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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
76
votes
12answers
19k views

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 ...
52
votes
19answers
32k views

How can I build a Nuclear Reactor in my backyard? [closed]

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 ...
50
votes
10answers
61k views

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 ...
37
votes
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....
27
votes
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'...
26
votes
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 ...
25
votes
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 ...
24
votes
9answers
8k 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 ...
22
votes
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 ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

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?
15
votes
4answers
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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
14
votes
3answers
418 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. ...
13
votes
8answers
1k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
493 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
29k 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 ...
10
votes
16answers
7k 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?
10
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
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,...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
9
votes
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 ...
9
votes
10answers
485 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
809 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
612 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
426 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
256 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, ...
6
votes
8answers
870 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, ...
6
votes
1answer
301 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
156 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. ...
6
votes
3answers
278 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
394 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
909 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, ...
5
votes
4answers
762 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
418 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?
5
votes
1answer
198 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'...
5
votes
4answers
146 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
506 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
468 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. ...
3
votes
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 ...
3
votes
4answers
422 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
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 ...
3
votes
3answers
238 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
440 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
votes
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 ...
3
votes
6answers
181 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
votes
3answers
812 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
223 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
404 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
389 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 ...