Nuclear power for commercial ships

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KitemanSA
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Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:05 pm
Location: OlyPen WA

Post by KitemanSA »

One of the APPEARANT cost hits with nuke ships is that the first core (~half a lifetime of energy?) is paid for as part of the purchase price, but none of the half a lifetime of petroleum is.

They are still not economical exactly, but they aren't necessarily as bad as procurement numbers might suggest. Just trying to balance my input!! :D

kurt9
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Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:14 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Post by kurt9 »

MSimon wrote:
I don't know if it is possible to get commercial ships to maintain the discipline the US Navy does re: safety.
This was the first thing I thought of when I read the post on Wang's site. The Navy has a nuclear engineering program to train staff in running and managing the nuclear reactor and propulsion system. Commercial ships are usually staffed with crews from developing countries with far less training (and discipline). If they went nuclear, the shipping industry would have to implement some kind of training institution similar to that of the Navy's nuclear program as well as operational safety standards. These would be a radical change from the industry as its currently structured.

There is also the possibility of theft of nuclear materials from these ships as well. The reactors could be sealed in a manner that they could only be opened in a specialized dry-dock facility.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

kurt9 wrote:
MSimon wrote:
I don't know if it is possible to get commercial ships to maintain the discipline the US Navy does re: safety.
This was the first thing I thought of when I read the post on Wang's site. The Navy has a nuclear engineering program to train staff in running and managing the nuclear reactor and propulsion system. Commercial ships are usually staffed with crews from developing countries with far less training (and discipline). If they went nuclear, the shipping industry would have to implement some kind of training institution similar to that of the Navy's nuclear program as well as operational safety standards. These would be a radical change from the industry as its currently structured.

There is also the possibility of theft of nuclear materials from these ships as well. The reactors could be sealed in a manner that they could only be opened in a specialized dry-dock facility.
To do nuclear theft is hard. The cores are VERY radioactive for many months after shutdown.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

chrismb
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Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:00 pm

Post by chrismb »

kurt9 wrote: There is also the possibility of theft of nuclear materials from these ships as well. The reactors could be sealed in a manner that they could only be opened in a specialized dry-dock facility.
Exactly. It would more likely be 'sealed for life' type technology - which would therefore be some evolutionary means beyond the 'risks' and higher maintenance that might be acceptable in military operations. Like the 'fission pebble' idea. After all, a larger quantity of lower grade uranium would hardly be an issue - it'd make perfect hull ballast, if designed in for that purpose, no?!!..

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