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Re: Re: Re: starship-design: Pellet track

In a message dated 8/27/97 10:37:05 AM, kuo@bit.csc.lsu.edu wrote:

>KellySt@aol.com wrote:
>>In a message dated 8/23/97 12:37:20 AM, kuo@bit.csc.lsu.edu (Isaac Kuo)
>>>Actually, a fusion plant only has to compete with fission plants to
>>>acheive great profit potential.  The initial and running costs for
>>>motive fission plants are so great that they're now restricted to
>>>aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines.  The running costs for any
>>>practical fusion plant would be much less than fission or conventional,
>>>so that just leaves initial cost--including R&D.
>>Actually the weight of the power plants reduces them to fairly large craft.
>Huh?  Nuclear power plants have been operated on _aircraft_
>(research into a nuclear powered bomber included actual flights
>of a conventionally propelled bomber with a nuclear power plant
>operated on board).  They are light and small enough to potentially
>be used on smaller ships, but they are expensive.

Not a power plant with the power to drive an aircraft or ship.  The nuclear
airplane research program caried A power plant, but not one that could power
it, much less one that was SHEILDED.  Surface area rules are nasty to small

About the only small nuclear ship was the Savana.  She ran well, but the
reactors weight cut into her cargo capacity, and long shorman refused to
unload her.  Some ports refused her entry.

>> Legal restrictions complicated their use so the navy does use them on all
>>large ships.
>Mostly, however, they are expensive.  Otherwise, the USN would find
>a way to go all nuclear.  Thanks to the late Admiral Rickover, at
>least our submarine fleet is all nuclear.

Life cycle wise nukes aren't as expensive then conventional plants.  Not that
thats much of an argument for DOD contracts.

Subs need the air free nature, and Carriers need to stay clear of ports (and
would burn non-nuke fuel at a tremendous rate).

>>Besides your assuming a fusion plant would be cheaper then a fission or
>>design.  We don't know that they would be, and with current fuel gluts were
>>in no pressing hurry to find out.
>I state, "Actually, a fusion plant only has to compete with fission
>plants to acheive great profit potential."  Nothing about any "other
>design".  Our current fossil fuel glut doesn't have much bearing here.

You forget that fission plants are cheaper to operate (and about the same to
build) as other plants.  So by def, to compete cost wise with fission plants
it would need to be able to compete with other commercial plants.

Give cheap plentifull conventional fuels, and a ton of legeslative and
political overhead on nuclear plants here they are far more trouble then they
are worth.  But the same is likely to be true of fusion plants.