Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Submarines in the Idaho desert

Submarines in Idaho?
In the desert?

Actually, a hull, a reactor, and a steam turbine.
All part of the 1953 simulation of the first ever naval submarine nuclear propulsion reactor to run in an actual ship configuration all the way to turning a propeller shaft.

That is what we PMs call a full-scale model and simulation test.
And not only was this first-ever in a ship's configuration, but the reactor-steam turbine combo ran for 96 continuous hours, a near-miracle for the technology of the day. 
"Radical technologies require conservative engineering"
Admiral Rickover, the father of naval nuclear power 

And what significance was 96 hours?
That was the time needed -- according to estimates -- for the soon-to-be Nautilus to transit continuously submerged from North America to Europe.(*)

We know the rest of the story: this "submarine in Idaho" project simulation and testing led to a successful Nautilus, followed by widespread nuclear naval power within a few decades.

.(*) Did you know: in World War II, only 20 miles was the extended range for continuously submerged?

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