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IMForeman
August 31st, 2005, 10:13 AM
Concerns over Nuclear reactors in space (http://www.newscientistspace.com/article.ns?id=dn7928) may ground NASA's real-life Prometheus before it's off the drawing board.

Personally, I have no problem with using nuclear reactors in space... I think most opposition is just reactionary.

-IMF

Col. Newman
August 31st, 2005, 02:46 PM
I really hate people that say that Nuclear power is dangerous, it perfectly safe as long as you maintain it, and efficient and practical too

iLemon
August 31st, 2005, 02:49 PM
But what if something goes wrong? There's no guarantee that it wont, accidents happen whether you like them or not, better safe than sorry.

Col. Newman
August 31st, 2005, 02:53 PM
if it's in space then it's not that big of a deal, space it full of radiation

iLemon
August 31st, 2005, 02:59 PM
People can be pretty paranoid :P It seems like a pretty good idea but this bits got me a bit worried-


He says these by-products of fission could effectively "blind" space telescopes such as Hubble, Spitzer, and Swift if the reactors operated near the Earth, as they did in the past. "We didn't see a benefit of this technology for any kind of pure science that peers outside the solar system or does fundamental physics tests," he says.

If theres anyway around it then I'm all for it. I love space exploration and this seems like a terrific idea. :D

gallywag
August 31st, 2005, 03:21 PM
but isnt nasa designing a new engin/reactor the thermol ion engin i remember reading about it on the nasa page some where

6thMonolith
August 31st, 2005, 04:05 PM
Doesn't NASA store its Nuclear Generators during launch in a way that they can be reused if the rocket crashes? I think I read something like that on the other (real)Prometheus thread.

ColdZero
August 31st, 2005, 05:27 PM
People are all crazy about Nuclear reactors in space. They are perfectly safe. They aren't going to start the reaction here on earth, when the ship is in orbit the reactor will be brought online. If it did explode on the launchpad, there isn't that much radioactive material. The nuclear reactor they want to use would be more radioactive as time goes on. Plutonium reactors on the other had are far more radioactive when they are on the launchpad then the end of their lives, and these have already been used on a few probes.

M-Ray
August 31st, 2005, 06:26 PM
Asteroid 1950DA is ½ mile in diameter and slated to impact earth in 2880.
If we are to address this and other threats we will need the speed and endurance of nuclear propulsion.
No one can claim that nuclear is risk free, conversely not going nuclear has its own risks.

Eoin
August 31st, 2005, 09:01 PM
Cool I made a thread about that :) , well we dont have to worry about 1950DA because by 2800 we'll have advanced enough to deflect any asteroids that is endangering this planet. Unless we get hit by a mile long one in the mean time :p i wouldnt worry about it. As for the nuke reactor in space who cares it cant harm us, people are only complaining about it for the sake of complaining about something :)

Three PhDs
September 1st, 2005, 02:08 AM
People are all crazy about Nuclear reactors in space. They are perfectly safe. They aren't going to start the reaction here on earth, when the ship is in orbit the reactor will be brought online. If it did explode on the launchpad, there isn't that much radioactive material. The nuclear reactor they want to use would be more radioactive as time goes on. Plutonium reactors on the other had are far more radioactive when they are on the launchpad then the end of their lives, and these have already been used on a few probes.Never heard of a reactor like that, though haven't gone into much detail with reactors anyway. Care to elaborate?

Lord §okar
September 1st, 2005, 02:48 AM
Plutonium reactors on the other had are far more radioactive when they are on the launchpad then the end of their lives, and these have already been used on a few probes.
Plutonium reactors?

Darkstar
September 1st, 2005, 03:55 AM
i think that people are extrememly paranoid about neuclear reactors, radiation in space is not a problem and getting them up there is about the only risk there would be to the general population which in its self is small, we're not talking about bombs in space that they would use on other countries i really fail to see the problem with it at all.

1. its safe to use in space and on earth if maintained with care, which is becoming safer every year.

2. creates huge amounts of power to sustain the planet.

3. next to no atmospheric contamination with the only exception being radioactive material which is treated in the safest manner.

4. advances in neuclear energy will open the human race to all sorts of new developments and will most certainly help in manned sapce exploration area, such as mars and so on.

i think the only drawbacks are it is expensive to use but im not the expert but in the long run the rewards are alot more to earth. :)

Indum'kra
September 1st, 2005, 08:28 AM
Well if there's real-life prometheus programe, then we just have to make real-life naquadah :p
I bet the Gateworld NASA ain't too happy you know. All that money for nothing.

FeloniousMonk
September 1st, 2005, 09:13 AM
But what if something goes wrong? There's no guarantee that it wont, accidents happen whether you like them or not, better safe than sorry.
Yes accidents can happen but to follow the mantra of "better safe than sorry" would mean we'd never go into space again. :rolleyes:

Anyone worried about the dangers of nuclear power for any use, be it space travel or to power our own society as opposed to relying on frakking oil, needs to look at the US Navy.

Three PhDs
September 1st, 2005, 01:00 PM
Anyone worried about the dangers of nuclear power for any use, be it space travel or to power our own society as opposed to relying on frakking oil, needs to look at the US Navy.A reactor in a carrier is somewhat different from a reactor in a space probe.

Zekk
September 20th, 2005, 07:30 PM
Hasnt any body heard of the plasma engine thats underway, i mean it would basicly mean
a real (stargate version) of the prometheus, if the energy is handled properly. (not properly = Big BOOM!!!!)

