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 efficient would a photon-intermediate direct energy conversion sytem be when combined with a fusion reactor? [on hold]

Would such a thing be practical? According to this study it would be: https://books.google.com/books?id=UtBKDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA97&lpg=PA97&dq=Photon-intermediate+direct+energy+conversion+fusion&...
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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
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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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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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984 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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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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373 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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350 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
226 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
101 views

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
297 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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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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299 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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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
316 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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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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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. ...
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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
580 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
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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
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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
379 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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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 ...
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How can nuclear power produce -electricity- in space when energy must be converted differently?

Hear me out before you downvote; It's not as simple as it seems. On Earth, nuclear reactions produce heat energy. This is used to heat water, creating steam, powering turbines connected to generators ...
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an artificial fission star

A K2+ civilization wants to build a fission star, a huge mass of fissile material which doesn't collapse due to the radiation emitted by its fission decay. I know there are reactors like the aqueous ...
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4answers
648 views

How big/powerful would your fusion reactor need to be to power the engines of a 32km long starship?

Let's assume the reactor takes up about 4 vertical kilometers and has the same radius as the ship (4km). This gives you a volume of about 2.01e11 m^3, which given about 3-5% of the reactor's estimated ...
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How to detect North Korean fusion plant? [closed]

I have a story where world finds out that North Koreans have built a fusion power plant that produces 4 gigawatts of electricity (*) and they don't reveal it's existence, for unknown reasons they don'...
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6answers
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What would it take to make thorium a prominent energy source?

Thorium power plants were a thing that was researched and ultimately abandoned; however, for all intents and purposes, it's safer than any power source we have today. In our timeline, the first such ...
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What political/historical factors could create acceptance of peaceful nuclear explosions?

I have been poking at the idea of an eventual re-emergence of the PACER concept, where energy is obtained by detonating nuclear explosions... but not exactly in the same form. After humans become ...
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Will unattended nuclear power plants actually cause damage to their surroundings?

Scenario: Deadly virus wiped out 80 - 90% world population and it did it pretty quickly (in 2 months) Although it is plausible that among these 10 - 20% of survivors will be people who actually know ...
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1answer
218 views

Teleport and detonate 5 small atomic bombs that cause maximum panic and societal collapse? [closed]

Suppose an evil scientist has a teleportation device and 5 atomic bombs, each one only as powerful as the one dropped on Hiroshima. What would be the best targets to create maximum panic to the ...
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Is helium 3 lucrative enough to justify the mining of the moon?

I've been trying to come up with a scenario in which space stations and lunar bases are established but are considered controversial. I sort of figure that if corporations started mining the moon that ...
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2answers
378 views

A modern or near-future civilization without nuclear technology?

Would it be possible for a fully modern civilization (i.e. quite like our own, perhaps slightly more advanced, with near-future tech) to arise on an Earth-like planet devoid of uranium, plutonium, ...
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3answers
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Can nuclear reactor explode like a nuclear bomb? [closed]

A nuclear reactor exploding like a bomb is an element of many stories ("Pacific Rim", etc). From some of these stories it looks like at least some reactors can be blasted just by sending a command ...
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3answers
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North Korea invents nuclear fusion; world domination?

If North Korea developed nuclear fusion, and had essentially unlimited energy, how could it leverage this advantage into world domination? How long would it have to be kept secret, and how could the ...
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Convert radioactivity directly into electricity: Possible or not?

Is it possible to directly convert radioactivity to turn it into electricity? If yes, then what is the conversion rate?
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5answers
458 views

Portable nuclear reactor that can be brought to medieval age

A hero travels to another world that is like the medieval age of Earth. He needs a portable power generator. Is there any portable, low maintenance, at least 10 MW, reactor or energy producer that ...
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What would it take to make a modern(ish) nuclear reactor release fallout?

I'm trying (failing) to write a story set within the exclusion zone around a nuclear power plant incident set in the near future. The 'incident' that leads to the exclusion zone being set up isn't the ...
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Can Average Joe reboot the nuclear power plant?

Setup: The year is 2018. Malicious virus escaped secret lab and managed to kill 99% of all humans between January and April 2016. Not-so-average Joe spent his last two years of basic survival with the ...
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Is it possible for an organism to evolve to generate its own nuclear power?

Is it possible for an organism to evolve to biologically generate its own nuclear power? If so, how would this evolution occur?