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Old 11-07-2009, 13:37   #1
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Nuclear Power vs Internal Combustion

Here is a question for all you scientific yachters out there. With the advances in nuclear technology making reactors very small, when will the yachting industry develop a micro reactor that would take the place of internal combustion. Imagine a day when you would not have to fuel for many, many years, and have all the quiet energy you would ever need. And who couldn't use more water tankage? The technology is very advanced toward that goal. Check it out for yourself.

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Old 11-07-2009, 13:48   #2
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I think there are a number major reasons this will never happen.

Weight....reactors are very heavy. You also have to include the weight of a steam turbine, multiple heat exchangers, reduction gears and condenser when you count the weight of the power plant.

Safety and Politics...we all know the hazards of radiation. Most countries I imagine would ban any yachtie who wants to bring a nuclear reactor into their country.

Expense...I cant imagine a nuclear reactor ever being cheap to operate.

Knowledge....these are not simple devices.

National Security...just what the world needs is for enriched uranium to fall into the wrong hands. Can you imagine someone making a dirty bomb with one of these?

BTW, I am all for nuclear power but I don't think that nuclear power for yachts is something we will ever see in our lifetimes.


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Old 11-07-2009, 13:52   #3
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I wouldn't hold your breath but even if you don't, you will never see it.

Admittedly, all the reactors I ever worked on were large for ship propulsion, but in addition to being, large they were heavy, complex, contaminating, expensive and dangerous for the neophyte. Everyone who worked on, or around them, had to be schooled, qualified, tested, and experienced. All directions for use and operation had to be in writing and complied with to the letter or the job stopped and the paper had to be changed. Then when the paper was changed the change had to be approved by just about the whole world.

I wouldn't want one if I ever thought they would work in a boat.

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Old 11-07-2009, 13:59   #4
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A world where fissionable material is available to anybody who wants it? No thanks.
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Old 11-07-2009, 14:04   #5
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I'm holding out for a fuel cell that extracts energy from post-consumer diet coke.
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Old 11-07-2009, 19:17   #6
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The answer sadly is never and it's solely due to politics (sadly), I would install one with no hesitation, and they don't need to be all that heavy (measured in tons) as it would only need to put out a trickle of energy but the issue is politics, as soon as you release them you have a large % of the material you need for a dirty bomb and anyone with a basic understanding of physics and engineering "could" be a potential nutcase, but it would solve a lot of issues (forget tiny boats like ours) but anyone 100ft and up would benefit and so would the environment! + if we could supply MW's to ships they could make really good speed!
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Old 11-07-2009, 21:53   #7
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Very unlikely for boats but small, unattended package plants are very much on the horizon. The attached is only the latest in a string of articles about small neuclear plants that would serve a relatively small area, much like the small "package plants" for sewage that serve only a single subdivision.

Technology Review: Small Nuclear

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