James Boren (jboren@earthlink.net)
Sun, 5 Sep 1999 23:35:16 -0700


>>
>> That leads me to today's technical question: Given today's
>> technology, what's the smallest nuclear reactor you can build that's
>capable
>> of propelling a vehicle carrying it?
>
>Amateur anwer of the day, Either a US Nuclear Sub, or NASA space
>probe, however the space probe use decaying nuclear piles not really
>REACTors. The US Navy toyed with sodium cooled Reators for their
>subs, and those could reah higher temperatures than water cooled ones
>so some variant on this could be used for MS, but it'd still be huge.
>
>Paul
>
>-

The U.S. airforce experimented with a nuclear powered bomber in the 50's.
It would have been a huge aircraft capable of staying in the air for weeks,
perhaps longer. Always ready to bomb the soviet union at a moments notice.
I don't remember exactly, the article is packed away somewhere. Because
shielding the reactor would have weighed too much, they were only going to
shield the crew compartment and let the radiation run free. They got as far
as putting a small reactor in a B-36 and took a few flights with it.
Finally someone with commonsense canceled it.

-James

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