.
It's a large-scale national project with a hideious amount of sunk costs which may take decades to pay for itself (if ever). The kinda job for a nationalized industry or the goverment, like the motorway network or the postal service.
Ethenol, alcohol, they're both liquids. They said the same thing about LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). If they want to take your money, they'll build it. With your money, of course, saying it is environmentally friendly thus receiving government money.
It's not that it can't be supplied, it's that petrol stations aren't going to provide it if there are no buyers.
Also it's "ethanol". If you're going to correct someone, at least get it right.
LPG is pretty widely available here at petrol stations, by the way.