Questions tagged [nuclear-power]

Questions about generation of heat and power by nuclear phenomena, usually but not limited to radioactive decay (fission reactions). For weapons relying on nuclear phenomena, consider [weapons] and [weapon-mass-destruction] instead.

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6
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8answers
813 views

Running a nuclear power plant in the post-apocalypse: is it possible?

So, the apocalypse has occurred, and for about 150 years humanity spent its time wallowing in misery, sorrow, and so on. So moving on, in the northwest of Nevada there’s an abandoned nuclear reactor, ...
5
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1answer
185 views

How could a brown dwarf be used for energy?

I've been thinking about a civilization on a planet orbiting around a brown dwarf drifting in interstellar space. Obviously, by definition, a brown dwarf is too small to have much fusion on its own. I'...
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3answers
593 views

If people were the size of squirrels, would we ever have developed nuclear fission?

If people were about 1 foot tall and weighed about 1 pound, would we ever have made a reactor or an atomic bomb? Because critical mass doesn't change, the scale of the project to mine and process ...
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2answers
75 views

How Can An Alien Ship Harness Nuclear Energy? [closed]

A massive alien vessel is buried in a sandbank under the sea. Research subs detect a vast supply of nuclear energy held within it. I've been researching power plants, fission and the processes that ...
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2answers
120 views

Do chemicals from nuclear reprocessing waste remain radioactive? Are they flammable?

I'm writing a story about a town whose residents all work at a nuclear reprocessing site. Some teenagers begin to hang out near a small body of water close to the site that they call "the swamp". The ...
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3answers
203 views

How can a mage who can only cast in-situ thermonuclear explosion spell moves up the ranks?

Set in the modern day, many talented citizens especially those who can cast magic spells are encouraged to join the army. A very small group of mages can tap into the nuclear forces at will but they ...
6
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1answer
298 views

How much of the earth would be in an exclusion zone if all 450+ nuclear reactors failed simultaneously?

I'm about to flood the planet with magic, which doesn't play nice with tech, especially power. The only places tech will still work are Null Zones which cancel magic due to deposits of minerals (the ...
7
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1answer
247 views

How long can the entire civilization be powered by converting all nuclear arsenal into commercial reactor fuel?

Imagine a miracle happened and all leaders decided to wind back the minute hand of the doomsday clock and passed a bill that can transform all kinds of nuclear weapons into fuel for power plants, ...
8
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1answer
804 views

Usability of fusion scoops in deep space?

How effective would it be to use fusion scoops as an actually effective method of interstellar travel? How quickly could you generate thrust? How much fuel would such a thing need, and would it work ...
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2answers
300 views

What would be the best way to power a mecha?

While searching around, I kept hearing that fusion was a good choice, but how best to covert the energy to electricity was an issue. However, during my research, I came across this: Photon-...
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7answers
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Good explanation for why aliens can't build nuclear engines?

"Aliens used uranium and plutonium to generate energy for thousands of years. However, by the time they got into space exploration, they've used up every last bit of it. That's why they'll have to try ...
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4answers
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Could I build a nuclear reactor based on Bernoulli's principle?

So I was recently inspired by the answers that I saw on this stack exchange to the following question: Feasibility of H.G. Wells' Continuously-Exploding Atomic Bombs And it occurred to me that ...
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10answers
447 views

Would there be any place for nuclear-powered spaceships in a world where antimatter propulsion is the standard?

Nuclear fission rockets are becoming obsolete and have been superseded by the more efficient antimatter engines, which have nearly 100% efficiency and do not produce pollutants. I'm wondering this: in ...
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8answers
302 views

Is it possible to cover up a nuclear accident occurring at Area 51?

In 1986, the greatest heist ever attempted was carried out in secrecy not even KGB is aware of it. A group of special agents managed to steal the blueprint for RBMK-9600, a nuclear reactor which uses ...
5
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5answers
386 views

How hard would it be for a nuclear ramjet drone fighter to be shot down with modern antiaircraft (AA) systems?