Sum1
September 20th, 2005, 08:17 PM
i think that people are extrememly paranoid about neuclear reactors, radiation in space is not a problem and getting them up there is about the only risk there would be to the general population which in its self is small, we're not talking about bombs in space that they would use on other countries i really fail to see the problem with it at all.

1. its safe to use in space and on earth if maintained with care, which is becoming safer every year.

2. creates huge amounts of power to sustain the planet.

3. next to no atmospheric contamination with the only exception being radioactive material which is treated in the safest manner.

4. advances in neuclear energy will open the human race to all sorts of new developments and will most certainly help in manned sapce exploration area, such as mars and so on.

i think the only drawbacks are it is expensive to use but im not the expert but in the long run the rewards are alot more to earth. :)
I'm not an expert in this by any means, but as far as I can tell, the problem is that if there's a problem while it's in the atmosphere, you could spread radiation over quite a large portion of the planet. Granted it's not very much, vut it could still be dangerous. Don't forget about the lead they use to stop gamma radiation from leaking out - that's also poisonous and you don't want to get any of that into any living thing since it's a heavy metal and won't go away. Lead poisoning has been a problem in some parts of the world where the lead got into water, which then was absorbed by fish who were then consumed by people. There's all kinds of dangers you have to consider, especially with nuclear power.

Jarnin
September 24th, 2005, 01:20 AM
I'm not an expert in this by any means, but as far as I can tell, the problem is that if there's a problem while it's in the atmosphere, you could spread radiation over quite a large portion of the planet. Granted it's not very much, vut it could still be dangerous. Don't forget about the lead they use to stop gamma radiation from leaking out - that's also poisonous and you don't want to get any of that into any living thing since it's a heavy metal and won't go away. Lead poisoning has been a problem in some parts of the world where the lead got into water, which then was absorbed by fish who were then consumed by people. There's all kinds of dangers you have to consider, especially with nuclear power.
Nasa has been sending plutonium up on spacecrafts for a long time. The first Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTG) was sent up in 1961. These RTGs are basically nuclear batteries that slowly lose their production capabilities over time as the isotope fuel is fissled away.
Nasa really knows how to build RTGs as well. For example:
There have been five known accidents involving RTG powered spacecraft. The first two were launch failures involving U.S. Transit and Nimbus satellites. Two more were failures of Soviet Cosmos missions containing RTG-powered lunar rovers. Finally, the failure of the Apollo 13 mission meant that the Lunar Module, which carried the RTG, reentered the atmosphere and burnt up over Fiji. The RTG itself survived reentry of the Earth's atmosphere intact, plunging into the Tonga trench in the Pacific Ocean. The US Department of Energy has conducted seawater tests and determined that the graphite casing, which was designed to withstand reentry, is stable and no release of plutonium will occur. Subsequent investigations have found no increase in the natural background radiation in the area.
Nasa designed the RTG to withstand reentry intact. If they can do that with a nuclear battery the size of a refrigerator, they can design a low-power reactor that can survive as well.

I think the nuclear scares of the 60's are still bleeding over into modern times. For example, I own a keychain which glows in the dark. Inside the colored plastic keychain is a borosilicate glass tube containing a small amount of tritium. Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen, and has a halflife of about 12 years. Tritium decay emits an electron (beta radiation) which excites phosphorus coating the inside of the glass tube, and it glows white.
The nifty thing about these glow sticks compared to the chemical ones you buy around halloween, is that where those stop glowing in a day or two, these will glow for 10-15 years.

The glow rings aren't available for sale in the U.S. because tritium is a radioactive material, which is commonly used in making hydrogen bombs. The interesting thing is that tritium is also used for illuminating rifle sights so hunters can hunt in low-light conditions.

So rifles with tritium illuminated sights = Ok.
But keychains with tritium illuminated colorful glow = Terrorist.

There was recently a breakthrough in what is being called "Betavoltaic Devices". In a nutshell, it's a tritium glow stick, but instead of glowing it produces electricity.
The idea is that your laptop runs on batteries, but you have to plug it in to recharge the batteries every night.
With one of these betavoltaic devices in your laptop, it would charge the batteries as they drain, and you'd wouldn't need to plug your laptop into an AC outlet for 10-15 years. Same with your iPod, cellphone, or whatever digital gizmo that you could think of.
But then you do a little research on "betavoltaics" and find that it's a NUCLEAR FISSION battery. Even though beta radiation is relatively harmless outside the body (don't eat tritium kids!), it's got that pesty "nuclear" word in it, which is known for turning people into lepers, zombies and mutants.


Sadly, I knew that the NASA Prometheus project would run into problems. It's entire mission is designed around building a nuclear reactor that can sustain Ion-like drive systems and sustain probes for decades: In other words, trips to the outer solar system. That's not part of Bush's "vision for space".

Bush wants to spend the NASA budget on getting us back to the moon (before China gets there), and getting us to Mars (to say we can still beat anyone in space). It's a propaganda stunt, not science, just like Apollo was. Luckily, Apollo actually produced alot of science for the dollars spent, so I have hopes for Bush's vision, but it'll probably get killed in an administration or two.
I already see people *****ing about it going to cost 100 billion over the next 12 years, while the US has a ballooning deficit and a war that costs 1 billion a day. If we get a moderate republican or conservative democrat in office in 2008, Bush's vision for NASA could very well go down the drain.

Insolent_Tauri
September 28th, 2005, 02:09 PM
I sure hope not. I think it's about time we got seriously into space.

