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I know steampunk, or rather, steam and coal technology is very limited, needs lots of space, little portability and little energy use.

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But nuclear plants use the same thing, the only difference is that instead of coal, they use uranium to heat the water to generate temperatures and absurd pressures that move turbines to generate electricity.

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I am aware that radiation is very dangerous and can cause irreparable damage (if you don't die). But WHAT IF a steampunk world didn't find oil to migrate to internal combustion engines and remained in steam and coal until they found uranium?

And well, when the radiation was discovered, numerous radioactive products were put up for sale promising miracles. That radioactive toothpaste promised brighter teeth, for example.

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This could open up to many different kinds of alternative worlds. From societies where the poor work near the nuclear power plants and generations are increasingly deformed and disgusting while the rich remain healthy and untouchable.

Or even a noir plot where the transition from coal to uranium has made unprecedented advancement in technology, but big business owners and governments are trying to hide the imminent danger of unsafe uranium use.

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Well, the thing is, how much would be needed to move a steam train, for example? Or a steam car? Or even bigger machines?

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, Neto Ananias! If you have a moment, please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. You may also find Worldbuilding Meta and The Sandbox useful. Here is a meta post on the culture and style of Worldbuilding.SE, just to help you understand our scope and methods, and how we do things here. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Jan 24 '19 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ How do you control a nuclear reactor without electronics? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 24 '19 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ This is certainly an interesting idea for a world. But unfortunately there isn't really a well-defined question here. Question&answer sites don't work well for open-ended and discussion-oriented brainstorming questions. Can you try to formulate an objectively answerable question about such a world? $\endgroup$ – Philipp Jan 24 '19 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ "Nuclear plants [...] use uranium to heat the water to generate temperatures and absurd pressures": nuclear power plants actually work with steam at lower temperature (and therefore, lower pressure) than coal or gas-powered thermoelectric plants. And nuclear power plants do not produce any increase in radioactivity around them. If you are looking for small nuclear reactors, consider those used on nuclear-powered ships and submarines, or in floating nuclear power stations. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 24 '19 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ I still don't see a focused single-point question here. A lot of interesting background, though. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jan 25 '19 at 1:13