TLDR: ~ mach 3, practically unlimited range but presumably substandard stealth characteristics. Would it be a game breaking weapon on modern air battlefield or merely would require tactics adjustment ...
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3answers
89 views

SFR Breeders on Small Mars Moon feasibility

Need help with a topic for a sci-fi book. Basic premise is 200yr in future, mining facility on small Mars moon of Phobos. Power source we would like is an Sodium Fast Reactor breeder as we think this ...
5
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5answers
898 views

Containing the radiation of a nuclear powered aeroplane

Let us assume that in the next 50 years one of the large nation-states of our world will build nuclear powered planes, for intercontinental flight. Supposedly, the nuclear planes would be bigger, ...
3
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6answers
172 views

Powering a Nanobot Via Nuclear Fission of Its Material

First let me say that I know almost nothing but the basics about nuclear fission. I know more about nano robotics but I've got no degree in the matter, just a rather in depth curiosity and a lot of ...
3
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3answers
224 views

How could a creature derive energy from radioactive elements?

Have a creature that doesn't really need vitamins or minerals, it only requires energy which goes through a energy-matter conversion to build what it needs. Radioactive materials would be great ...
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19answers
8k views

What would cause a nuclear power plant to break down after 2000 years, but not sooner?

What would cause a nuclear power plant to break down after 2000 years, but not sooner? The setting is a society in a dark age. Their ancestors were considerably more advanced than earth currently is....
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3answers
423 views

Fusion powered aircraft methods

I am trying to design a single seat fighter capable of achieving (or getting close to) hypersonic velocities at high altitude. In this universe I am assuming compact fusion is a common technology. ...
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6answers
1k views

Feasability of miniature nuclear reactors for humanoid cyborgs

The idea is to build a cybernetic body for a human. Only the brain and a few glands related to emotions, like adrenal glands, will be kept. The brain and the glands will be in a closed, plug-and-play,...
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1answer
125 views

What happens to hydrogen after burning [closed]

With fusion on the rise we are going to have a lot of helium but what gases are limited in helium burning? Context: my science teacher did not know the answer and I got curious
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1answer
642 views

What would happen if you went swimming in a spent fuel pool?

If one of my modern-day characters, a nuclear power-plant worker decides to take a swim in one of these pools, what will happen? Would he die, get sick, or not much?
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4answers
423 views

What would the effects be if all power grids connected to nuclear reactors abruptly suffered catastrophic failure?

To be more specific, I mean what if every wire, every power cable and transformer on the connected grids to the nuclear power plants all ruptured at once. The transformers literally exploding, the ...
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2answers
244 views

A world where nuclear fission does not produce radioactivity [closed]

I think the title explains it, but I am interested in how a world might differ from our own if fission had no radioactivity associated with the fuel, process, or waste/byproducts. The obvious answers ...
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3answers
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Repercussions of floating nuclear power station going into meltdown?

Set in an alternate 2010s/2020s, floating nuclear power station are now common as they can provide power to any city it is docked at (think along the lines of this real world example. or this ...
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2answers
332 views

Would it be safe to assume that solid core nuclear rocket technology advances?

Solid Core Nuclear Thermal rocketry has existed for a while and I was thinking about using it as the primary propulsion in my setting. Now most Solid Core rockets still have fairly long transit times (...
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4answers
425 views

Heat regulation in an asteroid base powered by a small nuclear reactor

So, I’m writing about the siege of an asteroid base. This asteroid is near the outer edge an asteroid belt at the solar radiation equivalent of Saturn’s orbit from its star (although the raw distance ...
3
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1answer
395 views

What will happen to a spent nuclear fuel pool without routine maintenance?

Assuming the human population is decimated (how doesn't matter) such that nuclear power plant maintenance is impossible. What would happen to a spent nuclear fuel rod pool? It seems to me that ...
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9answers
7k views

Uranium block house heating

I'm thinking of building a very long term heating system for a housing complex. I want it not to rely on sunlight, wind or other fuels. And I just need the heat. The surroundings are pretty cold, so ...
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4answers
404 views

Lead as a nuclear fuel

On a timescale of 1e11 years, all uranium and thorium will have decayed, but planets will still exist, orbiting red dwarf stars. Would it be possible to use lead as a nuclear fuel? In principle, the ...
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4answers
685 views

Nuclear terrorism 4 billion years ago: Was natural uranium enriched enough to create weapons without need for further enrichment?