And as for nuclear reactors in space... I don't see any significant reason why it'd be dangerous. A small amount of Uranium-235 in a sealed container (a really strong one like that graphite one around the RTG) will not hurt anyone even if something goes horribly horribly wrong. And besides, how often *does* something go wrong? It's not like we're going to have to do hundreds of launches, just a couple would do fine. And since most of our rockets have failure rates well below 1% (and the russian ones are even better, go figure), the chances of a catastrophe are tiny. And once we have it up there, we can prime the reactor in a really high orbit, and hell, we can put chemical boosters on it so if something goes horribly wrong we can fling it into the sun. And we can just have a really long cable that plugs it into the ISS. Ther ewe go, no more annoying solar panels to get jammed! =P

I also think that we should build more nuke plants on earth. And as for what to do with the waste... well I've been thinking. Why not shoot it into the sun? I realise that this may sound like a somewhat ignorant solution, but if we can work out a safe way of getting it into space, the rest should be easy. A lot easier than trying to get into orbit. All we have to do is HIT a massive ball of fire. How hard can that be? The problem, of course, is getting it into space in the first place. How far off do you think a heavy lift ship is? ;)

SmallTimePerson
October 2nd, 2005, 05:06 AM
I also think that we should build more nuke plants on earth. And as for what to do with the waste...
western australia is finally thinking of stopping some of its uranium bans. i think a nuke power plant is being planned...

Insolent_Tauri
October 5th, 2005, 09:33 AM
Yay for nuclear power!
Plus, if we have nuke plants available, it makes fusion a much more attainable goal. And before I get a bunch of people all over me saying "fission and fusion are different, n00b!", let me explain.

Nuclear power makes a lot of electricity. A lot of a lot. At the moment, to get a fusion reactor to run requires a lot of energy. As much as can be produced by a nuclear reactor, in fact. So the more nuke plants we have available, the more cheap power we have available, and the more practical a fusion plant is. What we can do is put the fusion plant next to the fission plant, and we plug the fusion plant into the fission plant to start it up. If the fusion plant has to just draw off the grid, and for some reason the fusion plant goes offline after fusion plants are providing the bulk of our power, it'd be a hell of a job to get them started again, since there'd be a limited external power supply to use to get them started.

I've just realised that it's early in the morning and a lot of the stuff I'm posting doesn't necisarily make sense. So I'm going to stop now and do damage control later. =P

SG-1ssm
October 5th, 2005, 03:59 PM
Concerns over Nuclear reactors in space (http://www.newscientistspace.com/article.ns?id=dn7928) may ground NASA's real-life Prometheus before it's off the drawing board.

Personally, I have no problem with using nuclear reactors in space... I think most opposition is just reactionary.

-IMF

The opposition is probably environmentalists who are worry that we're "pollute" space. If NASA can't do the Prometheus project then that will be a major set back in having stargate-style ships someday.

SG-1ssm
October 5th, 2005, 04:02 PM
But what if something goes wrong? There's no guarantee that it wont, accidents happen whether you like them or not, better safe than sorry.

Big bang in space. Who cares.

SG-1ssm
October 5th, 2005, 04:04 PM
I really hate it that the envirmentists said nuclear power is dangerous. It is perfectly safe if you know who to do it. It also reduces the air pollution that they are freaking out about.

Dr. Pepper Girl
October 5th, 2005, 07:43 PM
I really hate people that say that Nuclear power is dangerous, it perfectly safe as long as you maintain it, and efficient and practical too
Very true, while having harmful by products, nuclear energy is extremely safe if in a correctly built, controlled, and maintained reactor. The only reason the US Navy uses nuclear power today is that they have been careful and have never had an accident. NASA needs to adapt the same philosophy.

Nice avatar by the way!

SmallTimePerson
October 6th, 2005, 12:25 AM
The opposition is probably environmentalists who are worry that we're "pollute" space. If NASA can't do the Prometheus project then that will be a major set back in having stargate-style ships someday.
its proably less poluting than the engines we currently use.

Insolent_Tauri
October 6th, 2005, 12:30 PM
The only reason the US Navy uses nuclear power today is that they have been careful and have never had an accident.

Not true, as I recall the US Navy lost one nuke sub... the Seawolf, I believe? But only the one. And it was early on, when we weren't really that sure what we were doing. The russions on the other hand... well, their maintenance isn't always up to scratch. :-\

So if we put US reactors on Russian rockets, we'll be set! =D

Myst_Lore
October 6th, 2005, 09:02 PM
If only we had Cold Fusion...that would pwn so hard.. :P

Okay...

Fission produces less energy than Fusion but takes in less as well.

Also, NASA had planned on using a prototype nuclear fusion reactor that used plasma as a propulsion. I don't know if they did it, but that would pwn too.

A good power plant on earth would be:

A fission plant and a fusion plant. The fusion plant fuses the Deutrium into Helium then the helium is pushed through turbines into the fission plant (creating electricity by pushing the turbine along the way) then the fission plant seperates the helium back into deutrium which is then put into the fusion reactor and done again. And then, bam..infinite energy. (To an extent. When hydrogen fuses, it loses some of it's mass which is converted into energy so this process would only work a few times.)

The cool thing is...I will be working at NASA after college. Hurrah for knowing someone on the inside.. :D

EDIT:

Actually, we (the U.S.) lost two subs while Russia lost seven.

EDIT2:

Pollute space? Not possible as everything will eventually be recycled by a passing galaxy or star. No such thing as polluting the unpollutable. How would putting out some radiation be harmful when there are black holes and neutron stars that shoot jets of gamma rays, the most deadly form of radiation?

SmallTimePerson
October 6th, 2005, 09:52 PM
The cool thing is...I will be working at NASA after college. Hurrah for knowing someone on the inside.. :D

how do you get a job there.

