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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How might a soviet coup have occurred in the wake of the Chernobyl Disaster? [closed]

On 26th April, 1986, Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear power plant exploded. The cause was ultimately due to a complex interplay of poor design, poor construction, poor operating practice, poor ...
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5 answers
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For how much and for how long would a "Closed Cycle Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine" generate thrust for a floating ship?

Context/TLDR: The "Closed Cycle Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine" is just a big nuclear steam engine that in this specific case, uses the (non radioactive) water steam to stay in air, at the ...
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Is a Nuclear Thermal Propelled Submarine Possible?

So I've recently read about NTR's and how they can be applied in space. Here is a link to the website that I've looked at: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist2.php#ntrsolidcore It ...
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2 votes
5 answers
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In this alternate history, what great 19th century mind would most likely create the first nuclear powered engine?

I’m bringing nuclear power to the 19th century and need to know who had the tools and connections to become the 19th century “Father of nuclear power.” Background: The Real World Raw, unenriched ...
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4 votes
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Unforeseen Consequences of Limiting Nuclear Fission

From my understanding nuclear fission takes place in two different scenarios and correlates with the speed of a neutron. In terms of material, we have fissionable material which undergo nuclear ...
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11 votes
8 answers
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How might nuclear power have never been developed?

I've been thinking about a world in which nuclear power and nuclear weapons were never developed. What kind of mechanism would allow this to be possible? Nuclear weapons seem the easiest option, with ...
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4 votes
4 answers
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How to cool Venusian atmosphere down?

Carbon dioxide dominates the Venusian atmosphere. While I think it is possible to use the thermal energy in the atmosphere to split carbon dioxide to carbon and oxygen, the process may be too slow to ...
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With modern-day/near-future (i.e. potentially realizable within 20 years) technology, can a nuclear reactor with these characteristics be built?

I'm writing about a nuclear-powered tank. Yes, I know about what the problems associated with it are. No, the people in the setting don't care about radioactive contamination of their environment, or ...
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Can we fulfill the world electricity production by nuclear power? [closed]

Nuclear energy is a form of energy released from the nucleus, the core of atoms, made up of protons and neutrons. In today's world has 450 commercial nuclear power reactors operable in 30 countries. ...
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5 votes
5 answers
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What type of safety features would a commercial nuclear jet aircraft have?

Let's say that you have a commercially/privately-operated jet aircraft. It's not something that's going to be used by a single pilot, or someone making mail runs, or a bush pilot; it's more of the ...
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2 votes
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How much thermal energy, in joules per centimeter squared, is required to ignite common aerospace materials?

How much thermal energy, measured in joules per centimeter squared, would be required to: melt (or ignite, if possible) commonly-used commercial airliner paint melt (or ignite, if possible) commonly ...
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Why would NSWR's be used when Orion drives are around?

In the setting I'm making, Orion drives are one of the primary forms of propulsion used in spacecraft. I have been thinking of adding Nuclear Salt Water Rockets (the lithium variety) alongside Orion ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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How self-sufficient a fast breeder nuclear power plant can be in a post-apocalyptic setting?

Setting The full society collapse is starting, and a group of people know it. It may or may not lead to a total extinction event. They can't protect a whole city but a couple of hectares is doable. ...
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2 votes
6 answers
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How would the sudden disappearance of nuclear weapons and power plants affect Earth geopolitics?

Backstory The setting is Earth in 2021 OTL. An invisible space station of an arbitrarily advanced alien civilization is orbiting around Earth keeping watch on humanity. The aliens have determined that ...
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Could a pebble-bed reactor provide sporadic power for millions of years?

The device needed is a monitoring system. Aliens leave a probe on Earth or orbiting Earth, which typically lies dormant, but it awakes every 1,000 years or so to check life's status on Earth. There's ...
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2 answers
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How can a summoning circle dilute the effects of radiation over a wide surface area?

Summoning circles are a way to communicate with entities within the ethereal realm from beyond the veil. A mage uses the summoning circle as a bridge to bring the entity from its realm and ...
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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, ...
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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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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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2 votes
2 answers
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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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1 vote
2 answers
130 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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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 ...
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7 votes
2 answers
411 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
285 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, ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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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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What would be the best way to power a mecha? [closed]

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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3 votes
7 answers
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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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15 votes
4 answers
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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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9 votes
10 answers
535 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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1 vote
8 answers
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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 ...
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5 votes
5 answers
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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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3 answers
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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 ...
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5 votes
5 answers
936 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, ...
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3 votes
6 answers
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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 ...
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3 votes
3 answers
276 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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37 votes
19 answers
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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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4 votes
3 answers
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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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10 votes
6 answers
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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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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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-1 votes
1 answer
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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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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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0 votes
2 answers
309 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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1 vote
3 answers
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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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2 votes
2 answers
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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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3 votes
4 answers
527 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
448 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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24 votes
9 answers
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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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3 votes
4 answers
485 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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5 votes
4 answers
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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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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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