Suggestion: Improvements to nuclear power system

  • I've been playing IndustrialCraft since IC1, so I've seen the overhaul of nuclear power; overall I'm somewhat satisfied. Still, I've done and unhealthy amount of research into all things nuclear - to the point I could confidently build a reactor in my back yard - and as such, a few parts of the new reactor system still disappoint me. Obviously, part of good game design is to balance reality with what is fun; I'm basically going to outline nuclear power IRL, and then make some suggestions to how IC2 nuclear power could be made even more awesome.

    The Nuclear Fuel Cycle IRL:
    Generally speaking, there are 3 different elements of interest when talking about nuclear power: Uranium, Plutonium, and Thorium. Of those, each consists of a number of Isotopes. If you'll remember back to high school chemistry, every atom consists of a number of protons, neutrons, and electrons. The number of protons determines when element the atom is; Uranium contains 92 protons. The number of neutrons determines the isotope, which in turn determines the atom's usefulness in a nuclear reaction. The difference between the number of protons and the number of electrons determines the charge, which is mostly irrelevant to what we're talking about. Coming back to isotopes, they are expressed as the element's name, followed by the sum of the atom's protons and neutrons.

    Unfortunately for us, nature does not cooperate in providing us the elements we need for nuclear energy. Specifically, and nuclear program starts by refining the isotope U-235(Uranium with 235 - 92 neutrons). It occours in natural uranium in very small quantities - roughly 1 part per 1700, if I remember correctly. After refining the Uranium Ore into elemental (nothing but various isotopes of the element Uranium) Uranium, we have what is called "Yellow Cake Uranium". Simplifying slightly, this Yellow Cake is then put into a high tech, high speed, gas centrifuge which separates the valuable and fissile U-235 from the U-238. U-238 is useful in it's own right, but we need the U-235 first.

    Upon ammassing sufficent U-235, we're ready to build our first nuclear reactor. Smart people will build what is called a breeder reactor. Without going too in depth on how it all works, excess neutrons from the fission of U-235 can be used to bombard some of that extra U-238, turning it into Plutonium-239 - which just so happens to be more valuable than U-235. After a little bit of processing, that Plutonium we just made can be used to fuel the next nuclear fuel cycle, repeat ad infinitum.

    There is also Thorium, another naturally occurring element that can be bread into nuclear fuel. It is more common than uranium, but you have to have a working breeder reactor to extract any useful fuel from it. Regardless, it is a promising fuel, and India is looking heavily into it to fuel there nuclear power program.

    For IC2
    -Add Thorium as an ore w/ about 2X the frequency of uranium
    -Make Uranium ore be processed in a macerator to yield uranium dust
    -Add a centrifuge as a machine
    -Then have the dust go through the centrifuge to separate U-235/U-238
    -Then compress into ingots
    -Let the player breed plutonium fuel in their reactor
    -Consider including RTGs as a tier 3 mobile power source
    -Add a fallout block that damages player not wearing full nano/quantum armor, has a slight yellow/green haze, and is otherwise passible
    -Rework nukes to only be built with U-235 or Pu-239
    -Nukes should make a bigger crater than reactors, just sayin' ;)
    -Thermonuclear devices? Even bigger boom?

    I'd be happy to help with any of the nuclear stuff; email me at my registered email if anyone is interested.

  • While I like the overall idea of your design, I seriously doubt the devs will overhaul the entire Nuclear reactor process again just to make it more realistic. Your better off making an addon.

  • Actually the reactor itself is really good. Could be tweaked here or there, but overall I like that part, and it is the centerpiece of the new reactor system, so yeah. Plus I can only code in .net languages, not java.

  • This time instead of just saying it won't be implemented, I'm gonna suggest ideas to hopefully make it so it will.
    Adding a new ore is basically just a no so I wont talk about that. Onto the Uranium part. For the sake of simplicity, ignore the centrifuge, a new machine with only one function is pointless. Assume all current Uranium is U-238, regardless of occurrence IRL. Upon mining you get a U-238 piece. Either put that into the furnace or macerator, the furnace giving a U-238 piece, macerator giving U-235 dust. The U-238 ingot can be put above a cell and given a U-238 cell, which is useless on its own or gives very little EU when put in a reactor. But if you smelt the U-235 dust you get a ingot which then goes into a cell is made. This U-235 cell is equivalent to the current Uranium in IC2, but if placed around the U-238 cell from earlier in a breeder, it turns the previously useless U-238 into Plutonium. Plutonium is 1.5x (can be changed, just off the top of my head) more efficient than U-235. But as a trade off it also generates 1.5x more heat.

    Fallout blocks have already been denied so no.
    How about you just get more nukes for making it out of better ingots. Plutonium is only going to be in a cell, so no to that. But maybe 3 if made with a U-235 ingot and only 1 with U-238 piece or ingot.
    Thermonukes, while cool, just no. Nukes already crash servers and destroy huge amounts of everything, so again just no.
    And it's easier to just have nukes and reactors blow up at the same strength, keeps people scared.
    The RTG, THIS is more of addon material. Not the entire suggestion.

  • U-238 is combined with flourine and gassed to produce less than 5% U235 for reactor use, continuing the process will eventually bring the yield up to 90% (weapons grade).

    In my opinion, this would give the electrolyzer something to do. My suggestion is to have the following steps:

    - Mine U-238 from the ground (the little green balls, yay)
    - Macerate to produce 2 yellowcake (yellow dust, similar to all the other dusts)
    - Combine 1 yellowcake with empty cell to produce 1 yellow cell
    - Put yellow cell in electrolyzer to produce a fissile cell
    - Put fissile cell in furnace to create fuel rod
    - Put fuel rod in reactor until they turn into depleted cell
    - Combine 1 yellowcake, 1 depleted cell and 1 empty cell to create 2 yellow cells and repeat above (yep, double your load after the first cycle -- normally you would have leftover cake at some point in the cycle, this is to simulate that in the re-enrichment process).

