Urban legend or Nuclear Tatra

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jamesfrom180

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Ok I ran across a reference to Russian (USSR) mobile nuclear power plants. Basically a small nuclear pile that could be driven to a site and provide steam to power a generator.

Some of the pics apear to be Tatra trucks or a tracked vehicle. Does anyone have any sort of confermation of this. :?:
 

jamesfrom180

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Yeah, but that is the only source I have found was the English>Russian site. I have my doubts that they ever even built anything like that. Would be rather feasible and Russia is so massive I could understand the need but I still doubt someone would do it. But, the reports sounded like not one but a couple even one on a tracked platform.
 

blisters13

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HA HA Looking at the sepia-toned pics: typical stone-age Ruskies, using a choker sling to handle the core (or whatever that heavy ball-shaped equipment is)! A couple of lifting eyes wouldn't have cost much more....
 
RTGs were also quite common with the US and Russia. Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators. Basically a plutonium pellet that generated heat and power is created. Constant power output for 100 years. After about 30 to 40 years the power output would drop to about half. We used them all over in Alaska to power some of our Seismic station ect ect. Until a wild fire happened snd some fire department saw the signes and claimed it could have contaminated the entire area. Not even close. There encased in layers of steel and lead. Fire wouldnt hurt them. Not to mention they were in Concrete buildings.......Oh well so much for the good old days.

Just to clearify. I didnt work on those sites. I just know the story behind them.
 
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jime

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RTGs were also quite common with the US and Russia.
I saw a program after 9/11 about the proliferation of nuclear materials. It seems that the Russians had these things scattered all across remote areas, many of them forgotten. There was even a group of guys that found one and dismantled it for scrap....not the best thing to do. They didnt't live very long after that. Of course, there are no "Danger Radioactive" signs on these things. They just looked like old abandoned equipment out in the woods.
 

jamesfrom180

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So I guess this is pretty well in the "confirmed" column. I know of the Nuclear batteries you are talking about. Most space craft for deep exploration carried a variety of them. Same principle as a solar pannel just instead of solar radiation you use plutonium or another "donor" substance and two dissimilar metals. A constant voltage of whatever design for 150 years and then it halves its pretty cool. Just that whole pesky genie in a bottle thing.

So I take it the conclusion is MAZ tractor and not Tatra. It would be pretty cool to have a shed/house on tracks. Just rather not pick up a surplus one.
 

fuzzytoaster

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I saw a program after 9/11 about the proliferation of nuclear materials. It seems that the Russians had these things scattered all across remote areas, many of them forgotten. There was even a group of guys that found one and dismantled it for scrap....not the best thing to do. They didnt't live very long after that. Of course, there are no "Danger Radioactive" signs on these things. They just looked like old abandoned equipment out in the woods.
I think I saw something of that on the history channel once. Some lumberjacks in east russia were working and they came across a scrap material trail. Thinking they could make a buck they followed it and found a deteriorated tank of sorts. With a heavy snow storm coming in they decided to settle down near it due to the fact some of the metal emitted heat. One awoke with 3rd degree burns on his back and the other was dead, later on it was determined to be an unstable fuel-rod that was "illegally" disposed of. The burn victim died in the hospital due to radiation exposure. Crazy world...:cookoo:

(I wouldnt make this up either)
 

jamesfrom180

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Well back to facts: does anyone know how many of these things were made? What did they power?

http://www.bellona.org/articles/articles_2010/belarus_mobile_nuke_plants

within this article is a brief history. The two types were pilot programs cut short by the Chernobyl.

The name of this is Pamir. What I have now found fascinating is that the US lead DARPA teams are looking at package style Nukes for use in the NPT countries. Looks like the old USSR may have been slightly ahead of its time.
 
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RangerBob

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I hope this thread isn't considered long dead, but I just stumbled apon it.

I have some experience here. I've worked with (or more correctly, lived with) Sr90-fueled RTGs in the USAF. They were hand-me-downs from the USN. They had outlived their useful life for the Navy mission, but still had enough life for our mission. I believe they had been used by the Navy to power a variety of unmanned equipment, including some remote lighthouses. The Rooskies used a butt-load of them for remote lighthouses, and eventually forgot where they put them all!! They are out there still, rusting away in the wilderness.

Nuclear (nuculer for you 'W'-heads) power plants use controlled fission to create huge amounts of heat while RTGs use passive decay to create a continuous small amount of heat. Two completely different technologies. Slightly mishandle one and you have a planet-wide disaster. Hit the other with a freight train and you have a derailed train.

Now then, as to whether the reactors in the OP were used to produce steam, I had my doubts. It would come down to whether it is more efficient and safer in a mobile platform to heat a thermal-electric pile that directly converts heat into a bit of electricity in a simple, compact, fairly safe and cool package with no moving parts...or extend water pipes through the scary bits to make steam to turn turbines making lots of juice, thereby increasing the complexity and failure modes. After taking another look at the newer vehicles in the 'englishrussia' link, those do appear to be mobile nuclear power plants and not RTGs, but I'm no thermodynamicist (though I did stay in a Holiday Inn last week).

Also, in my afterlife as a gov't contractor, I had some small involvement with a reactor technology exchange program between the Rooskies and US. The reactor we were interested in at the time was sort of a hybrid between a standard reactor and an RTG. Some details here, under the 'Topaz-II' heading...
TOPAZ nuclear reactor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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RangerBob

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This just in...

A picture from back in the day at a fixed RTG emplacement. Note the TLDs (especially Guidos). It's been 32yrs since this picture was taken, but I'm sure this unit is still putting out enough juice to keep your cellphone charged.


CCF08242014_0003.jpg

Callsigns left to right: Trollop, Deedle, Guido, Hoser, and the rakishly good-looking Ranger(Bob). Picture taken by Yogi.
 
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