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Old May 18th, 2011, 01:48 AM   #1
Jay
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MISC | Nuclear powered trains

Has anyone else heard of these? Apparently there are a few countries trying to develop them (One of them Russia, go figure) but anyway, this sounds like a brilliant idea. It is one of the most efficient ways a train could be powered, and would save tons of diesel fuel and electricity.

What are your thoughts?
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Old May 18th, 2011, 02:33 AM   #2
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To be honest: I fear for when there would be an accident with such a train. Haven't heard of any such trains so far.

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Old May 18th, 2011, 02:50 AM   #3
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Nuclear Power? Well in these days you may wonder, but back in the 50s they wanted to put a nice little nuclear reactor into everything, even your car should have one!


Why not make a thread about Trains powered by alternative means in general?

Like trains powered by solar power, biomass, nuclear power, hydrogen, batteries/supercapacitors(there's a thread on that one i think) etc.

I would be especially interested in hydrogen, has anyone heard anything about something like this?
And I have my doubts on nuclear power, atleast fission poses a lethal threat when the reactor breaks. Fusion on the other hand might me be interesting, but that's more like in 100 years. We haven't even built ITER yet
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Old May 18th, 2011, 03:02 AM   #4
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Russia designs nuclear train
2011-02-24


Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Sounds like a chapter in a science fiction book? Well,it’s not. Rosatom and Russian Railways are seriously developing a nuclear powered train.

Vice-president of Russian Railways (RZhD) Valentin Gapanovich says they will present the layout of the train by the end of this year. The train will consist of 11 wagons.

The engine of the train will be a small fast breeder reactor, and in its initial stage, the train will be a scientific exhibition complex.

The design is made by Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom.

- I looked at the design of the train, I liked it and I support the idea originally presented by Rosatom since it is a innovative way of develop nuclear energy, Gapanivich told Interfax.

The estimated cost of construction is still unclear, and nothing is yet said about the safety of such train.

This is not the first time the idea of a nuclear powered train is presented. Back in 1956, the Ministry of Transport of the USSR first time announced nuclear propulsion as a possibility for locomotives that could operate autonomously, without electricity or large amount of fuel. The Ministry then said such locomotives could be used in the High North and remote areas of Siberia, according to a back-ground article posted on the magazine Popularnaja Mehanika.

Another feature with the proposed nuclear powered train is that it can easily be converted to a mobile nuclear power plant, supplying energy to remote areas and industrial sites.

Russia is currently building the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. The barge to hold the reactors was set afloat in June last year at the yard in St. Petersburg.

The floating nuclear power plant is scheduled to be towed from St. Petersburg to the remote Russian Arctic region of Chukotka by the end of 2012, as previously reported by BarentsObserver.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 03:09 AM   #5
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If you want to make a yourself nuclear locomotive!
Rusian


American


http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtop...?f=52&t=123883
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Old May 18th, 2011, 03:28 AM   #6
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The most convenient from my point of view, is to make a maglev train that uses an integrated nuclear battery being used, would allow to have economic magnets in the road and a lot of energy on board the train.

Nuclear battery that I propose would be similar to that used in space missions, placed in the middle of the train for safety.



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Old May 18th, 2011, 04:10 AM   #7
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Hate to say this but it is much more beneficial if power is supplied through the grid than carrying it on board due to massive weight gain.(Whatever the type of fuel it maybe)

One more thing if there is a nuclear power plant generating power into the grid then an EMU can be considered an atomic powered train since electricity powering the train is supplied from the grid.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 05:34 AM   #8
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I don't see the point of generating electricity inside a train (be it from diesel, uranium, ethanol) instead of generating it in far better industrial conditions and scale and deploying electricity to trains. Electricity distribution is a very efficient way to convey energy over long distances, and it takes away all the weight and security measures related to fire, spills, whatever other risks.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 07:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I don't see the point of generating electricity inside a train (be it from diesel, uranium, ethanol) instead of generating it in far better industrial conditions and scale and deploying electricity to trains. Electricity distribution is a very efficient way to convey energy over long distances, and it takes away all the weight and security measures related to fire, spills, whatever other risks.
It's cost in investment for additional infrastructure that is a bxtch.
That is why >50% of Britain's rail is still not electrified not to mention the US which is still mostly diesel electric.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 08:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuraiBlue View Post
It's cost in investment for additional infrastructure that is a bxtch.
That is why >50% of Britain's rail is still not electrified not to mention the US which is still mostly diesel electric.
Short term expense for long term gain in my opinion. I'd much rather see electrification than nuclear power plants on rails that's for sure!

It is always going to be far less efficient to move the power plant with the train due to additional weight as others have stated, so all in all I agree with you.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #11
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nuclear power is way more efficient than electricity I think, they both have their pros and cons but a nuclear reactor can go unfueled for months, electricity could be better used elsewere,

for trains that weight 100's/1000's of tons, it's better for nuclear power to move such beastly weights than electricity. people are stickling on weight, a train is a train, it'll be heavy no matter what, a nuclear engine may add more weight but it will also have more efficient power, so it balances out.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay View Post
Has anyone else heard of these? Apparently there are a few countries trying to develop them (One of them Russia, go figure) but anyway, this sounds like a brilliant idea. It is one of the most efficient ways a train could be powered, and would save tons of diesel fuel and electricity.

