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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8answers
281 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 ...
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5answers
311 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
86 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 ...
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5answers
857 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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6answers
136 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 ...
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3answers
189 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
258 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
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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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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
407 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
362 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
230 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
103 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
307 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
345 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
306 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
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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
322 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
616 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
220 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
391 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. ...
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2answers
415 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
604 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
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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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4answers
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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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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
29k 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
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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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5answers
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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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2answers
424 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
365 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
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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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4answers
24k 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
383 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
4k 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 ...
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4answers
487 views

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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3answers
236 views

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
661 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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4answers
518 views

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
3k views

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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4answers
139 views

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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10answers
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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
220 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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5answers
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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
379 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
2k views

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
660 views

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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15answers
5k views

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?