Nuclear Powered Planes To Become A Reality?
by Alan Harten
December 29, 2008
Researchers at a Government funded project believe that nuclear powered planes may well be on their way to becoming a reality sooner rather than later.
With the ever rising cost and decreasing availability of the petroleum needed to power conventional aircraft, as well concerns as the ecological damage they cause, governments and aerospace companies are searching for other sources of fuel for aircraft, and in nuclear fuel they seem to have ‘rediscovered’ one.
During the 1950s American and Soviet scientists experimented with the idea of using nuclear power plants for their fighter planes’ engines.
The ability to fly large distances without the need to refuel had a lot of military top brass, from both countries, very excited.
Eventually, despite some successful testing, the project was abandoned when it was decided that long range missiles rendered the need for nuclear powered aircraft obsolete.
Times are changing now though and the idea of travelling large distances without refuelling is again becoming a popular one.
Long haul flights have become very popular with tourists, with Australia and New Zealand proving to be destinations of choice for UK travelers.
Travelling such long distances means stop overs to refuel are needed.
However should nuclear powered aircraft become a reality, such distances could easily be covered in one flight, powered by 1lb of nuclear fuel.
The cheap nature of the fuel, coupled with the improvement in ecological impact (avoiding the expensive taxes governments lay on aerospace companies for their CO2 emissions) would see prices go down and air travel again become more affordable.
Tourist trade would become even more important than it is now.
Only time will tell if such planes become a reality.
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