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Posted: 2/25/2006 7:21:14 AM EDT
Is so many people swear that suitcase nukes are out there then why can't we use similiar technology to shield an engine for a nuclear powered car?
Enquiring minds want to know!
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 7:41:48 AM EDT
Do you know of a nuclear reactor that fits in a car? These things are often triple redundant against leaks in the cooling system and have lots of shielding.

I think at this time we do not have the ability to get usuable amounts of power out of unit small enough for a car, but not have enough nuclear material to cause a massive disaster should one leak.

Besides, can you imagine someone trying to modify their car for more power and haveing a melt down?
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 7:45:57 AM EDT
Well, if there are suitcase nukes they are meant to release radiation as a big ass explosion. Reactors are meant to contain radiation and release safe energy.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 7:48:19 AM EDT
Another problem is weight. Lead and concrete shielding are heavy. Water and sodium coolants are heavy. Uranium is really heavy. If we could shrink a reactor down to fit a car, it's bust the suspension.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 7:50:38 AM EDT
A wild ass guess would be.

The nuclear material in a "suitcase nuke" is not "reacting"(I'm not sure that is the right choice of words, if not, someone will be along to fix it soon). If it was there would have to be some sort of way to transfer the heat.

The second thing is how many car accidents do you think happen in the US daily?
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 7:50:42 AM EDT
The way some people drive would you really want fissionable material in their vehicle?
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:01:42 AM EDT
Are "suitcase nukes" actual nuclear bombs or dirty bombs?
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:09:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gunslinger808:
The way some people drive would you really want fissionable material in their vehicle?



thats where the graphite based pebble bed reactors come in
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:11:43 AM EDT
When you get your nucular powered car you can get this license plate.



A suitcase nuke doesn't have any kind of shielding... that's part of the point... to irradiate people.

Yes a low-yield nuke bomb can probably fit into a suitcase. It it doesn't function properly then it becomes and impromptu dirty bomb.

Dirty Bomb
Nuclear Bomb
Nuclear Power

But the Delorean in Back to the Future was nuclear powered, wasn't it?
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:21:14 AM EDT


doesn't the difference between fission & fusion have something to do with this ??
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:30:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/25/2006 8:31:48 AM EDT by Gamma762]

Originally Posted By GaryM:
Is so many people swear that suitcase nukes are out there then why can't we use similiar technology to shield an engine for a nuclear powered car?
Enquiring minds want to know!




A nuclear weapon isn't particularly radioactive (until it's detonated). Radiation is released by the reaction and the by products of that reaction.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:33:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gamma762:

Originally Posted By GaryM:
Is so many people swear that suitcase nukes are out there then why can't we use similiar technology to shield an engine for a nuclear powered car?
Enquiring minds want to know!




A nuclear weapon isn't particularly radioactive (until it's detonated). Radiation is released by the reaction and the by products of that reaction.


Yep that weapons grade plutonium or uranium isn't that radioactive.


The idea of shielding eludes you, doesn't it?
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 8:37:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By pathfinder74:
When you get your nucular powered car you can get this license plate.

www.jrlago.com/img/articleimages/resized/small_dumbass.jpg

A suitcase nuke doesn't have any kind of shielding... that's part of the point... to irradiate people.

Yes a low-yield nuke bomb can probably fit into a suitcase. It it doesn't function properly then it becomes and impromptu dirty bomb.

Dirty Bomb
Nuclear Bomb
Nuclear Power

But the Delorean in Back to the Future was nuclear powered, wasn't it?



how else could you generate 1.21 jiggawatts?

in the sequal, it ran on garbage, but the garbage was placed into a "Mr. Fusion".
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 9:00:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/25/2006 9:12:31 AM EDT by Gamma762]

Originally Posted By dport:
Yep that weapons grade plutonium or uranium isn't that radioactive.


No it's not. Lots of submariners have slept literally inches from live warheads day after day.



The idea of shielding eludes you, doesn't it?


