Re: But on further genuflection...

Posted by bobba on Jun 04, 2002 at 09:56

Re: But on further genuflection... (Southern Man)

I can understand eliminating the shielding
would be possible if we had the ability to assemble
and operate an unmanned reactor.

Who sez we don't?

Problem who assembles it?

Assembled as a self-contained unit before flight. No maintenance required.

Without shielding the steam you generate is
going to contain radioactive particles.

Without shielding the steam you generate is going to contain radioactive particles.

not so really. The purpose of the heavy biological shielding is not to prevent cross-contamination of the core material with the outside environment (the reactor vessel does that) but rather to prevent biologicals from being bombarded with radiation that escapes from the reactor vessel that contains the core. So while the nearby environment outside the core would be exposed to very high levels of radiation, it would still not be exposed to any level of radioactive material so long as the reactor vessel remained intact. IOW, it wouldn't hurt (or *significantly change) any non-living thing.

Drilling a hole in the ground and inserting
something to make steam sounds a lot like
geothermal power which is know to be very
maintenance intensive.

My proposal is based on some pretty big assumptions - such as lake-like quantities of water just below the surface. If that ain't so, pebble-bed ain't the way to go - Rapid-L is. Besides, i have a habit of making very difficult problems seem overly-simplistic. Details are what engineers are for. :-)

Hey, if you don't like pebble-bed technology,
how 'bout we go with a nice, cute, little Rapid-L
reactor instead?

Great find!!! Much better. How much does it weigh
compared to just shipping in the required fuel?

I'd think, and this is a guess, several orders of magnitude less, especially without the heavy shielding. It was designed pretty much for this very purpose after all.

Fair enough. Ill show you mine if you show me
yours. :)

Ya know at first i thought this would be a fairly straightforward calculation but the more i got into the more i realized it was a bit over my head and there seems to be more than a bit of esoteric knowledge required. Still, assuming a [very optimistic] 25% efficiency in water accumulation, electrolysis, liquefaction and miscellaneous overhead, you end up with 50 kw/h or 67 accumulated horsepower an hour or just over a half-million hp per year. Is that enough? Im not sure. Too many variables: martian escape velocity, weight of the people and the launch craft and the obligatory souvenirs. Initial fuel weight adjusted for burn rate, efficiency, etc, etc, etc. Like i said, over my head.

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