TheCaptain
October 6th, 2005, 11:06 PM
Why doesn't someone over at NASA just try to create an self-contained region of subspace time, and call it a Zero Point Module in hallmark of its sci-fi roots? ;) :p

Capt

helio9
October 7th, 2005, 01:41 AM
Most reasonable people realize that there is no real reason why nuclear reactors in space would be dangerous. Miniturization isn't a problem, its common on nuclear subs and Nimitz-class aircraft carriers. And these are both designed to withstand torpedo hits, so shaking isnt a problem either.

What is? Many, many people have very little knowledge, and very little desire to gain that knowledge. To them, nuclear = Churnobyl. Thats it, thats all they see. I get that that event was horrible and that the effect are still being felt, but it CAN'T happen again. Reactors nowadays are designed so that it simply cannot occur. But because of that, the stigma won't go away.:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

SmallTimePerson
October 7th, 2005, 02:31 AM
Why doesn't someone over at NASA just try to create an self-contained region of subspace time, and call it a Zero Point Module in hallmark of its sci-fi roots? ;) :p

Capt
cause anybody that values their scientific reputation won't believe in it.
But im a believer...
try this out zpenergy (www.zpenergy.com)

TheCaptain
October 7th, 2005, 04:03 AM
cause anybody that values their scientific reputation won't believe in it.
But im a believer...
try this out zpenergy (www.zpenergy.com)
lol meant it as a joke (lame as it was), if ya didn't get that :p

But the site is interesting, thou some things there are a little... out there. Though, God bless those labcoat boys and gals off if they do off a ZPM-esque device, I'll be one of the first hollering in support of em gettin a Nobel :)

Capt

SmallTimePerson
October 7th, 2005, 04:09 AM
lol meant it as a joke (lame as it was), if ya didn't get that :p

But the site is interesting, thou some things there are a little... out there. Though, God bless those labcoat boys and gals off if they do off a ZPM-esque device, I'll be one of the first hollering in support of em gettin a Nobel :)

Capt
its quite easy to make, zpe, just the hard part is extracting it
i think any1 who makes it will have an instant nobel

Gate_traveler
October 7th, 2005, 08:19 AM
This is a great thread, and i have a few takes on this subject thatt i have debated for a few years with freinds.

Nuclear power on the whole is the power source of the futrue IMO. Its clean, effcient, and relatively cheep. Alot of envronmentalists happen to bring up the worst case scenarios, and tend to be doomsayers. Im not an expert or anyhting but anytime there has been a problem or a possible problem im pretty sure they fix it. Every year they make improvements. I beleive that the root of the issue falls down to the fossil fuel industry, its one of the most powerful organisations in the world. Nuclear power is a threat to their profits, so i think they fuel the flames so to speak of anything that will make nuclear power look bad. I also truly beleive that why they havent seriously developed hybrid cars untill now, the US as a whole demanded something be done about energy costs. I fell if there were more nuclear plants just in america alone it would save consumers billions of dollars a year, and create a better more efficient power grid (less blackouts).

As far as nuclear power in space, there is no real argument that will convince me that we shouldnt do it, i mean no one is going to develop a reactor for space and cut corners. I think a lot of people are looking back to past fears and dwelling on them. It has ben stated several times earlier in this thread that in space who cares if it blew up, i seriously doubt that if it did blow up it would harm the planet, there are far worse things out there that occur naturaly. I seriously feel that developing nuclear powered probes and ships would actually save money in the future, as nuclear powered probes and ships have a far longer operational life and hence are more useful and can do more work.

Basically the whole problem is if we dont actively make things and improve them along the way we are holding ourselves back as a civilization as a whole, not just in the us. this applies to more then just nuclear power, however its a big part of it. If we do not start making a more profound presence in space soon it could possibly be the downfall of the planet. In closing no matter what we do the time to start acting is now, there are many things that could occur naturaly that would have cataclismic effects, supervocanic eruptions, asteroids hitting the planet, even the poles shifting. Where else is there to go but to space? Starting now will dramatically improve our survival of any event that would harm us as a race on a global scale. thats just my opinion i could be wrong.

helio9
October 7th, 2005, 10:00 AM
Basically the whole problem is if we dont actively make things and improve them along the way we are holding ourselves back as a civilization as a whole, not just in the us.

Thats very, very true, however people argue that that money should instead be spent...feeding people, providing health care, etc. And lets be honest, this stuff isn't exactly cheap. A Nuclear powered shuttle type craft could easily cost 100B (as estimated) by the time all the technologies are developped, not exactly chump change.

While I agree that these project do benefit society as a whole, and that they should be undertaken, there must be a balance.

Gate_traveler
October 7th, 2005, 10:09 AM
Hey, thanks for agreeing with me there, but i want to make sure im understood.

i am just pointing out my take as a whole. i understand that it takes a lot of money and that you have to balance with everyhting else you have to deal with on a gloabl scale. However i think a lot of things are held back simply by people not understading or misinformation. its been said several times that if you can show a report in the positive of something you can dig up something on the same issue that says the oppisite. mt whole point is that using this type of energy is not going to harm the environment of space were something to go wrong.

bascially if we dont activly start pretty soon it will just take that much longer. but i dont want to see us do something with reckless abandon either.

LtColCarter
October 7th, 2005, 10:14 AM
But what if something goes wrong? There's no guarantee that it wont, accidents happen whether you like them or not, better safe than sorry.

Ummm...we do have nuclear subs in our oceans. If something goes wrong....I'd prefer it to be in space instead of in our oceans!

