25 February 2008

What Is Wrong With This Picture?

The nuclear propulsion plant in the ship uses a pressurized water reactor design which has two basic systems: 1. the primary system; and, 2. the secondary system. The primary system circulates ordinary water and consists of the reactor, piping loops, pumps and steam generators. The heat produced in the reactor is transferred to the water under high pressure so it does not boil. The water is pumped through the steam generators and back into the reactor for reheating. In the steam generators, the heat from the water in the primary system is transferred to the secondary system to create steam.

The secondary system is isolated from the primary system so that the water in the two systems does not intermix. In the secondary system, the steam flows from the seam generators to drive the turbine generators, which simply supply the ship with electrictiy, and to the main propulsion turbines, which drive the propeller. After passing through the turbines, the steam is condensed back into water which is fed back to the steam generators by the feed pumps. Thus, both the primary and secondary systems are closed systems where water is recirculated and reused. There is no step in the generation of this power which requires the presence of air or oxygen. This allows the ship to operate completely independent from the earth's atmosphere for extended periods of time.___Source

The US Navy's nuclear needs are helping to drive a worldwide market in small nuclear reactor design. Small nuclear reactors are becoming more economical in operation, more versatile for fitting in various ship designs, and strategically more indispensable in naval operations.

Small and modular nuclear reactor designs are likely to find their way into more installations--both military and civilian--particularly as prices of fossil fuels remain high, and the nuclear designs become safer and more affordable. Ideal locations for small nuclear reactors would include undersea habitats, year-round arctic and antarctic outposts, relatively isolated oil-shale and tar-sands mining operations, dedicated desalination plants, etc. Small scale and modular nuclear electricity and heat fit into a wide variety of industrial and infrastructure needs.

Extra points for spotting the design mistake in the graphic.


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Blogger IConrad said...

Which one? I spotted a couple, I think. (IANAE)

Monday, 25 February, 2008  
Blogger SensibleEnergy said...

It looks like it's missing a few safety components, the electrical system is a little unusual, I'm not sure what a "motor condenser" is and I don't see a reason for a "clutch." Other than that, it looks like it would work.

Monday, 25 February, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Right, a lot of things are missing. But the drawing is not really meant to be a detailed schematic.

The thing that struck me about the drawing was that it could not decide whether it was portraying a steam turbine drive or an electric drive submarine. So they grafted an electric motor onto the turbine driven propeller shaft. Not a good idea.

US, UK, and Russian nuke subs are steam turbine driven typically, while Chinese and French nuke subs are driven by electric drives (powered by steam turbine generators). Either approach will work, just not both on the same shaft at the same time.

The "motor condenser" was probably a "condenser motor." The clutch and the reduction gearing are just part of the drive system.

Monday, 25 February, 2008  

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