Originally Posted by capngeo
Obviously not an economic reality for cruising boats, but are there not reactors on some satellites? I would think they would have to be a lot smaller than 200 tons!
The problem with using the design of the nuclear power on Satelites, on your boat is they have no shielding. They are basically a pure ball of plutonium, or equivalent, allowed to react uncontrollably on a long boom arm to keep them from cooking
, which are already radiation shielded because space is also full of radiation. a thermocouple array generates electricity, one downside - needs a continuos supply of cold, (space or arctic only).
There are scalable designs that use nuclear power.
1. A watch battery
sized cell that is two high efficiancy solar
cells sandwiched with a thin layer of radium, or polonium. Think of it as a D-cell that can power a flashlight for 1000 years continuosly.
2. A battery
the size of a water
heater that has several plates, one coated with an Alpha emmiter, (plus), the second coated with a beta emmiter, (minus). inside a lead and steel
case. 1000watts for hundreds of years.
There are millions of ways to generate electricity from nuclear power. We have concentrated on the biggest, most clumsy, and most inefficient way. Basically a big steam engine
that burns uranium instead of coal.
reaction of breaking a heavier element into a lighter element, changing the energy states of a few subatomic particles, and rearranging the electron shells of a few atoms create changes that can be converted into any of the 4 forces.
Heat is a waste product that is only a small percentage of the energy generated, and the only one we use in the big commercial
reactors. The "waste" is even more radioactive than the original fuel!
It is true building a huge radiactive steam engine
in your sailboat is a bad idea, but a solar
cell array coated with a thin sheet of a phosphorescing element that gives you electricity 24 hours a day powering an electric
drive is not only doable, but practical...almost