I’m researching power plants for a home brew ship and vehicle design sequence. I’m looking at TL10 thru 12 (it’s for a variant 2300 setting) and am happy taking some liberties with the numbers but I’d like to have some semblance of believability.
Fission reactors are first up:
I started looking at naval reactors as it seemed they would present the closest facsimile for a starship based reactor, they’re built to be self contained and as I understand it, to a higher degree of engineering than commercial reactors as they’re operating in hostile environments underwater and in combat!
I found sizes of the reactor vessel for a number of older US naval ships. From the image I can see what’s probably inside the reactor vessel but I don’t know what else is needed to generate power (turbines, generators and stuff like that) and most importantly, it’s volume and mass.
Question 1, what’s an approximate volume and mass for the stuff not in the reactor vessel?
Wikipedia lists several others
but the information isn’t up to date or complete as I assume that the current reactors are classified.
Question 2, What are the volumes and masses for the more recent US naval reactor vessels?
The reactors were rated by what I believe to be thermal output and then a SHP rating/number of shafts. I converted SHP to MW to make it a comparison easier (if indeed it’s even valid). I don’t know what their electrical output is, I assume that would be proportionate to their thermal out put but I’m not sure if it is or at what ratio.
Question 3, what’s the electrical output of the US naval reactors?
Question 4, is the electrical output likely a percentage of it’s thermal output and will it increase as more efficient (higher tech level) models are designed?
I then started looking for small reactors, the intention to get an idea of minimum volumes at different tech levels and found this
. Wiki gave me the stats for the mPower reactor, hopefully they’re about right, a lot smaller than the naval reactors and with the Babcock and Wilcox it would appear to have a similar thermal output and lists it’s electrical output to a 1960s naval model, it's not an apple and apple comparison tho as I don't know the peripheral machines for both and what's actually in the naval vessel that the numbers refer to. Now in part that’s the advancement of technology, partly not being built “mil spec” and partly cos I don’t know what peripheral machinery I’m missing.
Question 5, how do these reactors compare to the kind the USN uses? Are they as reliable and efficient?
Question 6, are there other things I should be looking at?