Natural uranium (NU) is a mixture of about 0.7% $\ ^{235}U$ (fissile) and 99.3% $\ ^{238}U$ (non-fissile). To create uranium-based nuclear weapons NU has to undergo a process called enrichment in ...
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1answer
227 views

Can liquid nuclear fuel be injected and ignited like petro from a fuel injector?

[![enter image description here][5]][5] Model Lightcraft under laser power While sadly the funding for this research has not been forthcoming, there have been proof of principle flights and open air ...
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3answers
414 views

Train-World: Storing RHUs for decades to centuries

...no, I mean, supposedly, I believe there is more about it than mere kans on our part. Installations like this one are found all along the spoorwegs, and yes, around some you should tread lightly. ...
12
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2answers
454 views

Train-World: Feasibility of radioisotope steam-electric engines

...It's paradox. They left us these technological marvels, yet with all their might and knowledge they failed to prevent their own doom... Excerpt from a lecture by the High Historian of Berlin Falls ...
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2answers
715 views

What would happen if the world lost all electronic functionality for 24 hours? [closed]

A catastrophic event occurs that sends a disruptive wave around the globe, which renders every electronic device inoperative for 24 hours. It is not an EMP, but something else, so EMP hardened ...
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11answers
8k views

Why would Fission be used in a world where Fusion reactors exist?

In my world, all terrestrial bodies in the solar-system of over 900 km size have a significant human presence. Earth-moon Travel is as common as an interstate road trip, and Interplanetary travel is ...
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2answers
79 views

Repurposing a reactor from space to surface

A colony ship is sent to Enceladus. It has a nuclear reactor to provide power to life support, electric engines etc... Upon arrival, the colonists also need a reactor to melt holes into the ice and to ...
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4answers
2k views

How to design a zero-g nuclear reactor?

My worldbuilding involves a reasonably near-future, high-realism space station research outpost, and I'd like it to be powered by a nuclear reactor. However, I need as much detail on the actual ...
9
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14answers
3k views

Nuclear power for nomads

Is it possible to create a scenario where nuclear power is a practical option for nomads living like in Mongolia? There's two possible applications of nuclear power. One is to just use it as a heat ...
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19answers
31k views

How can I build a Nuclear Reactor in my backyard?

In my world, having a nuclear reactor at your own house is legal, in fact government donates money in the form of subsidies ( So no constraints of funds). This might have been practical because of ...
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6answers
5k views

Would a civilization on a planet with no natural Uranium-235 NEED to first achieve fusion before it can build nukes?

If a much older solar system - say 10 billion years with a slow burning star - would sprout intelligent life at around that age, given the half-life of U-235 and natural Uranium reserves, according to ...
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5answers
5k views

Practicality of a thorium-powered, superheated-steam car?

At the beginning of the 1900s, the Doble Steam Motors Company built steam cars. Their engineers solved many of the problems steam cars had until then by using superheated steam and a condenser to ...
2
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2answers
486 views

Could an entire continent runs on a single fusion reactor plant by 2100?

Affected continent is Asia, the world is running out of coal and natural gas. A major mega structure project is underway, its goal is to provide electricity across the continent with a single fusion ...
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4answers
416 views

World governments shutting down their nuclear power plants after Chernobyl?

What if in an alternate universe after the Chernobyl incident, the world governments decide to shut down their nuclear power plants and if so how would that affect society?
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8answers
4k views

Extremely compact nuclear reactor?

Realistically, how small can a nuclear reactor get (fission or fusion)? Truck sized? Table top? Mr. Fusion? AAA Battery? Are there other physical limits when we include human safety issues? Let'...
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4answers
28k views

What would happen if all 433 nuclear reactors had meltdowns? [closed]

NOTE: This was adapted from another question that I asked recently. Apparently, a 30km radius around Chernobyl will not be safe for humans for another 20,000 years. The more recent 2011 Fukushima ...
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3answers
397 views

When and how would Earth's history diverge if uranium/plutonium weren't present?

Let's imagine an Earth clone devoid of naturally occurring fissile materials—and, for comprehensiveness' sake, also devoid of fertile materials like thorium and americium that could be used to produce ...
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11answers
5k views

How would a pure fusion bomb change modern warfare

Currently most Nukes are actually thermonuclear fusion bombs ignited by a fission (uranium or plutoniom) bomb. The fission bomb is like a lighting match that s needed to trigger the more powerful ...