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Subject: Small nuclear reactors a new trend
Volkodav    10/24/2009 5:05:55 AM
From correspondents in Tokyo | October 24, 2009 Article from: Agence France-Presse MAJOR nuclear reactor manufacturers in Japan have begun developing small nuclear power systems for both developed and emerging countries, a report says. Toshiba is developing an ultra-compact reactor with an output of about 10,000 kilowatts and has started procedures for approval in the US, the Nikkei business daily said. The new reactor, the Toshiba 4S, is designed to minimise the need for monitoring and maintenance, with an automatic shutdown function to ensure safety in case of problems, the newspaper said. Toshiba plans to market the reactor first in the US, while foreseeing demand from emerging countries in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe as well as in Africa, it said. Mitsubishi has separately completed the concept design for a pressurised-water reactor with a power output of around 350,000 kilowatts, the Nikkei said. Hitachi also aims to develop a boiling-water reactor with a capacity of 400,000-600,000 kilowatts for use in Southeast Asia and other countries, it said. Demand for nuclear power stations has been growing around the world. A total of 151 were under construction or slated for construction in 27 countries as of the end of 2008, it said. ____________________________________________________________________ This is the sort of thing we should be looking at small easily maintained non refuelable reactors
 
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doggtag    overall physical size?   10/24/2009 3:12:32 PM
It's becoming an interesting turn of events, Japan suggesting it will sell this new reactor design to other countries...
 
Take into effect that Japan currently has in its legislative/constitutional mandates that it will not export defense-related hardware.
But would they refuse a sale of this reactor if a given nation might decide it wished to install it into a warship?
 
Also on that note: the USS Kitty Hawk, being the last conventional-powered US carrier in service, was for these same legal reasons (politics) the only US carrier allowed for a time to dock/berth at bases in the Japanese mainland's ports.
 
Would/could this new reactor design spark interest in the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force to be fitted as a powerplant to their proposed new class of larger aircraft carrier helicopter-capable floating flight deck being discussed here?
 
If more electrical power is going be needed as ships' electronics and other electrical systems improve and evolve,
plus the growing interest in directed-energy weapons because it's obvious that weapons-grade systems aren't next-century anymore,
then these smaller nuclear powerplants might be an interesting alternative to power these, or similar ships.
Laws and legalties change as nations see fit they need modernized.
Japan's current ban on nuclear vessels may be yet another policy a new government could amend for change.
 
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DropBear       10/24/2009 7:56:25 PM
This is the sort of thing we should be looking at small easily maintained non refuelable reactors
 
 
Sssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Don't let the oil/gas and coal lobby hear you http://www.strategypage.com/CuteSoft_Client/CuteEditor/Images/emsmiled.gif" align="absMiddle" border="0" alt="" />
 
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Nanheyangrouchuan       10/24/2009 8:58:43 PM

It's becoming an interesting turn of events, Japan suggesting it will sell this new reactor design to other countries...

 

Take into effect that Japan currently has in its legislative/constitutional mandates that it will not export defense-related hardware.

But would they refuse a sale of this reactor if a given nation might decide it wished to install it into a warship?

 

Also on that note: the USS Kitty Hawk, being the last conventional-powered US carrier in service, was for these same legal reasons (politics) the only US carrier allowed for a time to dock/berth at bases in the Japanese mainland's ports.

 

Would/could this new reactor design spark interest in the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force to be fitted as a powerplant to their proposed new class of larger aircraft carrier helicopter-capable floating flight deck being discussed here?

 

If more electrical power is going be needed as ships' electronics and other electrical systems improve and evolve,

plus the growing interest in directed-energy weapons because it's obvious that weapons-grade systems aren't next-century anymore,

then these smaller nuclear powerplants might be an interesting alternative to power these, or similar ships.

Laws and legalties change as nations see fit they need modernized.

Japan's current ban on nuclear vessels may be yet another policy a new government could amend for change.


The listed power output is probably far too small for a warship, especially carriers, cruisers, subs, though the technology may be derived from military tech.  I doubt Japan would sell any mini reactors that are military ready.  I'm sure there are some significant design, material and cost differences as well.
 
This is a great business approach though.  Big nuke plants need lots of water, lots of land and lots of staff.  If you can install mini reactors, Vietnam and Thailand are two countries that could immediately power up their major and secondary cities and have a few, small plants in different locations.  It also makes good strategic sense.  
 
 
I'll also bet that these little reactors could be easily built into an underground facility for SDFs.
 
 
I would be surprised if the Indian army bought these in large quantities.
 
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gf0012-aust       10/24/2009 9:32:53 PM
the main opportunity is complimentary power - or for running capabilities such as desalination plants., or for mining companies as they consume huge gobs of power - often at the expense of the local communities
 
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StevoJH       10/24/2009 11:20:33 PM
10,000 kilowatts is 10 Megawatts, thats 1/3 the amount of power produced by the MT-30 gas turbine. Unless you could fit 3 of them into the space of an MT-30 and that the costs over time would be either lower or comparable I don't see them being used as a primary power source on Naval Vessels.
 
Depending on size though, maybe you could use them at Airbases and large army forward operating bases? Aka. Bastion in Afghanistan and similar/larger US bases.
 
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gf0012-aust       10/25/2009 12:23:28 AM

10,000 kilowatts is 10 Megawatts,

and thats close to 30% more power than what you need to power the sensor systems and warfighting systems on a virginia class sub.  thats more than enough for an Oyashio and Collins sized sub to become a mini nuke and change their utility completely.....
 
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doggtag       10/25/2009 6:54:06 AM

10,000 kilowatts is 10 Megawatts, thats 1/3 the amount of power produced by the MT-30 gas turbine. Unless you could fit 3 of them into the space of an MT-30 and that the costs over time would be either lower or comparable I don't see them being used as a primary power source on Naval Vessels.
 

But what you're missing is,
of however many of those MT-30s (or even LM2500s for US tech fans) are installed in your ship of choice, it isn't just engine volume we're talking about here: how many kiloliters (can I use that word?) of fuel bunkerage must be designed into gas-turbine-powered ships?
 
And over that ship's 25+year lifetime, how much does that fuel (and turbine maintenance) cost?
More than swapping out reactors halfway thru the ship's lifespan?
Less?
 
If 3 of these mini reactors still take up less space than
an MT-30 along with all of its necessary support components 
and its diesel/JP-8/whatever liquid fuel space takes up,
that sounds like a fair trade off to me.
(Does anyone have the actual footprint/physical volume this new reactor design occupies, along with all its necessary support components?)
 
Plus, something else to consider: even though the technology is still a ways off for practical purposes (ship power),
designing a ship class that can take these reactors that can be more readily swapped out/replaced at the end of their life cycle, that could give us the preliminary ship designs to accomodate fusion reactors once they're here: upconverting a fission-powered ship that is designed with easy reactor replacement in mind into a fusion-powered warship,
well that just seems like a logical evolutionary step in maritime design, doesn't it?
 
Otherwise, when fusion reactors come online in useful shipsized packages, all those "antiquated" gas turbine designs would be made obsolete just as much as sail-powered vessels whose hulls couldn't accomodate the new steam machinery of a previous era...
 
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Volkodav       10/26/2009 4:24:03 AM
The small reactor is more likely to replace the cruise diesels than the boost turbines.  It would provide a base load to cover hotel services at cruise speed through an all electric propulsion system.  The reator would be mounted low in the hull leaving the lighter boost GT's to be mounted in the superstructure, minimising space required for intake and exhaust trunking.
 
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