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What would you do with a mobile nuclear power plant? 25mw


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Hi all,

the Better Place thread had me considering Hyperion nuclear reactors powering fairly remote charging stations for future fast-charge EV's.

 

Then I wondered what the military could do?

 

Once sited safely in its underground containment vessel, an HPM is monitored but does not require a battery of operational personnel. It just quietly delivers safe, reliable power – 70 MW thermal or 25 MW electric via steam turbine – for a period of seven to 10 years.

 

Does this cut out the need for supply line logistics in the military? Imagine they pull up near a creek and have some kind of Hyperion truck device... would they use it to split water and create hydrogen fuel for the tanks, in the field, independent of supply lines?

 

What other applications can you imagine for a Hyperion styled device?

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Does this cut out the need for supply line logistics in the military? Imagine they pull up near a creek and have some kind of Hyperion truck device... would they use it to split water and create hydrogen fuel for the tanks, in the field, independent of supply lines?

 

A ground unit is not like a nuclear submarine. In the field, most infantry units do not carry more than a few days of food and ammunition. Most (US) military vehicles use JP4 or diesel, which is far less explosive than compressed hydrogen, an important consideration when people are shooting at you.

 

However, in areas where clean drinking water is in limited supply, and at forward deployed bases where there is little electrical infrastructure, these units could be quite useful.

 

****

 

While looking up energy density of JP4 and compressed hydrogen, I found the following link that may serve to prove my original assertion incorrect as far as the dangers of hydrogen as a fuel in combat.

 

Vulnerability of advanced aircraft fuel to ballistic and simulated lightning threats

Initial survey tests reported herein compared the response of confined LH2 and JP-4 to ballistic impacts and lightning strikes. The reaction of LH2 results in less severe hydraulic ram and reduced fire. The responses of LH2 to lightning strikes indicate that strikes through vented gas external to the structure does not pose a serious problem. However, the internal arcing effect is a more complicated phenomenon and requires further investigation.
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However, in areas where clean drinking water is in limited supply, and at forward deployed bases where there is little electrical infrastructure, these units could be quite useful.

 

Yes, I was of course thinking more of the base that supplies the Hummer's & soldiers, not actual combat units. An army marches on its belly, and on its fuel supplies.

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Moontanman, I think getting more than 7-10 years of power would require some hacking that I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable with doing in order to slow down the fission rate. However, for 7 or more years, it would provide power for many thousands of homes. (25MW peak is insufficient to power the claimed 20,000 average American homes in the hot and humid South during peak AC season)

 

Pricing is of course important ($50 million is a little steep*), but many small Texas communities have electrical co-ops that operate coal burning power plants that could easily be replaced by a couple of these units if prices are reduced. This could devastate the winter fishing in power plant cooling lakes though, so it may be a hard sell :)

 

*Back of the envelope figures- As a substitute for new coal plants, it could be cost efficient- $50m divided by 7 years and 10k households equals an annual cost of $715 per household, well under the average annual consumer household electrical bill. However, wholesale electrical rates are 2 to 3(?) times lower than consumer costs, so the price is still a little too high to compete with coal if none of the other benefits are included in the price comparison.

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Remember the study by the university of Newcastle, Australia. Peak coal anywhere between 2010 to 2048. The earlier peak oil, gas, and coal hits, the sooner we can finish all these silly arguments about whether or not global warming is real (it IS!) and get on with the job of weaning off fossil fuels because we're going to run out one day anyway!

 

(Most people think we have enough coal for the next 300 years but don't understand the power of exponential growth, or the concept of a resource peaking which leads to dramatically higher prices after the half-way point).

 

Bottom line? I think a lot of these alternatives will become 'more economical' sooner than many people think simply because of resource constraints.

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