NowIWillDestroyAbydos
October 7th, 2005, 11:10 AM
I posted a link to animation for Prometheus here on GW forum. I'll look for it and then I'll post it here.

Insolent_Tauri
October 7th, 2005, 11:17 AM
If only we had Cold Fusion...that would pwn so hard.. :P

Okay...

Fission produces less energy than Fusion but takes in less as well.

Also, NASA had planned on using a prototype nuclear fusion reactor that used plasma as a propulsion. I don't know if they did it, but that would pwn too.

A good power plant on earth would be:

A fission plant and a fusion plant. The fusion plant fuses the Deutrium into Helium then the helium is pushed through turbines into the fission plant (creating electricity by pushing the turbine along the way) then the fission plant seperates the helium back into deutrium which is then put into the fusion reactor and done again. And then, bam..infinite energy. (To an extent. When hydrogen fuses, it loses some of it's mass which is converted into energy so this process would only work a few times.)

The cool thing is...I will be working at NASA after college. Hurrah for knowing someone on the inside.. :D

EDIT:

Actually, we (the U.S.) lost two subs while Russia lost seven.

EDIT2:

Pollute space? Not possible as everything will eventually be recycled by a passing galaxy or star. No such thing as polluting the unpollutable. How would putting out some radiation be harmful when there are black holes and neutron stars that shoot jets of gamma rays, the most deadly form of radiation?


Okay, Myst_Lore, I'm first going to give you a choice. Please admit to one of the following:
1) You were joking.
2) You don't know the details of fission and would like to learn
3) You're a st00pid n00b who needs to STFU.

If 1, then heh, that's a good one. If 3, then STFU. ;)

But if 2... well, here goes.

In short, you can't have self-sustaining fission with atoms lighter than iron. Also, you can't have self-sustaining fusion with atoms heavier than iron. And iron itself...well, you can't do anything with iron.

So, you can't have self-sustaining fission with light atoms, because when they fiss they take in more energy than they put out. Similarly, the reason that you can't fuse atoms heavier than iron is because to do so makes them both extremely unstable, and the binding energy required to fuse them is far higher than what it might release when fused.

That's the basics. Maybe I'll add more details if I get around to busting out my high school physics book. (Yes, I kept it. I'm a nerd. Sue me. =P)

*EDIT*
Oh, and I stand corrected about the number of US subs lost. What was the other one?

NowIWillDestroyAbydos
October 7th, 2005, 01:53 PM
Here's the Link I told you about
http://sse.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/videos.cfm

Myst_Lore
October 8th, 2005, 10:05 PM
SmallTimePerson:

I am getting a job there because I am a good friend of someone who works there thus increasing my chances.

InsolentTauri:

I'll go with 2, I haven't done much research on Fission, other than what I've read about it. My bad.

SmallTimePerson
October 8th, 2005, 10:14 PM
i found this whilst doing an assignment on Russia. It is of a russian spacecraft that maybe one day used with europe.
kliper (http://www.russianspaceweb.com/kliper.html)

helio9
October 9th, 2005, 10:32 PM
I wonder...wouldn't it be nice if they decided to power the ISS with a nuclear powerplant module? That way, they'd already be developing a space version of a reactor and dealing with whatever issues that may bring with it, without haveing to immediately deal with survivng re-entry.

Jarnin
October 9th, 2005, 10:50 PM
I wonder...wouldn't it be nice if they decided to power the ISS with a nuclear powerplant module?
All the ISS systems were designed around using their solar cells for power. Putting a nuke reactor in the ISS would be overkill on many levels.

The ISS is a joke anyway. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see it decommissioned in the next 10 years.


That way, they'd already be developing a space version of a reactor and dealing with whatever issues that may bring with it, without haveing to immediately deal with survivng re-entry.
They've been developing Radioisotope Thermalelectric Generators for the last 40 years. Going from those to a reactor isn't a far leap.

helio9
October 9th, 2005, 11:56 PM
They've been developing Radioisotope Thermalelectric Generators for the last 40 years. Going from those to a reactor isn't a far leap.

Uh...what? an RTG is a device that gets its energy from radioactive decay, which is a fairly constant, non volatile reaction that doesnt have any large cooling requirements. The same can't be said for a full fledged nuclear reactor. The process by which an RTG generates electricity is passive, we dont have to do anything...a nuclear reactor requires complex regulation to generate usable energy safely...saying it's a not a far leap is well...misleading.

Jarnin
October 10th, 2005, 12:05 AM
Uh...what? an RTG is a device that gets its energy from radioactive decay, which is a fairly constant, non volatile reaction that doesnt have any large cooling requirements. The same can't be said for a full fledged nuclear reactor. The process by which an RTG generates electricity is passive, we dont have to do anything...a nuclear reactor requires complex regulation to generate usable energy safely...saying it's a not a far leap is well...misleading.
You must be an engineer ;)

helio9
October 10th, 2005, 12:39 AM
You must be an engineer ;)
Err...working on it. I'm a first year Electrical engineering student. You?

SmallTimePerson
October 10th, 2005, 02:07 AM
Uh...what? an RTG is a device that gets its energy from radioactive decay, which is a fairly constant, non volatile reaction that doesnt have any large cooling requirements. The same can't be said for a full fledged nuclear reactor. The process by which an RTG generates electricity is passive, we dont have to do anything...a nuclear reactor requires complex regulation to generate usable energy safely...saying it's a not a far leap is well...misleading.
*decides he needs a RTG*
how much power do those things put out?

helio9
October 10th, 2005, 02:29 AM
I have no idea, I doubt there are public schematics for them. But I'd assume that for an array of them for a satellite or something, the whole array might put out a couple hundred watts maximum, and thats for a huge satellite like Cassini.