Not at all. You don't need to radiation shield a weapon, because it's not a radiation hazard until its used, and then you'd need a mountain to shield you from it.



Originally Posted By cnatra:
doesn't the difference between fission & fusion have something to do with this ??


Both reactions release radiation, the by-products of fission are highly radioactive and the by-products of fusion are not.

eta

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:
Are "suitcase nukes" actual nuclear bombs or dirty bombs?


Actual weapons, albeit small ones.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 9:53:51 AM EDT
Ok, so a suitcase nuke is possible then? How would one shield it enough to get past even basic radiation detectors?
BTW, are then any physicists commenting here? I would like to differentiate between the opinions of experts in the field versus Peak_oil type self proclaimed experts.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 9:57:02 AM EDT
Well, the vagina has a radioactive resistance coefficient of .5 and depending on public hair that maybe higher. So by my logic a suitcase bomb is more then concealable.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 10:07:09 AM EDT
Just to set a few things straight:

A.) Suitcase nuclear weapons are real. Developed during the cold war as 'Atomic Demolitions Munitions' they are very small, known only to weight about 50 pounds such as our W-54 davey crocket. They use either a relatively inefficient gun type sub-critical fission assembly or a more efficient oblique implosion type assembly as was likely used in later small warheads. Also it is likely, although not acknowledged that both the former Soviet Union and US maintain smaller warheads for spec ops reasons derived from the primaries of modern two stage fusion devices.

B.) Warheads, fissile materials and all release very low levels of background radiation, it's the daughter particles and associated radiation produced during a runaway fission reaction during detonation that are highly radioactive. Very few long lived daughter particles are produced from the fusion stage of the device, thus warheads that acheive bigger percentages of their yeild from fusion are 'cleaner' then pure fission bombs. This is why there is significant research being done (I would expect anyways) towards developing pure fusion, or fallout free bombs. I'd wager a years pay this is one of the hidden motivations from building the national ignition facility.

C.) It is probably possible to build a nuclear powered car, well or tractor trailer at least using a liquid potassium or liquid magnesium single stage cooling loop and MHD coupling (similar to the SNAP-1 reactor built for satellite use in the 60-70s), but it would be heavy, expensive, and if you think the environmentalists are pissed about your SUV just wait until they see your 15megawatt pride and joy.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 10:11:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 10:24:33 AM EDT
A suitcase nuke is a small, quite inefficient gun-type design fission bomb where two separate, below-critical masses of U-235 are driven together by a high explosive, creating a critical mass and an impressive Ka-blooey. I mean 'inefficient' compared to an implosion device using the same amount of fissible material - but they are still very nasty weapons.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 10:30:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gamma762:

Originally Posted By dport:
Yep that weapons grade plutonium or uranium isn't that radioactive.


No it's not. Lots of submariners have slept literally inches from live warheads day after day.



The idea of shielding eludes you, doesn't it?


Not at all. You don't need to radiation shield a weapon, because it's not a radiation hazard until its used, and then you'd need a mountain to shield you from it.



Originally Posted By cnatra:
doesn't the difference between fission & fusion have something to do with this ??


Both reactions release radiation, the by-products of fission are highly radioactive and the by-products of fusion are not.

eta

Originally Posted By Greenhorn:
Are "suitcase nukes" actual nuclear bombs or dirty bombs?


Actual weapons, albeit small ones.



Well, as far as this "suitcase nuke". Such a small weapon is going to be quite "warm", in fact the weapon will be warm to the touch. Anyone sleeping inches away from it, they will recieve a lifetime dose within a 8 hour sleep, one more sleep shift and they will be dead men walking. I know this because a USAF Crew chief, on a cargo aircraft, slept on a nuclear projectile case because it was warm. He woke up sick and got sent to Kirtland AFB/Sandia for immediate care for radiation poisoning. He got a lifetime dose in a matter of hours.

Now on to the Fission reactor in a car.