What are your thoughts?
In France they move their high speed trains using nuclear power.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay View Post
nuclear power is way more efficient than electricity I think, they both have their pros and cons but a nuclear reactor can go unfueled for months, electricity could be better used elsewere,

for trains that weight 100's/1000's of tons, it's better for nuclear power to move such beastly weights than electricity. people are stickling on weight, a train is a train, it'll be heavy no matter what, a nuclear engine may add more weight but it will also have more efficient power, so it balances out.
What you forget is that in your nuclear train the nuclear reactor will be used to generate electricity, which will move the train. Just like in modern diesel engines.
A modern diesel locomotive is in fact an electric locomotive, with it's own power plant. Electricity is very efficient when it comes to getting heavy weights to move. At some level of traffic and infrastructure costs it becomes more efficient to remove the power plant from the locomotive and have it in a central place, and distribute the electricity to the trains using overhead wires. This way many countries already use nuclear power to move trains.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay View Post
nuclear power is way more efficient than electricity I think, they both have their pros and cons but a nuclear reactor can go unfueled for months, electricity could be better used elsewere,

for trains that weight 100's/1000's of tons, it's better for nuclear power to move such beastly weights than electricity. people are stickling on weight, a train is a train, it'll be heavy no matter what, a nuclear engine may add more weight but it will also have more efficient power, so it balances out.
I am not sure you are aware how trains operate, but I apologize if I misunderstood your knowledge. Modern trains always run on electricity. The engines are electric, and electricity is the only way to power multiple-unit powered trains, those that have traction distributed along the train instead of concentrated in a locomotive.

Even modern locomotives, used to power "inert" train cars/wagons, concentrating all power in one car, are usually electric. "Diesel trains" are not like cars or trucks that rely on mechanical transmission and gear to transfer energy to the wheels straight from an internal combustion engine which displaces pistons that move an axle. "Diesel trains" are usually comprised by so-called "diesel-electric" units, that generate electricity on a diesel generator. Everything else (or almost) is identical to an otherwise "electric train" that draws power from lines.

So a nuclear-powered train, AFAIK, could only be conceived as an on-site electricity generator that will power the train. The source of electricity is rather irrelevant if you can provide it.

While diesel-electric trains have some increased risks, particular the risk of fire and limitation of running in very long tunnels due to air poisoning, nuclear-electric trains would have other set of problems, starting with safety issues. In case of a catastrophic collision, having a diesel train catch fire is a nightmare, but having a small nuclear reactor blown apart is much, much worse. So you'd need extremely resistant structures.

So I really don't see a point of using dozens of small reactors in tightly protected compartments on trains instead of installing a mid-size reactor and electrifying all the rail line.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 01:09 PM   #15
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I don't see the point in this either. I am no physicist but I guess it's way more efficient to generate the necessary electricity for 500 trains in a large-scale nuclear power plant and then distribute it to every train than having 500 small power plants moving around the country. Not to mention all the safety problems related to this, from having to control 500 nuclear power plants in changing positions, to following uranium distribution for terrorism-related issues and keeping the reactor safe after crashes as well as providing the train with water to keep the generator cool at all times.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Even modern locomotives, used to power "inert" train cars/wagons, concentrating all power in one car, are usually electric. "Diesel trains" are not like cars or trucks that rely on mechanical transmission and gear to transfer energy to the wheels straight from an internal combustion engine which displaces pistons that move an axle. "Diesel trains" are usually comprised by so-called "diesel-electric" units, that generate electricity on a diesel generator. Everything else (or almost) is identical to an otherwise "electric train" that draws power from lines.
.
But they still use fossil fuels, something that would be better conserving. Solar power could never work because trains run at night and in cloudy weather. Hydrogen could be a possibility I guess...


Aircraft Carriers use nuclear reactors for example, it seems like a more practical way of moving something weiging 1000s of tons like a freight train rather than burning massive amounts of fossil fuel or electricity.


I just don't see maglev trains being the future as the infrastructure for them is just too expensive and complicated.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:52 PM   #17
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Hydrogen is very possible! Its storage of Hydrogen that's the problem.

Denmark had a plan few years ago to develop simply hydrogen engines for slower regional trains, to test in commercial. Then, the wrong political choices was made, and these engines was never build.

Furthermore, Denmark is leading the way with Hydrogen storage, let the hydrogen combine with a certain salt. No high pressure tanks, no risk of explosion. This technology is very promising for all hydrogen technologies. a wikipedia article appears only in Danish sadly: http://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brintpille
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Old May 18th, 2011, 11:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suissetralia View Post
I don't see the point in this either. I am no physicist but I guess it's way more efficient to generate the necessary electricity for 500 trains in a large-scale nuclear power plant and then distribute it to every train than having 500 small power plants moving around the country. Not to mention all the safety problems related to this, from having to control 500 nuclear power plants in changing positions, to following uranium distribution for terrorism-related issues and keeping the reactor safe after crashes as well as providing the train with water to keep the generator cool at all times.
Agreed, this is a silly notion.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 03:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay View Post
But they still use fossil fuels, something that would be better conserving. Solar power could never work because trains run at night and in cloudy weather. Hydrogen could be a possibility I guess...


Aircraft Carriers use nuclear reactors for example, it seems like a more practical way of moving something weiging 1000s of tons like a freight train rather than burning massive amounts of fossil fuel or electricity.


I just don't see maglev trains being the future as the infrastructure for them is just too expensive and complicated.
But I am not advocating diesel-electric trains instead of nuclear-electric trains. I am saying is that if you are to use nuclear fission to provide energy for trains, it is better to have a centralized plant where you have more control, more gains of scale and more efficiency and then distribute power via wires to the trains while they move.

There is no such viable system (yet?) of conveying electric power in-situ for water and let alone air vehicles. If it existed, most concerns of long-term future or air industry would be 80% solved.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 07:03 AM   #20
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If there is a reactor in a package, would it be easier to put int on a locomotive? http://gigaom.com/cleantech/hyperion...ready-by-2013/
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