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Simple Safe Throttled Research Reactor

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All the reactor builds I've seen so far are "always-on" builds which require ~8 steam turbines to cool constantly and in most cases will waste most of the produced power. 

Previously it was possible to turn off the reactors heat production with an automation signal which made it relatively simple to throttle power with a temperature sensor directly connected to the automation input. However, the automation behavior was recently changed to only stop the reactor from requesting new fuel, without stopping heat production.

This build uses timed delivery of 1kg of enriched uranium at a time to disable heat production on demand.


The machine runs 3 turbines at ~95% capacity.  Feedback control in the steam rooms allow them to be safely toggled on or off depending on power demands. (In survival the switch would be replaced with a smart battery with appropriate settings).  The entire machine is lined with bunker tiles for safety.  Uranium is delivered by the righthand sweeper reaching through the corner to an outside bin.



Turbine exhaust water is buffered in liquid reservoirs to ensure there is always enough coolant for the reactor.  Water is piped past the reactor input first then to a liquid vent which is enabled when pressure in the steam room drops below 20kg/tile.



The heart of the build is the throttled delivery of enriched uranium to the reactor.  The storage bin in steam chamber is set to 1kg and is filled by the right sweeper.  The left sweeper is able to react the reactor input and delivers 1kg of uranium each time it is enabled by automation.

While running the reactor uses 16.66g/s of uranium, or 1kg every 60s.  So, the automation is setup to deliver 1kg of uranium to the reactor every 65s.  But only if the steam temperature is below 185C.  If the steam turbines are turned off because no power is required, the steam will stay above the set point and the reactor will run out of fuel and shutdown within 60s.  Backing of igneous rock temp shift plates and 20kg/tile of steam provide enough thermal mass such that if (in the worse case) the turbines are turned off immediately after 1kg of fuel is delivered the steam room will settle out at ~199C, where it will be stable until the turbines are turned back on to draw more heat.

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5 hours ago, Hokaeru said:

Are you using the reactor "only" for power purpose ?

Yeah, this is a power-only build.  Partially because I think there are better ways to produce radbolts.  Also it takes about 8 steam turbines to eat the total heat output of reactor, so even if you're producing power full time the reactor here has a <40% uptime.  You could of course strap on more turbines, but that's left as an exercise for the reader :-) .


In addition, you may have noticed I'm already collecting the nuclear waste in a small radbolt generator:


The research reactor creates 1000kg/cycle of nuclear waste at 100% uptime.  Just collecting the radiation from the waste will quickly get you above the ~320 rads you can collect directly from the reactor.


5 hours ago, Hokaeru said:

Or else how do you get the radbolts out of there ?

I'd use something like this:


You could also use 2 liquid locks with vacuum in between but that would require a break in the containment shell.


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