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#4683789 - 03/04/18 06:00 AM G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39425
Loc: 'Stralia

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#4683894 - 03/04/18 09:02 AM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: Shannow]
bubbatime Offline


Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 5572
Loc: South Florida
I love military history and this is the first time Ive ever heard that the US had an actual nuclear powered aircraft that could stay in the air for 1000 hours before needing refueling. WOW. Amazing. Too bad they the president cut the budget. That would have been neat to see.
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#4683955 - 03/04/18 10:08 AM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: Shannow]
mk378 Offline


Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1390
Loc: USA
No nuclear powered aircraft were actually built or flown. The program was cancelled at the stage of testing engines on the ground.

This was mostly because of advances in ICBM technology. The "Minuteman" missile was fast accurate and reliable. It downplayed the importance of having bomber aircraft fly on constant standby near Russia.


Edited by mk378 (03/04/18 10:10 AM)

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#4683983 - 03/04/18 10:47 AM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: Shannow]
JLawrence08648 Offline


Registered: 01/20/17
Posts: 200
Loc: NJ
With current technology TODAY, this is impossible, back then a waste of money to even do a proposal, and stupid for thinking it would work. Nuclear needs a water source for two things, for cooling off the rods to prevent a meltdown, then for propulsion to create steam to run an impeller to drive a shaft that drives a generator to create electricity.

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#4684018 - 03/04/18 11:25 AM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: Shannow]
simple_gifts Offline


Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 11910
Loc: Middlesex County CT
Apologize if this is considered a thread hijack; but PWA's Middletown CT facility (a few miles from my house) was once the center of their focus on nuclear powered aircraft

I'm adding for additional content only

http://coldwar-ct.com/CANEL_-_Middletown.html
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#4684055 - 03/04/18 11:59 AM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: mk378]
kschachn Offline


Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 9221
Loc: Upper Midwest
Originally Posted By: mk378
No nuclear powered aircraft were actually built or flown. The program was cancelled at the stage of testing engines on the ground.

This was mostly because of advances in ICBM technology. The "Minuteman" missile was fast accurate and reliable. It downplayed the importance of having bomber aircraft fly on constant standby near Russia.

Correct, but aircraft did fly with a fueled nuclear reactor onboard without powering the flight itself.
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#4684063 - 03/04/18 12:12 PM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: JLawrence08648]
jhellwig Offline


Registered: 07/01/13
Posts: 1484
Loc: Ottumwa, Iowa
Originally Posted By: mk378
No nuclear powered aircraft were actually built or flown. The program was cancelled at the stage of testing engines on the ground.

This was mostly because of advances in ICBM technology. The "Minuteman" missile was fast accurate and reliable. It downplayed the importance of having bomber aircraft fly on constant standby near Russia.
They did fly one of the reactors and had it operational during the flight to test shielding.
Originally Posted By: JLawrence08648
With current technology TODAY, this is impossible, back then a waste of money to even do a proposal, and stupid for thinking it would work. Nuclear needs a water source for two things, for cooling off the rods to prevent a meltdown, then for propulsion to create steam to run an impeller to drive a shaft that drives a generator to create electricity.
It isn't impossible. They had a complete working setup ready to go into the aircraft.
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#4684156 - 03/04/18 02:06 PM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: Shannow]
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39425
Loc: 'Stralia
Yes, they flew with working reactors, to explore shielding.

According to this, the Russians ended up flying one at the end, by dropping their shielding simply to be the first ones to do it...(surprise)...go to 39:30


Russia Reckons that they've now got a nuclear POWERED missile that can travel 10 times further than traditional propulsion.

here

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#4684242 - 03/04/18 03:58 PM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: Shannow]
BusyLittleShop Offline


Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 840
Loc: Ca USA
The NB-36H was a modified Convair B-36 Peacekeeper that was used as a
testbed for an American nuclear powered bomber. In 1950 it made a
number of flights carrying a nuclear reactor... the crew hide in a
lead shield cockpit...








