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Marine Applications of Nuclear Power 2015

  • April 2015
  • -
  • Aruvian's R'search
  • -
  • 575 pages

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The advent of modern civilization has powered the ever expanding human footprint on earth which is now present all across land, air and sea. In a historical perspective of the world, some of society’s earliest expansion objectives were met through the sea itself. Thereby, the role played by the oceans and human activity across them has been vital politically as well as in commerce. Today, the modern society also does a sizeable chunk of commerce and holds active political interests in the oceans. It has become an established fact that major industrial commerce takes place by the sea route itself as compared to the air route. In defense terms, the major nations of the world have actively developed their naval strengths as defenders, force projectors, front openers as well as defense backbones. Thus, the role of an exceptional naval fleet in any nation’s defense and commerce policy is undeniably critical to the country’s geo political success. Today, there are naval forces which are as huge as entire cities on water as they are purpose built for global power presence. Undoubtedly, this entire activity has equally huge energy consumption needs.

In land and air based systems energy needs can be met by transport for land as well as base support or mid air support for air needs, the jigsaw comes to fore at sea wherein energy may actually decide the outcome. The operational dynamics of providing energy support at sea are challenging as vessels may not even dock for long periods at go and the support provider itself cannot afford to be marooned in the middle of nowhere. Initially, some nations answered this challenge by powering their naval assets on fossil fuel systems. These worked fine for some time but a growing realization soon dawned upon them that constant replenishment, maintenance, limitation of storage and safety were dampening factors.

The scientific community of developed nations took up the challenge by identifying the two basic needs of energy support at sea. Firstly, the resource had to be long lasting and provide enough energy to meet a multitude of operational requirements in action as well as at peace. Secondly, the resource should have longer replenishment cycles thereby allowing longer range, independence of operation and more uptime to the naval asset at sea. The only resource which has succeeded in meeting all such conditions as also displayed ease of scaling up from built up capabilities is the nuclear energy option.

The adaptation of nuclear energy to power global naval assets has revolutionized the thought process behind this crucial industry. Aruvian’s R’search’s report on Marine Applications of Nuclear Power focuses on this crucial industry which is a sterling example of technology pushing the physical boundaries of business and defense. The report develops a comprehensive understanding of this subject as under:

a) A clear and comprehensive understanding of nuclear marine propulsion, particularly in terms of military and civilian use; including the various types of marine-type nuclear reactors.

b) The various applications of a nuclear navy. This includes an in-depth analysis of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, and other nuclear-powered vessels.

c) An analysis of the benefits and challenges facing the development of marine applications of nuclear power.

d) Development over the years of the many types of naval nuclear reactors. These include the analysis of the S1W pressurized water reactor design, the large ship reactors, SIR/ S1G intermediate flux beryllium sodium cooled reactor, and many others.

e) An analysis of the naval reactors in the United States, including the designation system for reactors, and the various naval reactors and power plants. Nuclear reactors analyzed include the A1B reactor, A1W rector, C1W reactor, and many others. The analysis also includes an analysis of various types of nuclear-powered submarines owned by the United States.
f) Economic viability of a nuclear navy for the United States

g) A complete analysis of commercial nuclear ships and their reactor designs.

h) Analysis of the nuclear navies around the world.

i) The emerging technologies of All-Electric Propulsion and the various stealth technologies in use are also analyzed. This includes an analysis of anti-submarine warfare as well as the use of free electron laser and the electromagnetic rail gun.

j) An in-depth analysis of nuclear-powered ships used for both civil and naval purposes.

k) A section is dedicated to the analysis of the nuclear-powered surface ships in the United States, including a comparison between conventional and nuclear power usage for ships. The US Navy's Nuclear Propulsion Program is also analyzed, along with an analysis of the current Navy nuclear-powered ships. Cost factor impacting the development of these types of ships are also analyzed.

l) Moving on to an analysis of nuclear-powered icebreakers. The section analyzes the Russian expertise in this industry along with the many rector types that are used in the icebreaks. An analysis of some nuclear-powered icebreakers such as the Lenin Nuclear Icebreaker, the Sevmorput, NS 50 Let Pobedy, etc., completed the section. Use of the nuclear-powered icebreakers for tourism purposes is also touched upon.

m) Nuclear submarines are perhaps the most important application of nuclear power in the marine industry. We analyze the technical features in a nuclear-powered submarine, along with the submarine force of various countries, including China, India, France, Russia, the UK, and the US. Submarines under development are also analyzed, including any new technical developments. The upcoming developments in Argentina, Brazil, and South Korea are also analyzed.

n) An analysis of the nuclear submarines worldwide sums up the in-depth analysis of nuclear-powered submarines.

o) Any report on nuclear-powered marine applications is incomplete without an analysis of Russia's nuclear-powered naval fleet. We carry out a comprehensive coverage of Russia's nuclear-powered naval fleet starting with the military and civilian vessel classes and generations. The section is divided into an analysis of the civilian marine nuclear reactors in Russia and the military marine nuclear reactors in Russia. A well-covered industry forecast concludes this section.

p) The emergence of China and India as forces to reckon with in terms of their Nuclear Navy is looked upon in this report in an analysis of China's Submarine Force and India's Nuclear Navy.

Overall, the research report Marine Applications of Nuclear Power from Aruvian’s R’search builds a complete understanding of both civilian and military uses of nuclear power in the marine industry.

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