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Nuclear Powered Cars

I've been saying for quite awhile now that if we took the money we spend on the war in Iraq in one week, and divided it up among 5-10 schools, companies, and others capable of doing research, we'd all be driving around in gasoline-free cars within five to eight years.

Ethanol, from what I understand, is a bust. Corn doesn't give us a lot of energy and using corn for fuel raises the costs of basic products like milk, beef, and everything that uses corn syrup, etc.

What about nuclear powered cars? The amount of radioactive materials that'd be necessary to power a car would be incredibly small, and thus, the amount of lead surrounding the little plutonium pill would not be larger than a modern engine1. Cars would "always be on" and could even keep their temperatures controlled when parked. Engine noise wouldn't be a concern, and the amount of waste generated would be small - probably a few grams over a ten-year car life cycle.

I'm sure I haven't gotten everything right with what I've said above, but I think I'm pretty close. Why don't we have a plan for nuclear powered cars?

Footnotes

  1. I'm guessing, but I've talked with a few scientists in the field and they feel the same way.

11 Responses to "Nuclear Powered Cars"

  1. I think we will start need to thinking about not having cars at all whether they are ICE, nuclear, electric or NG.

    Gasoline was something of an anomaly and will be hard to replace in a manner that scales.

  2. Nuclear power is incredibly "dirty".

    Any tool used in manufacturing nuclear fuel itself becomes radioactive.

    The weight of the shielding would be a hinderance...

    Ah, here we go... This question was asked to a scientist over at Cornell, they have an excellent answer.

  3. I think that electric cars that are plugged into a house that is plugged into a grid that is powered by a nuclear power plant would work just as well... especially if we get it so the battery lasts 750+ miles before charging. (3,000 miles between charges would be ideal 🙂 though wouldn't it?)

  4. Ethanol from corn is a bust. Not so hardy grasses like sugarcane and switchgrass.

  5. what is some one got into a car accident and the car blows up that 1 car would give off radioaction and would kill the enviorment and cause diases and thats 1 car abit like a super small chernybol diaster.

  6. drh said on June 3, 2008:

    what is some one got into a car accident and the car blows up that 1 car would give off radioaction and would kill the enviorment and cause diases and thats 1 car abit like a super small chernybol diaster.

    No it wouldn't. Be serious.

    1. Erik is right drh, most of the talk of cars being powered by nuclear energy is in the form of so called nuclear batteries. which use the decay of radioactive isotopes to generate power, it is actually similar to the way solar panels work. The most common isotope being tritium. this tech has been around for years, in fact the first pacemaker used just such a battery, and those green glow in the dark exit signs in schools and hospitals... same tech. If learn about the subject matter you won't make ignorant comments.

  7. Fantastic someone who thinks like me
    I predict within a very short space of time we will be seeing cars of all types with a nuclear battery ,
    Nuclear london taxis are being introduced in 2009 .
    Its with us now

  8. I understand that when a power plant that uses nuclear power looses down to 70% production rate that they change the rods. I don't know if there is any truth to that or not but if there was some , why cant the auto makers put just a little in each car , if not mass transit systems. We can do it!!!!!! I'm with you on this line of thinking. maybe one day!

  9. Are you all serious? Yes electric vehicles will be a reality and hopefully very soon. But with almost every thing cute and trendy green until green stuff can work as well or better (results) the usage of such products is a bust and I will not be force to use such products. WTS vehicles too will have to perform as well or better as oil based fueled vehicle for any real success. Until then drill baby drill and I mean here in the US now. You can't windmill or solar panel this country or the world with results out side of the expensive endemic results that are supplements at best. The US can get the job done with R&D but it may have to be looking at hydrogen/nuclear programs. Cap and trade (tax) is just a way to pay for healthcare reform for when the bottom drops out on fibrous ways of raising the money needed. Don’t let that happen ever.

  10. We should be advancing battery technology not nuclear fuel or any other foolishness. With the breakthroughs in nanotechnology we are only a few years away from seeing real high capacity fast charge batteries that will take electric cars from something only the really "green" drive to something that's practical and efficient.


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