I can't think of anyway one could put one in a car. One, I am not sure a reactor could be made so small, the cooling and shielding would easily weigh too much for car to handle. If one took the Soviet approach to shielding, you would be fried in a matter of minutes from intense neutron and gamma radiation.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 10:34:22 AM EDT
Having nuke material in a moving object that often smashes into other things at high speed is a bad bad bad bad bad bad idea.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:15:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By eodtech2000:
Well, as far as this "suitcase nuke". Such a small weapon is going to be quite "warm", in fact the weapon will be warm to the touch. Anyone sleeping inches away from it, they will recieve a lifetime dose within a 8 hour sleep, one more sleep shift and they will be dead men walking. I know this because a USAF Crew chief, on a cargo aircraft, slept on a nuclear projectile case because it was warm. He woke up sick and got sent to Kirtland AFB/Sandia for immediate care for radiation poisoning. He got a lifetime dose in a matter of hours.


Low level alpha radiation is what causes the "warm to the touch" feel of the weapon cores, although alpha particles are stopped well within the device (or by a sheet of paper, or a couple inches of air). There is a low level of neutron emissions that escape from the device (from spontaneous fissions) but this would take a long time to reach a hazardous level of exposure.

I'm not discounting your story but it seems strange indeed. What time frame/decade was this? Is he sure it was a weapon itself and not, say, a large quantity of tritium? (used to replenish the normally small quantity of tritium used in the weapons)

www.milnet.com/nukeweap/suitcase1.htm



Q: How long could someone be exposed to a device of this type (shielded and unshielded)?

A: Close proximity to a bomb's worth of plutonium 40 hours a week may violate OSHA guidelines.

I'm *not* being flip here, this is an important worker safety issue where bombs and components are fabricated and assembled. The only "shielding" are rubber gloves, and a plexiglas window. Weapon grade plutonium can be handled without undue concern, but temporary rotation to other jobs is sometimes required to keep down exposure levels. Similarly, the submarine deployed W80-0 warhead used "supergrade" plutonium because of neutron exposure problems for sub crews who work 12 hour days in close proximity to warheads for a couple of months at a time.


It's believed that a "suitcase" weapon would also use "supergrade" material to reduce neutron emissions (and detectabilty).
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:26:51 AM EDT
Shielding is for pussies.


Originally Posted By MagKnightX:
Another problem is weight. Lead and concrete shielding are heavy. Water and sodium coolants are heavy. Uranium is really heavy. If we could shrink a reactor down to fit a car, it's bust the suspension.

Link Posted: 2/25/2006 11:27:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gamma762:

Originally Posted By eodtech2000:
Well, as far as this "suitcase nuke". Such a small weapon is going to be quite "warm", in fact the weapon will be warm to the touch. Anyone sleeping inches away from it, they will recieve a lifetime dose within a 8 hour sleep, one more sleep shift and they will be dead men walking. I know this because a USAF Crew chief, on a cargo aircraft, slept on a nuclear projectile case because it was warm. He woke up sick and got sent to Kirtland AFB/Sandia for immediate care for radiation poisoning. He got a lifetime dose in a matter of hours.


Low level alpha radiation is what causes the "warm to the touch" feel of the weapon cores, although alpha particles are stopped well within the device (or by a sheet of paper, or a couple inches of air). There is a low level of neutron emissions that escape from the device (from spontaneous fissions) but this would take a long time to reach a hazardous level of exposure.

I'm not discounting your story but it seems strange indeed. What time frame/decade was this? Is he sure it was a weapon itself and not, say, a large quantity of tritium? (used to replenish the normally small quantity of tritium used in the weapons)

www.milnet.com/nukeweap/suitcase1.htm



Q: How long could someone be exposed to a device of this type (shielded and unshielded)?

A: Close proximity to a bomb's worth of plutonium 40 hours a week may violate OSHA guidelines.