Oh and you probably don't "need" one of them, they're radioactive lol.

Jarnin
October 10th, 2005, 02:49 AM
Err...working on it. I'm a first year Electrical engineering student. You?
Sorry, I like to pick out engineers from the scientists. It's a game I like to play. I'm a 31 year student of natural philosophy.



*decides he needs a RTG*
how much power do those things put out?
Perhaps you should look here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTG).


I have no idea, I doubt there are public schematics for them. But I'd assume that for an array of them for a satellite or something, the whole array might put out 100W maximum, and thats for a huge satellite like Cassini.

Oh and you probably don't "need" one of them, they're radioactive lol.
Yeah, not for public consumption. For consumers, check out betavoltaics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betavoltaics) instead.

SmallTimePerson
October 10th, 2005, 03:19 AM
Perhaps you should look here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RTG).
Yeah, not for public consumption. For consumers, check out betavoltaics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betavoltaics) instead.
thanks

helio9
October 11th, 2005, 12:16 AM
Betavoltaic cells could be used in a lot of things, but they just don't, because people don't like the idea of a radioactive isotope in their laptops and iPods. And its too close to the word "nuclear". Quite annoying.


Sorry, I like to pick out engineers from the scientists. It's a game I like to play. I'm a 31 year student of natural philosophy.

Ah. I have a vague idea, but I'd love to know how you can tell.

Jarnin
October 11th, 2005, 01:26 AM
Betavoltaic cells could be used in a lot of things, but they just don't, because people don't like the idea of a radioactive isotope in their laptops and iPods.
Yeah, ignorance is pretty scary.


And its too close to the word "nuclear". Quite annoying.
Betavoltaics are 100% safe, as long as you don't eat them, course you probably shouldn't eat batteries anyway;)

SmallTimePerson
October 11th, 2005, 03:15 AM
Betavoltaics are 100% safe, as long as you don't eat them, course you probably shouldn't eat batteries anyway;)
hear that kids, no eating radioactive materials
people are too paranoid about the word nuclear. You mention it on something and they then refer the product as a dangerous thing. Yet if nuclear fusion is perfected it will be 100% safe, yet it will probably be marked for some time as a dangerour way of generating electricity purely because it has the word "nuclear" in the reaction name.

knowsfords
October 11th, 2005, 04:04 AM
Yeah, ignorance is pretty scary.


Betavoltaics are 100% safe, as long as you don't eat them, course you probably shouldn't eat batteries anyway;)


Thank you! I've been trying to remember the term for this kind of battery to prove my point that the the naquida generators aren't generators but batteries to be more precise they're betavoltaic batteries :)

helio9
October 11th, 2005, 12:10 PM
Betavoltaics are 100% safe, as long as you don't eat them, course you probably shouldn't eat batteries anyway;)
Yeah, you dont want a bunch of battery acid burning your insides. Beta radiation can be blocked by a thin sheet of metal, which essentially makes it ideal for batteries...since they're usually encased in metal. Who knows when public perception will change radically enough to allow for them.

SmallTimePerson
October 11th, 2005, 04:54 PM
Yeah, you dont want a bunch of battery acid burning your insides. Beta radiation can be blocked by a thin sheet of metal, which essentially makes it ideal for batteries...since they're usually encased in metal. Who knows when public perception will change radically enough to allow for them.
maybe in 2035 we could by them off the corner store (finally watch Back to the future one. Seen 2 and 3 ages ago). The oinly problem is convincing the public that they can't be used in nuclear weapons by terrorists:rolleyes:

Ascended Times.2
October 11th, 2005, 11:54 PM
hear that kids, no eating radioactive materials
people are too paranoid about the word nuclear. You mention it on something and they then refer the product as a dangerous thing. Yet if nuclear fusion is perfected it will be 100% safe, yet it will probably be marked for some time as a dangerour way of generating electricity purely because it has the word "nuclear" in the reaction name.

Well, let's fix that problem and change the name to something lile "fairyfloss generator" lol, something nice and sweet and avoid that nasty word "nuclear":rolleyes:

SmallTimePerson
October 12th, 2005, 12:18 AM
"fairyfloss generator"
fairyfloss lol.
Maybe they can start off in fairyfloss machines, then popcorn.
Monopolise the confectionary market...

Whatazarian
October 12th, 2005, 02:46 AM
Yay for nuclear power!
Plus, if we have nuke plants available, it makes fusion a much more attainable goal. And before I get a bunch of people all over me saying "fission and fusion are different, n00b!", let me explain.

Nuclear power makes a lot of electricity. A lot of a lot. At the moment, to get a fusion reactor to run requires a lot of energy. As much as can be produced by a nuclear reactor, in fact. So the more nuke plants we have available, the more cheap power we have available, and the more practical a fusion plant is. What we can do is put the fusion plant next to the fission plant, and we plug the fusion plant into the fission plant to start it up. If the fusion plant has to just draw off the grid, and for some reason the fusion plant goes offline after fusion plants are providing the bulk of our power, it'd be a hell of a job to get them started again, since there'd be a limited external power supply to use to get them started.

I've just realised that it's early in the morning and a lot of the stuff I'm posting doesn't necisarily make sense. So I'm going to stop now and do damage control later. =P

Your method is inefficient, The amount of energy to start the fusion reaction would be more than it would produce, by this I mean that the fission plant alone would produce more energy than the two working synonymously.