Edited by BusyLittleShop (03/04/18 04:05 PM)
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#4684539 - 03/04/18 08:07 PM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: Shannow]
compratio10_5 Offline


Registered: 12/07/15
Posts: 81
Loc: Pocatello, Idaho
Interesting topic on a lube blog site. For anyone interested, there are two atomic aircraft test reactors mounted on railroad cars at the EBR-1 atomic museum in eastern Idaho. I believe that these may be the General Electric direct air cooled reactors mentioned in the film. They look too big and heavy to fly, and any plane leaving a trail of radioactivity should have been easy to detect and track. This museum is open to the public between Memorial Day and Labor Day and is the location of the first electric power generated by a nuclear reactor.
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#4684631 - 03/04/18 09:25 PM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: compratio10_5]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 5950
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: compratio10_5
..... any plane leaving a trail of radioactivity should have been easy to detect and track.


Rendering it useless VERY quickly....
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#4685231 - 03/05/18 01:43 PM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: compratio10_5]
BusyLittleShop Offline


Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 840
Loc: Ca USA
Originally Posted By: compratio10_5
any plane leaving a trail of radioactivity should have been easy to detect and track.


Radioactivity detection would have not been the enemy's choice to
track due to 100% of it was sealed in a container needed to protect
its crew... the enemy's eye balls could easy track an incoming NB36 by
its corkscrew contrails or alerted over head by its signature droning
sound made possible by the pusher propellers shock waves...


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Have a Wheelie NICE day
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#4685241 - 03/05/18 01:54 PM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: BusyLittleShop]
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39425
Loc: 'Stralia
Originally Posted By: BusyLittleShop

Radioactivity detection would have not been the enemy's choice to
track due to 100% of it was sealed in a container needed to protect
its crew...


You haven't read the linked papers, nor watched the video, have you ?

There were two ways of making a nuclear powered gas turbine (jet engine)...transport the reactor coolant/heat transfer fluid to a heat exchanger where the jet's combustion chamber would otherwise be to heat the gasses, or the "direct method" where the compressed air was passed through the reactor to be heated, and returned to the engine to the turbine section of the engine.

Here's a Russian version of the latter.


The reactor could be close placed, or the air transported to it.

In the direct method, the air, having passed through the reactor core itself would have been radioactive, and leaving a radioactive plume across the skies...even the indirect method would have a small elevation in radioactivity.

And per the "shielding", they stated that they couldn't shield the reactors in the traditional method, as that would have been too heavy to get off the ground...they shielded the occupants from the radiation, not the reactors from the world.

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#4685247 - 03/05/18 01:59 PM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: Shannow]
kschachn Offline


Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 9221
Loc: Upper Midwest
Originally Posted By: Shannow
And per the "shielding", they stated that they couldn't shield the reactors in the traditional method, as that would have been too heavy to get off the ground...they shielded the occupants from the radiation, not the reactors from the world.

Which refers to my favorite illustration from the post simple_gifts made:

Quote:
Artists Conception of a nuclear powered bomber. The crew compartment can be separated from the rest of the plane to allow to crew to get on and get off without being exposed to radiation.


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#4685839 - 03/06/18 12:31 AM Re: G.E. on nuclear aviation propulsion [Re: Shannow]
BusyLittleShop Offline


Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 840
Loc: Ca USA
Originally Posted By: Shannow


You haven't read the linked papers, nor watched the video, have you ?

I saved the paper and I scanned the video... but I have a growing aviation
library so what do you want to know about the NB36???

Originally Posted By: Shannow

And per the "shielding", they stated that they couldn't shield the reactors in the traditional method, as that would have been too heavy to get off the ground...they shielded the occupants from the radiation, not the reactors from the world.


NB36 ASTR reactor featured 60,000 pounds of reactor shielding and
37,000 pounds of crew shielding. The reactor shield was 60 feet long
and 12 feet in diameter... additional side shielding around the
reactor was provided by a 2.5 thick layer of polyethylene sandwich
between two sheets of aluminum, one which was the exterior skin...
This shielding system lowered the exposure rate from the 1 Roentgen
per hour down to 0.25 Roentgen per hour... so technically speaking the
USAF went to great expense to protect the world... after all we are
the good guys...

If you were the squiring enemy sweating our bombers your 1st line of
defense would be radar... follow up by visual contrails and droning
sound... by time it would take you sniff out 0.25 Roentgens worth of a
radioactive signature you could be pharting Peacekeeper's bombs...

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Have a Wheelie NICE day
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