I'm *not* being flip here, this is an important worker safety issue where bombs and components are fabricated and assembled. The only "shielding" are rubber gloves, and a plexiglas window. Weapon grade plutonium can be handled without undue concern, but temporary rotation to other jobs is sometimes required to keep down exposure levels. Similarly, the submarine deployed W80-0 warhead used "supergrade" plutonium because of neutron exposure problems for sub crews who work 12 hour days in close proximity to warheads for a couple of months at a time.


It's believed that a "suitcase" weapon would also use "supergrade" material to reduce neutron emissions (and detectabilty).



The weapon in question was being removed from Europe in the early 90's. The Army's nuclear projectiles were VERY warm, the reason being is the amount of fissionable matter confined in a small area, which in turn increased the speed of fissioning quite a bit. They were fissioning at a much higher rate than any other weapons we had.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 12:02:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GaryM:
Is so many people swear that suitcase nukes are out there then why can't we use similiar technology to shield an engine for a nuclear powered car?
Enquiring minds want to know!



You're joking right!?!? I barly trust my life to the crappy cars they build now, much less with fissionable material on board, plus all the crappy drivers!!!

Also the cost would be prohibitive....

Can you imagin 1 million dirty bombs rolling along our nations highways!!! We wouldn't even need terrorist trying to nuke us, we'd do it our selves......



What a Goober.......
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 1:00:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Gamma762:

Originally Posted By eodtech2000:
Well, as far as this "suitcase nuke". Such a small weapon is going to be quite "warm", in fact the weapon will be warm to the touch. Anyone sleeping inches away from it, they will recieve a lifetime dose within a 8 hour sleep, one more sleep shift and they will be dead men walking. I know this because a USAF Crew chief, on a cargo aircraft, slept on a nuclear projectile case because it was warm. He woke up sick and got sent to Kirtland AFB/Sandia for immediate care for radiation poisoning. He got a lifetime dose in a matter of hours.


Low level alpha radiation is what causes the "warm to the touch" feel of the weapon cores, although alpha particles are stopped well within the device (or by a sheet of paper, or a couple inches of air). There is a low level of neutron emissions that escape from the device (from spontaneous fissions) but this would take a long time to reach a hazardous level of exposure.

I'm not discounting your story but it seems strange indeed. What time frame/decade was this? Is he sure it was a weapon itself and not, say, a large quantity of tritium? (used to replenish the normally small quantity of tritium used in the weapons)

www.milnet.com/nukeweap/suitcase1.htm



Q: How long could someone be exposed to a device of this type (shielded and unshielded)?

A: Close proximity to a bomb's worth of plutonium 40 hours a week may violate OSHA guidelines.

I'm *not* being flip here, this is an important worker safety issue where bombs and components are fabricated and assembled. The only "shielding" are rubber gloves, and a plexiglas window. Weapon grade plutonium can be handled without undue concern, but temporary rotation to other jobs is sometimes required to keep down exposure levels. Similarly, the submarine deployed W80-0 warhead used "supergrade" plutonium because of neutron exposure problems for sub crews who work 12 hour days in close proximity to warheads for a couple of months at a time.


It's believed that a "suitcase" weapon would also use "supergrade" material to reduce neutron emissions (and detectabilty).


I'm pretty sure those submarine warheads use depleted uranium as a shield. Remember weapons grade plutonium does have 7% P240 which has a higher nuetron emission rate.

The Russians and our people both say that if you get a bomb into the size of a suitcase it would have to be refurbished every couple of months because of the small amount of material it would actually contain.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 1:06:17 PM EDT
they tryed to build a nuclear powerered aircraft way back in the day....
the major problems were shielding the crew and the fact that with the single loop system it spewed out radiation.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 1:13:59 PM EDT
Your Kung Fu is weak.
Link Posted: 2/25/2006 1:15:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By OregonShooter:
they tryed to build a nuclear powerered aircraft way back in the day....
the major problems were shielding the crew and the fact that with the single loop system it spewed out radiation.



Right, it was a bomber. Then they moved away from the single loop concept and went something like double loop which eliminated the radiation trail, however, left the engines underpowered and a large lead cockpit.
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