I'm mostly just thinking out loud here, trying some 'outside the box' approaches to cooling nuclear reactors. One of these ideas, no clue how good it will actually be, involves a lot of coolant cells.
Specifically, we use coolant cells to soak up the heat, then yank them out before they melt and replace them with fresh ones. Then we cool them down elsewhere.
Now, Coolant Cells themselves eat up 4x Tin instead of 1/4 tin, so that's kind of painful in the amount we're talking about. Then it's 3x of them plus six more tin for a 30k coolant cell. Then, it's two of those, six MORE tin, and a dense copper plate for the 60k version.
My plan is to look into the viability and cost efficiency of setting up a Continuously Applied Coolant Cell setup, much like the old CASUC reactors, either in sticking them in rapid cooling 'generators' or simply tossing them. Or, to apply a cute moniker, the Decentralized Distribution of Steam, since that's what ya get when ya heat water.
Now let's talk about the cost of coolant cells. Since we're reusing them, it makes sense to use the biggest ones available, to minimize the amount of transfers made. So, per 60k coolant cell, you need 6 coolant cells, 12 tin, and 2 dense copper plates. So, 36 Tin and 16 Copper.
So now let's start talking about cooling. Now, ideally, we're wanting to get away from heavy resources, that's why we're looking into this concept in the first place. However, that's actually probably possible, because we won't need to be using overclocked fans or advanced fans or anything.
So what we would need for this concept to work:
* Cheap, reliable coolant towers. No gold, no diamonds.
* A method of getting used cells to said coolant towers.
* A method of automating the above.
Now, HAYO Corp has provided us with a design for a coolant tower which is quite potent, 80 cooling in a 2x4 grid. However, it requires gold and even diamonds, so that's probably not going to be practical for our considerations, even though it is very HAYO-ish.
Now, just the coolant tower itself requires an investment of 52 Copper and 36 Iron. So, not *too* bad, in terms of resource. Something certainly reproducible, if not spammable.
Regular heat vents require refined iron and four iron bars each. A Reactor Heat Vent takes one and a couple of Dense Copper Plates. An Overclocked Vent requires the reactor heat vent and a couple of gold. A Component Heat Vent eats up a basic vent, some tin, and some iron bars.
A Heat Exchanger is a Dense Copper Plate, and Electric Circuit and three Tin. Not bad at all. Reactor heat exchanger takes two more dense copper plates, plus the above. A Component Heat Exchanger eats up a Heat Exchanger plus four gold.
Now then, if we are cooling down nearly-dead coolant cells, then things that suck up hull heat are worthless to us, because there won't be any. So either Basic, Component, or Overclocked vents are the order for the day.
So let's do a cost analysis.
Basic heat vent is about... let's call it six iron, a bit less but I don't like dealing in fractions. It cools off 6 heat. So about a one iron per cooling ratio.
Overclocked heat vent cools 20 heat. BUT, they require a basic heat vent, a couple of dense copper plates, and a couple of gold.
I suppose at this point, you're going to be needing to look at your gold reserves. Personally, I hardly count the cost of copper, I have so much of it. If you are swimming in gold, don't sweat it. It's much more efficient, from an Iron standpoint, so gold is the only real factor to consider.
Now, the Heat Exchangers are where this can get pricey. Basically, we'd normally want Component Exchangers, since we're not dealing with hull heat. Unfortunately, those are the ones that eat up four gold *EACH*. So Basic exchangers. which transfer 12 heat per side, is probably more economical.
However, there's a cute trick we can pull here... Component Heat Vents.
Basically, they cool off everything around them 4/tic. If we have them surrounded, that's a potential 16/tic cooling per each. That's overtwice what Basic vents do, AND don't require exchangers. Plus, they're relatively inexpensive, at a mere 4 tin and 4 iron bars on top of your basic vent.
So now we're looking at some kind of checkerboard pattern of component heat vents, with your heated up coolant cells interspersed.
Something like this would have 108 cooling at maximum capacity. Only two cells would have 8 cooling/tic, most of them would have 12/tic, and two lucky ones have a coolant of 16/tic. It turns out an average of 12/tic per square.
It'll be just over 50 copper, 40 tin and just under 100 iron to produce this cooling tower. A bit heavy on the iron, but it doesn't require any gold or diamonds.
Viable? Depends on your iron. However, this is a static cost, rather than a recurring cost.
Right, so just over 100 heat dissipated per tic per tower.
Now, let us look at cost effectiveness at a big coolant tower like this one.
This bad boy cools off some 336 heat per tic. However, it also requires 244 copper, 112 tin, and a whopping 273 iron.
It's more efficient on your Iron to build the big boy, but not everyone has that many resources to devote to a cooling tower, so the choice is yours.
So, these are your coolant towers. A bit pricey on the Iron, Tin, and Copper... but no diamonds and no gold necessary. Now, what are we going to be using these on?
Well, let's take a look.
I started with a cute little design.
1360 Eu/Tic isn't a bad starting point. The 3648 Heat/Tic I'm not so thrilled about, however. That's going to be about eleven of the big coolant towers. That's going to be a significant investment in resources. Now, it could be possible to make it entirely out of UU Matter, but at 5 UU per 4 iron... that's going to be expensive. Copper and Tin are cheaper... 3 UU per 10 metal each.
So for 12 of these large cooling towers, you'd need 4095 UU for Iron, 879 UU for Copper, and 404 UU for Tin. Unfortunately, producing this much UU would require almost 900 million Eu. So probably not feasible.
So how do we get this to work? Simple... we don't treat it like a Mk. I reactor and assume we can ablate the entirety of the heat immediately.
If we build four of the large cooling towers, it turns into a much more manageable 1092 iron, 448 Tin, and 972 Copper. You'll make the EU to produce all that out of your first full cycle.
That means having a larger number of 60k Coolant Cells in reserve, switching out full ones for empty ones as necessary. Then at the end of the cycle, you wait for the cooling to catch up. Something like a Mk. II reactor.
Is it resource intensive? Yes (although at least no gold or diamonds were used in the making of this design). But hey, if you really want something that functions like a CASUC? This, or the Condensators, are about as close as you are going to get. The advantage of this system over Condensators is that all the costs are *static*, no components are 'used up', except the uranium cells themselves. You don't go through a chest of Lapis or Redstone every cycle, but you're still producing over 1kEu/tic.
This is probably cost effective for those who have long-term goals, something to set up as a massive initial investment which will produce dividends over the longer term. This probably also won't be your first setup either. You'll need to be firmly established to get that much UU or Iron. But it just might be your last.