Originally posted by browha
We are not discussing a jet fueled by nuclear engines.... No such thing exists yet, to my knowledge.
Chernoble was a nuclear fission plant as well.. Unless you know more specific technically details I dont?
We're discussing crashing a jet into a nuclear power plant to cause a chain reaction
You can bet if it is in the "planning stages" for our consumption...it is already being flown !
A new mini-reactor revives the dream of a nuclear-powered aircraft.
BY JIM WILSON
Illustration by Paul Dimare
The new hafnium-fueled reactor emits so little radiation it could be easily integrated into civilian airport operations.
After more than six decades of research, the first atom-powered airplane is cleared for takeoff. Although details of the project remain classified, a
description of this remarkable aircraft has begun to emerge from technical conferences and declassified engineering studies. The plane will be both
familiar and unique. Familiar in that it will resemble a Northrop Grumman Global Hawk, the bulbous-nosed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that the U.S.
Air Force has used to track enemy movements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Unique because its nuclear reactor is unlike any other. Rather than split heavy
elements or fuse light atoms--as in fission and fusion reactors--it will use what is known as a triggered isomer reaction. If this new powerplant,
called a quantum nucleonic reactor, performs as scientists expect, its effect on the aircraft industry may prove as revolutionary as the introduction
of the jet engine.
To the trained eye, the ungainly Global Hawk is a thing of beauty. A triumph of function over form, its whale-snout nose presents a tiny radar cross
section. The thickly shrouded rear-mounted engine, located high in the tail, presents a minimal heat signature. Even the paint, which appears faded,
serves a purpose: It helps dissipate heat from the plane's electronic bay. Together, these design features make the Global Hawk virtually invisible
as it loiters at 45,000 ft., directing its powerful radar and high-resolution cameras on trouble spots.
One improvement would make the Global Hawk the perfect surveillance platform: eliminating the need to top off its fuel tanks. For UAVs operating deep
within hostile airspace, refueling requires dashing hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles to a friendly landing field. It is chiefly for that reason
that the Global Hawk has been selected as a testbed for one of the boldest experiments in aviation history. Project managers for Northrop Grumman and
the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory tell POPULAR MECHANICS they have begun discussions that could lead to the conversion of a Global Hawk to a
If the plan takes shape, a Global Hawk will be pulled off the production line and undergo extensive airframe and powerplant modifications. Chief among
these will be the addition of some 2700 pounds of radiation shielding. Installed between the tail section and the main electronics bay, the shielding
will create a "hot cell." In this area, which will be designed to minimize leakage of radiation, engineers will install the world's first airborne
quantum nucleonic reactor.