Status-6 / Poseidon - Small Nclear Power Plant - Submarines
Russia has developed a number of advanced weapons systems, including a nuclear-powered cruise missile, which make all US capabilities aimed at undermining the Russian nuclear deterrent obsolete, President Vladimir Putin announced his annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall 01 March 2018. Putin also said that miniaturization of a nuclear reactor gave Russia another advanced weapons system in the form of a high-endurance underwater drone. The drone can dive “really very deep” and travel between continents at a speed that is several times higher than that of a submarine, a modern torpedo or even a surface ship, he said.
In December 2017, Russia completed the trials of a nuclear reactor which gives the drones such capabilities. The reactor is “100 times smaller” than those used by nuclear-propelled submarines and generates more power, Putin said. It can also reach its peak power 200 times faster than a conventional nuclear power plant. The video shown for this weapon system didn’t include any actual test, but presumably the claimed miniaturization of a nuclear reactor, which was used for the cruise missile, can also work for a watercraft.
The lack of a working domestic air-independent power plants (VNEU) and solutions based on high-performance lithium batteries, combined with the high cost and delays in the construction of multi-purpose nuclear submarines, may force the Russian Navy to return to the concept of equipping low-power nuclear submarines. At the moment, in the world, under the influence of the "green", there is a departure from nuclear energy. In the near future, Russia does not plan to abandon the "peaceful atom", is actively developing in this direction, and is most likely the "first among equals" in the field of nuclear energy.
One example of the emergence of breakthrough technologies among Russian nuclear scientists is the creation of a small-sized nuclear power plant for the Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle (BPA) and a nuclear missile engine for the Burevestnik cruise missile with an unlimited flight range. There are no reliable data on the nuclear power plant of the Poseidon nuclear power plant. Presumably, this may be a reactor with a liquid metal coolant with a capacity of about 8-10 MW, based on the one developed by A.P. Alexandrova (NITI) of the AMB-8 project, with silent magnetohydrodynamic cooling pumps of the primary circuit. Given the specifics of using the Poseidon BPA, its nuclear power plant can have a limited service life of several thousand hours, which will not allow it to be directly borrowed for promising submarines, but leaves it as a source of technological solutions.
The question of whether there is radiation protection at the nuclear power plant in the Poseidon BPA. On the one hand, the absence of a crew does not require full radiation protection, only the so-called "Shadow" protection of compartments with sensitive devices. On the other hand, the lack of radiation protection can complicate the operation of the Poseidon BPA - installation / removal from the carrier, maintenance, even though its reactor is “shut off” by default.
Both in the USSR and in Russia, liquid metal coolant reactors were developed very actively, right up to the serial use in the submarines of Project 705 Lira, which have both outstanding technical characteristics and an equally wide range of insoluble problems. It is likely that the “liquid metal” (presumably) Poseidon nuclear power plant is effective only within the framework of the task at hand and cannot be adapted for long trouble-free operation.
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