Lord §okar
October 12th, 2005, 03:01 AM
For one synonymous means two words that have comparatively similar definitions but are written differently. For two the amount of energy that can theoretically be generated by a fusion reactor far outstrips the amount required to keep it running, hence the pursuit of stable fusion.

lokiprime
October 12th, 2005, 07:06 AM
But what if something goes wrong? There's no guarantee that it wont, accidents happen whether you like them or not, better safe than sorry.

Any Accedent in space can be deadly. Especially anything with as much power output as a Nuclear Reactor (or Future technologies which are likely to have a higher power output). That is the reason for full testing of a technology before its use. Dont forget the Current Space shuttle is not perfect there have been Explosions and Accedents that have caused deaths, not to mention the near misses that have also occoured.

I dont think that anything as big as this kind of project can be deemed 100% safe, all that TPTB can do is Do as much research as possible and come up with as many safeguards as possible. And I believe that is the most that we can also ask of them.

Insolent_Tauri
October 12th, 2005, 03:18 PM
InsolentTauri:

I'll go with 2, I haven't done much research on Fission, other than what I've read about it. My bad.

Dude, if you're man enough to admit you didn't know something, you have nothing to be sorry for. Usually when I put something like that on the 'net all I get is an angry, ignorant, poorly-spelled response. I like it here, I think I'll stay. =)

I think some company should start pushing betavoltaics. Betavoltaics are neat.

And Whatazarian, what Lord Sokar said is what I'm rellying on. When we get fusion right, it'll put out WAY more than it sucks in. Potentially two to four orders of magnitude more.

helio9
October 12th, 2005, 11:56 PM
maybe in 2035 we could by them off the corner store (finally watch Back to the future one. Seen 2 and 3 ages ago). The oinly problem is convincing the public that they can't be used in nuclear weapons by terrorists:rolleyes:
There are easier (and more effective) ways for terrorists to hurt us...

SmallTimePerson
October 13th, 2005, 01:36 AM
There are easier (and more effective) ways for terrorists to hurt us...
but the anti party would go "we dont want terrorists getting hold of nuclear devices for use in weapons". The nuclear "stuff" (technical i know) wouldn't be very damaging, but since when has politics been about the truth

Gate_traveler
October 13th, 2005, 12:45 PM
well i say make the bateries anyway and when the terrorists buy the 20 billion bateries its gonna take em to make the bomb we will know cause it looks kinda weird when hakmead comes in to the local wal-mart and buys all the the "nuclear" bateries they have. because if im not mistaken it would take a lot of the Betavoltaics material to make a workable bomb. hell id think it would be simpler to buy up all the fireworks at a stand and make a feasable bomb.

SmallTimePerson
October 15th, 2005, 03:41 AM
well i say make the bateries anyway and when the terrorists buy the 20 billion bateries its gonna take em to make the bomb we will know cause it looks kinda weird when hakmead comes in to the local wal-mart and buys all the the "nuclear" bateries they have. because if im not mistaken it would take a lot of the Betavoltaics material to make a workable bomb. hell id think it would be simpler to buy up all the fireworks at a stand and make a feasable bomb.
im pretty sure that its not the right radioactive materials, and they wouldn't need 20 billion

Jarnin
October 15th, 2005, 04:19 AM
im pretty sure that its not the right radioactive materials, and they wouldn't need 20 billion
betavoltaics can use any material that emits beta radiation, the most commonly used is tritium. Tritium is also used in hydrogen bombs.

I'm not too familiar with how much tritium is used in your average hydrogen bomb, but I'm guesing it's alot. It also needs to be replaced regularly; it has a tendency to turn into helium-3.

SmallTimePerson
October 15th, 2005, 04:33 AM
I'm not too familiar with how much tritium is used in your average hydrogen bomb, but I'm guesing it's alot. It also needs to be replaced regularly; it has a tendency to turn into helium-3.
it is forced together with detrium (i think its what its called) due to the explosion. They are both hydrogen atoms with extra neutrons (i think) that when forced together start colliding with other atoms that then lose their extra things and those extra things collide into more atoms and those extra things multiply and cause extreme heat and light.

tritium is safe (unless its in a H bomb) so it is used in beltavoltiacs.

Other substances like Cobalt-90 on the other hand arent so friendly

Three PhDs
October 15th, 2005, 05:36 AM
Very true, while having harmful by products, nuclear energy is extremely safe if in a correctly built, controlled, and maintained reactor. The only reason the US Navy uses nuclear power today is that they have been careful and have never had an accident. NASA needs to adapt the same philosophy. If you set aside Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the safety record of nuclear [power] is really very good.
-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, June 2001

Contrary to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's assessment, nuclear power and nuclear devices have not enjoyed a safe history at United States facilities. At least 50 nuclear weapons lie on the ocean bottom due to U.S. and Soviet accidents. A large number of incidents mar the safety record of nuclear plants, facilities, bombers and ships, of which Three Mile Island is only the best remembered. Numerous deaths and injuries resulted from these incidents. In addition to accidents, the day-to-day operations related to nuclear materials processing and handling have led to massive contamination of this country's landscape. The U.S. Department of Energy spends over $4 billion each year for the restoration and management of sites contaminated by nuclear materials. Their 2000 Federal budget noted: "The Environmental Management (EM) program is responsible for addressing the environmental legacy resulting from the production of nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapons complex generated waste, pollution, and contamination that pose unique problems, including unprecedented volumes of contaminated soil and water, radiological hazards from special nuclear material, and a vast number of contaminated structures. Factories, laboratories, and thousands of square miles of land were devoted to producing tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. Much of this is largely maintained, decommissioned, managed, and remediated by the EM program, which is sometimes referred to as the 'cleanup program.' EM's responsibilities include facilities and sites in 30 states and one territory, and occupy an area equal to that of Rhode Island and Delaware combined - or about 2.1 million acres."

aAnubiSs
October 15th, 2005, 05:40 AM
Tritium isn't often used in thermonuclear bombs due to it's low half-life (12 years) They use a Lithium isotope which turns into Tritium during fusion a by-product of this is Tritium which is then used for a D-T reaction.

