Frequent question: Why there is no nuclear powered aircraft?

Are there any nuclear powered spacecraft?

Nuclear energy has powered spacecraft almost from the dawn of the space age, helping robots such as NASA’s Curiosity and Perseverance rovers on Mars, Cassini Saturn probe and twin Voyager craft do their pioneering work.

Why don’t we have nuclear spaceships?

One big issue with nuclear power in space is that you need to discard the heat somehow, which for RTGs you can only do by radiating the heat. You end up having heat-radiating panels in place of solar panels, with substantially lower energy output per kilogram than solar panels, unless you are very far from Sun.

Why don’t we use nuclear energy in space?

The uranium in use at commercial power plants is typically enriched up to five percent, which is insufficient for nuclear propulsion systems. For space travel, the uranium will need to be enriched up to 19.75 percent. “[19.75 percent] is the highest enrichment that can still be classified as low enriched,” Meyers said.

Can an aircraft carrier power a city?

The carrier can power 12000 houses and that is a small city. If the steam plant of an amphib or a carrier were modified to increase electrical generation to match propulsion power, many more houses could be powered, equivalent to a medium city based on population only.

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