    Also, the GUI for the reactor isn't exactly how one works. In a normal reactor, you WANT heat in the system in order to create steam to produce power through a turbine and THEN you cool it. How about a new recipe first, the turbine:


    A - Advanced alloy
    E - Electronic circuit

    Now the reactor...the updater (done every tick or second/configurable) can go through each item in the GUI one at a time and perform certain actions based on what it finds:

    **Fuel Rod**
    deplete 1 unit
    start 'value' at 1
    pick a direction and go along that path checking for objects:
    - Fuel Rod: deplete this by 1 unit, increase 'value' by 1, pick a direction from here and keep going
    - Water Cell: deplete this by 'value' (if unable, add as heat to the reactor hull), done moving
    - Piston: if reactor has redstone activation, add 'value' to the reactor hull heat and finish moving; otherwise, ignore this block and keep moving
    - Integrated Reactor Plating: add 'value' to the heat of the plating
    - Anything Else: add 'value' to the reactor hull heat, done moving

    **Integrated Reactor Plating** (IRP)
    if the reactor hull heat is greater, it will move up to 50 heat to itself from the hull
    if its heat is above 50, look at the 4 adjacent objects (if applicable):
    - Water Cell: deplete it by 5 and reduce IRP heat by 5 if able
    - Integrated Reactor Plating: balance up to 10 heat between them (it'll end up being 20 since both IRPs will "run" the same algorithm)
    - Coolant Cell: deplete it by 10 and reduce IRP heat by 10 if able
    - Anything else is ignored

    **Integrated Heat Dispenser**
    if the reactor hull heat is above 50, look at the 4 adjacent objects (if applicable):
    - Water Cell: deplete it by 8 and reduce hull heat by 8
    - Coolant Cell: deplete it by 12 and reduce hull heat by 12
    - Anything else is ignored

    **Coolant Cell**
    restore 1 point of depletion

    check each coolant cell adjacent and add up their depletion count as 'deplete'
    check each water cell adjacent and calculate how much to restore them as 'restore'
    using the lower of the 2 values:
    - deplete the coolant cells by this value
    - restore the water cells by this value
    - create a packet of EU based on this value

    **Other objects**

    After each object has been checked for, the reactor will then go through a hull check phase (in order):

    - reduce hull heat by 1 plus 2 for each added chamber plus 1 for each water surrounding it plus 0.25 for each air surrounding it
    - if hull is above 200 and contains ice cubes, it will use one up and reduce hull by 200 recursively
    - if hull is above 500 and contains water buckets, it will turn it into a regular bucket and reduce hull by 100 recursively (yes, just like real life, boiling water doesn't cool things down, just keeps it from going over a specific temperature once the water starts boiling)
    - at 4,000, any item not related to reactors (or stated in this area) are destroyed
    - at 5,000, Any buckets turn into 3 Tin Ingots (even if you used iron to make them, iron is more valuable), also water surrounding the reactor begins to boil off
    - at 6,000, all pistons are destroyed
    - at 7,000, Turbines turn into 4 Mixed Metal Ingots (base construction minus a few things due to burn-off)
    - at 7,500, Water Cells turn into Empty Cells
    - at 8,000, Integrated Heat Dispensors turn into 2 Mixed Metal Ingots
    - at 8,500, Coolant Cells turn into Empty Cells
    - at 9,000, All Empty Cells are destroyed, and 1 tin ingot is placed for every 4 of them
    - at 9,500, Integrated Reactor Platings turn into 1 Mixed Metal Ingot
    - at 10,000, reactor goes critical

    Values of course subject to change, just as an example. A good hull design would consist of placing Fuel Rods next to each other separated by pistons in order to create as much heat as possible (and when redstone is supplied, the pistons block the rods from reacting with each other, so the reactor produces far less heat, but still there in small amount) and then wick the heat away with IRPs. Then you set up Water cells near the IRPs and IHDs in order to soak up the heat, then put a turbine between it and the coolant cells in order to create the power. The more heat you can produce AND cool each update, the more power your reactor can be....and the setup in the GUI would look very much like real life this way.

  • +1 , that's all can say :thumbsup:

    Ever notice when forums have a suggestion board, there's a small group of idiots who just hang around that little forum section? Yeah, I'm one of those guys. (c) by That one guy

  • Generally +1

    But the Thorium breeding process is one more ore I could care less about.

    As a real nuclear operator, what I'd like to see are the concepts of pressure/temperature, coolant flow and temperature feedback added/revamped.

    I'd rather not go blathering about how any of this really works, but wikipedia is decently well informed on the subject and if Al or any modder is interested in trying to incorporate it / add on, pm me.

  • Interesting idea, but ya no fall out.
    But one thing I have never liked was the reactors blowing up.. In reality they don't explode.. They literally Melt and turn the floors into molten material and send radioactive dust and steam into the air as they burn into the ground (Good recent example Japan, older and not so well handled Chernobyl)

    Then again nukes also cause no real damage to the ground either, though it will scorch it and turn sand into glass near the blast where the heat melts it. WHile trees and the likes are incinerated or ripped from the ground......

    But hey this is minecraft we only get so realistic =p We have walking green crates of TNT chasing us after all :thumbsup:

  • What I'd like to see are the concepts of pressure/temperature, coolant flow and temperature feedback added/revamped.

    I'd rather not go blathering about how any of this really works, but wikipedia is decently well informed on the subject and if Al or any modder is interested in trying to incorporate it / add on, pm me.

    1. Combine reactor with buildcraft pipes
    2. ??????????
    3. Profit