This ofc happens in milliseconds

SmallTimePerson
October 15th, 2005, 08:06 PM
. The nuclear weapons complex generated waste, pollution, and contamination that pose unique problems, including unprecedented volumes of contaminated soil and water, radiological hazards from special nuclear material, and a vast number of contaminated structures.
just adding to you contamination thing
WA governement has been trying for a few years now to make the desert of WA a dumping ground for depleted Uranium. It would add billions of dollars to the state's economy. Its amazing how many countries like nuclear power, but want to get rid of the waste

helio9
October 15th, 2005, 11:36 PM
betavoltaics can use any material that emits beta radiation, the most commonly used is tritium. Tritium is also used in hydrogen bombs.

I'm not too familiar with how much tritium is used in your average hydrogen bomb, but I'm guesing it's alot. It also needs to be replaced regularly; it has a tendency to turn into helium-3.
Doesn't really matter. The fact is, all H-bombs (that I know of anyways) have a regular fission bomb as a catalyst. So the terrorists would need to build that first, with conventional U-235 or Plutonium. And if they can do that, then we're screwed already. Its highly unlikely that they'd go through the trouble of building a full H-bomb (and its probably quite complicated) if they had a regular fission bomb anyways. The nightmare is a suitcase nuke going off in a place as dense has manhattan where it could potentially kill millions and cripple the economy, and fusion is not required on the part of terrorists to accomplish this.

EDIT - The reason for this is that in order to fusion to occur, an environment of very high pressure and temperature is required, this can only be achieved by a nuclear fission explosion.

Insolent_Tauri
October 20th, 2005, 12:20 PM
Even if there are over 50 nuclear warheads at the bottom of the ocean, think very carefully about what that means. It could mean that a single soviet missile submarine sank. And besides, he's not talking about nuclear weapons, the deployment of which is a hazardous and risky exercise any way you look at it, he's talking about nuclear powerplants. And keep in mind that Chernobyl was due in large part to human error and untrained opperators, and that Three Mile Island was safely contained, and immediately afterwards the procedures and training routines were altered so that a LOCA would be detected far earlier and much more easily contained.

Made_from_Beer
October 21st, 2005, 08:32 AM
All this talk about the wonders of nuclear power, but the fact is that Australia owns 40% of known uranium and you will have to pry our hands open to get any :) The reality is that China who is considering buying and investing minning companies in Australia will most likely led to an increase in resource competition if nuclear power was to become widely adopted across developing nations. Especially with the Australian 3 mine uranium policy and a public fear that makes our only nuclear reactor into a google earth targeted dear ist time terrorist dooms day feral animal killer. :S

Insolent_Tauri
October 21st, 2005, 11:53 AM
Speaking of China, they're building nuclear reactors left right and center. And they're the third country to put a man in space. And a while ago there was talk of them going to the moon, just to prove that they can do it just as well as the USA can. So maybe *they* will be the ones to put a nuclear reactor in space and then put a ship around it and then be totally awesome. Who knows.

Out of curiosity, who here thinks that the UN should have a space program?

Jarnin
October 21st, 2005, 08:02 PM
Speaking of China, they're building nuclear reactors left right and center. And they're the third country to put a man in space. And a while ago there was talk of them going to the moon, just to prove that they can do it just as well as the USA can.
That's crap. The only reason people are shot into space is to tell the other nations of the world that they can park a nuclear warhead anywhere in the world in 30 minutes. China saying they're going to the moon is no different than the space race between the USA and the USSR; they want to show off how impressive their ballistic missile technology is.


Out of curiosity, who here thinks that the UN should have a space program?
I think the UN should be kept as far away from space as possible. The last thing we need is more bureaucracy in space.

helio9
October 22nd, 2005, 12:57 AM
Speaking of China, they're building nuclear reactors left right and center. And they're the third country to put a man in space. And a while ago there was talk of them going to the moon, just to prove that they can do it just as well as the USA can. So maybe *they* will be the ones to put a nuclear reactor in space and then put a ship around it and then be totally awesome. Who knows.

Out of curiosity, who here thinks that the UN should have a space program?
Meh, even if they do it, they're cheating. The US did it without computers (or rather they were in a very basic form). In Apollo 13, you actually see people confirming calculations by hand. With modern tech, lots of cash, and very cheap intellectual labour, I have no doubt that China could go to the moon if they wanted it bad enough.

Praetorian
October 22nd, 2005, 04:29 AM
Plutonium reactors?

I assume he refers to fast-breeder reactors. These are generally prefered in the less developed countries because they are cheaper to run, and they produce weapons grade plutonium...As a general rule, fast breeder reactors preduce more fissile material than they consume.

The rest of us use thermal reactors, which are considered nicer...cant remember the specifics. My particle physics has abandoned me.

Insolent_Tauri
October 31st, 2005, 02:00 PM
Acctually, I think that plutonium reactors (Or "breeder" reactors) create U-235, I think. Which can then be further fissed, either in a controlled reactor or in a nuclear weapon.