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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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Is there any version of an ion drive, fictional or not, that would be able to create torchship-like acceleration for interplanetary travel? [closed]

Im trying to find a way to get a torch-ship up to some 0.x % of lightspeed with a ion-thrust like engine. Let assume power is a non-issue, unless its becoming absurd (it makes no sense to propel a ...
BigDumb's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
2k views

How big should this starship's power system be?

I have a near future starship that weighs about 10,000 tons. I've determined that the ship needs a 500 megawatt fission reactor, but the problem is that even though nuclear fuel rods are obscenely ...
Nosajimiki's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
199 views

What noise would a nuclear gas turbine make? [closed]

At the core of the powerpacks of the upcoming generation of powered exoskeletons are dusty plasma fission fragment reactors, in which nanoparticles of nuclear fuel inside a vacuum undergo a fission ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
140 views

What will happen to nuclear power stations / reactors if chain reaction suddenly stops to provide energy?

What will happen to reactors if nuclear fission chain reactions in some specific areas will just stop working? Other types of nuclear phenomena (ones with gamma rays, positrons,etc) are still in ...
Tauri's user avatar
  • 338
3 votes
3 answers
760 views

The late-victorian nuclear-thruster

Nuclear fission! How hard can that be? Nuclear reactors have been quietly humming under the earth's surface only a few billion years ago after all. It's very convenient then, that my planet's quite a ...
NimRad's user avatar
  • 1,222
19 votes
7 answers
7k views

Could a steam-age civilization trial-and-error their way to a nuclear reactor if they had access to enough fissile material?

I think this boils down to a question of how much fundamental understanding is needed to build a very basic nuclear reactor to boil water. If fissile material was readily available to an otherwise ...
Adam Kabbeke's user avatar
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4 votes
6 answers
3k views

Can You Make A Tiny Nuclear Reactor By Employing Supercritical Conditions For Brief Periods Of Time?

The idea is that you would have pieces of plutonium or U233 close enough that if left to their own devices they should go supercritical in a fraction of a second. However, in between the pieces you ...
Vakus Drake's user avatar
  • 2,646
3 votes
3 answers
306 views

Feasibility of Tiny Nuclear Engines

In this setting nuclear material is incredibly cheap, while all hydrocarbons need to be synthesized from scratch. Additionally people have shadow magic which allows them to both easily shield against ...
Vakus Drake's user avatar
  • 2,646
13 votes
13 answers
5k views

What sort of nuclear-based transportation would be best suited to cheaply transporting large amount of cargo if radiation weren't a concern?

In this scenario people are in a constant war on an infinite flat world with the geography of Antarctica's interior (but with no liquid water or hydrocarbons). Notably this world has an abundance of ...
Vakus Drake's user avatar
  • 2,646
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

The Frozen Star - Can U-238 reactors be used as a energy source for 10,000 years?

I was watching this Minecraft Animation video based on a scientific concept about what would happen if we froze the Sun - What happens if we Freeze The Sun- Portrayed by Minecraft. In this video, ...
Alastor's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
233 views

Could a sufficiently heavy element serve as a muon source to catalyze nuclear fusion?

I have lately been researching methods of "cold fusion", or fusion reactions which do not generate much waste heat, for use as a spacecraft power system (my propulsion system idea is ...
Lelu's user avatar
  • 1,042
27 votes
11 answers
6k views

Nuclear Piston Engine - Is it possible?

While researching unique methods of nuclear energy generation and propulsion, I encountered many things, both in rocketry and aerospace. For instance, the nuclear thermal jet engine. However, I found ...
Jefferey Dawson's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
87 views

Power Source in VENUS [closed]

**What is the best Power Source to use in VENUS to generate electrical Power by using the properties of the VENUS land? ** I was thinking about the RTG but I found a lot of disadvantages of it.
ahmed farahat's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
510 views

How effectively recover enriched uranium from nuclear impact site?

In the world(not Earth, but eath-like), I am building there was a nuclear exchange recently. Recently, I mean 25(subject to change) years into the past. I am describing a small clump of cities near ...
FrogOfJuly's user avatar
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4 votes
6 answers
496 views

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 ...
Fulano's user avatar
  • 209
3 votes
3 answers
430 views

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 ...
sirOrange17's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
722 views

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 ...
Vogon Poet's user avatar
  • 8,179
6 votes
2 answers
266 views

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 ...
FIRES_ICE's user avatar
  • 3,153
11 votes
8 answers
5k views

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 ...
Adam Reynolds's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
185 views

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 ...
Kav's user avatar
  • 305
4 votes
5 answers
271 views

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 ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
  • 12.8k
-3 votes
1 answer
211 views

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. ...
sameera lakshitha's user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
348 views

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 ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
  • 12.8k
2 votes
1 answer
152 views

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 ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
  • 12.8k
9 votes
4 answers
1k views

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 ...
Seraphim's user avatar
  • 4,981
6 votes
1 answer
255 views

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. ...
hijarian's user avatar
  • 257
2 votes
6 answers
586 views

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 ...
Galaxy's user avatar
  • 1,173
1 vote
1 answer
126 views

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 ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 171
2 votes
2 answers
62 views

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 ...
Incognito's user avatar
  • 38.5k
6 votes
8 answers
1k 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, ...
DT Cooper's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
251 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'...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 171
9 votes
3 answers
773 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 ...
Tristan Klassen's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
96 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 ...
Luke Duffy's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
154 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 ...
Julia's user avatar
  • 29
1 vote
3 answers
345 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 ...
user6760's user avatar
  • 48k
7 votes
2 answers
453 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 ...
A Kaelber's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
312 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, ...
user6760's user avatar
  • 48k
8 votes
1 answer
856 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 ...
Greenie E.'s user avatar
  • 2,536
1 vote
3 answers
922 views

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-...
Jacob Blaustein's user avatar
3 votes
7 answers
1k views

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 ...
justthisonequestion's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
4k views

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 ...
Stack Tracer's user avatar
9 votes
10 answers
600 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 ...
user6760's user avatar
  • 48k
1 vote
8 answers
356 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 ...
user6760's user avatar
  • 48k
5 votes
5 answers
447 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 ...
Shadow1024's user avatar
  • 10.1k
0 votes
3 answers
108 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 ...
Christopher Wojtan's user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
1k 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, ...
Geronimo's user avatar
  • 2,527
3 votes
6 answers
287 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 ...
James R.'s user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
416 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 ...
Chickenpeep's user avatar
  • 2,503
37 votes
19 answers
9k 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....
Vincent's user avatar
  • 2,329
4 votes
3 answers
665 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. ...
Boo Radley's user avatar
  • 1,196