posted on Sep, 20 2013 @ 10:03 AM
Aloysius the Gaul
You can use the heat directly or indirectly - if directly then you suck in air, pass it over the hot core, and it gets expelled out the back hot and
fast - and by hot I mean both radioactive hot and temperature hot!! This was how the SLAM would ahve worked
the indirect method uses a heat exchanger - you heat a working fluid with the core, and then use that to heat air through a heat exchanger. This way
the air does not get radioactive.
See the wiki article on nuclear aircraft propulsion for links
of the two methods.
The wiki doesn't mention the Soviets actually flew a nuclear powered plane with the direct method.
The way they got around the problem of the shielding weighing too much for an airplane was to use an inadequate amount of shielding, and the crew was
irradiated. The first crew member to die only lived about 3 years after the test flight.
Since they had that many problems with the direct method, and the indirect method weighed a lot more, there was no way that was going to work back
then, but with more modern material technology, it's not out of the question. The biggest problem I see is if the plane crashes.
When the US flew a test nuclear reactor around, that plane was accompanied by a "glow in the dark" Marine brigade whose job was to parachute out in
the event of a crash to cordon off the area and prevent curious onlookers from getting lethal doses of radiation. While I admire the safety
precaution, it seems better if there's no radioactive crash site to cordon off to begin with, which can be accomplished by just not building nuclear
The technology works great in naval vessels though where weight isn't an issue, and the radiation is somewhat contained by water if the vessel should
At least the fictitious TR-3B doesn't use a nuclear reactor for power.