Posts by Speleomantes

    OK, so I just updated to experimental-2.0.384 and since there were a few changes to the MOX system since the last version I was using I rebuilt my MOX generating cluster. It's MOX so I'm running it about as hot as the reactor will possibly go without turning into a big hole in the ground, with all the usual side-effects of things not in HazMat suits bursting into flame and getting radiation poisoning. Oddly, I have never had any problem with anything turning to lava until now. Most things still aren't turning to lava. There's plain old Vanilla stone hanging out just one block away from my reactor doing everything you'd expect solid rock to do.


    On the other hand, the bedrock is melting and disappearing leaving a gaping hole into the void. Nothing else, just the bedrock. Is this normal/intentional?


    Thanx,
    -S

    So I've macerated, washed and centrifuged my uranium ore and have these interesting wads of 235U and 238U. I've built myself a canning machine, fabricated the fuel rods in the metal former and done everything else that looks like it needs to be done.


    The canning machine accepts the empty fuel rods in the first, upper left slot but will not accept the 235U in any location. Yes, I'm using the large 235U wads made from 9 small ones. I've tried the small ones on the off chance that they were the correct component but they didn't work any better. MOX fuel in the second slot of the canning machine quite happily gets turned into MOX fuel cells but the 235U just won't go there.


    Needless to say, my inability to craft fuel rods is hampering my nuclear program. What am I doing wrong?


    Problem occurred under .216-experimental but upgrading to .253-experimental hasn't helped.


    -S

    So I have a very nice reactor cranking out 3378EU/tick. That's more than enough power to blow an unprotected MFSU to fine powder. I'm currently running three MFSUs off of an EV transformer connected to the reactor but I suspect that I'm not capturing all the energy. Does anybody have any suggestions?


    More worryingly, I could build this horror using MOX (mwah-ha-ha-ha). By my estimate it wold generate just shy of 19,000 EU/tick, more than twice the load an EV transformer can handle.


    Thots? Other than "Don't do it!"?
    -S

    Actually, a CRCS style reactor would work phenomonally well with MOX fuel, as the actual temperature of the hull never changes during use.

    You are correct Shneekey. I currently have a very slight modification of your MOX reactor design running in the background cranking out 3378 EU/tick from four quad MOX cells. I was feeling lazy so I have the whole setup being cooled by a battery of your CoolMasters. It isn't graceful but I'm getting almost as much power and nearly half the energy that the largest possible Uranium reactor will generate.


    Quote

    Of course, your automation system would have to be pretty tight to avoid explosions...

    On this point I am happy to be able to tell you that you are mistaken. I've run that reactor for a full MOX cycle at 4 heat below the absolute critical threshold using nothing more than an ME import and export bus to swap coolant. As I'm sure you know, ME networks are not designed for exceptional speed of component transfer and frequently have multi-second lags between removal of depleted coolant and insertion of fresh cells. With a very simple modification, your reactor design becomes extremely robust with respect to automation lag. So much so that when I forgot to swith the coolant export bus back on I had a good half minute to muck about finding the problem, all with the reactor running at 4 heat below BOOM level.


    The trick is to cook half the coolant cells until they're half done. You start your reactor with no coolant to allow it to bake up to the desired operating temperature. Then you insert half the coolant, making sure to get one coolant cell per fuel cell. Switch your reactor back on and let it cook the coolant to about half the point at which it gets swapped out. Now add the remaining coolant and continue as normal. The result is staggered coolant swapping the leaves your reactor with coolant 100% of the time unless you hit automation lag exceeding a minute or so. When the first batch of coolant reaches the end of its duty cycle and swaps out the second half is still only half-baked. It remains in the reactor and takes up any slack during swap-out. Similarly, when the second batch swaps out, the first batch has been refreshed and is still at 50% or so. This means that no cell is ever without coolant so no heat ever accumulates due to coolant swapping lag.


    Swapping all the coolant at once gets you a ~2000 heat spike each time. Swapping them staggered lets me run the reactor for a full cycle without a single uptick in heat. This will work for any reactor design with at least two coolant cells per fuel cell, though it's easiest and safest if all coolant cells are heating at the same rate.


    One word of caution. A slow drift induced by random swap lag may lead to one set of coolant gradually catching up to the other. In several reactor cycles this could lead to a synchronous coolant swap that would produce a nasty crater. It's advisable to resynchronize your coolant staggering at the beginning of each reactor cycle to avoid this.


    -S

    As "cheap and easy" as these look, the MOX fuel itself is actually insanely expensive. For the 16 cells in that setup, you would have to run 432 normal uranium fuel rods through a reactor.

    You can offset this cost somewhat by using your MOX as soon as you get it. Build the reactor according to Shneekey's specs but build it as a standard 235U reactor. As soon as you get enough Pu for your first quad MOX cell use it in place of one of the quad U cells. Both MOX and 235U yield a small wad of Plutonium when recycled but MOX has half the burn time so it produces Pu twice as fast as 235U. You'll have to shut down the reactor half way through a cycle to recharge your MOX though. I'd also be tempted to build a single-block reactor for the purpose of burning MOX that was just hanging around but wasn't enough to make a quad cell out of. Using those methods you'd have enough to switch your reactor over to MOX entirely after 200 fuel rods, taking only 19 cycles and requiring a mere 450 Uranium ore. Still a hefty price tag but better than half off the initial 432 fuel rod figure.


    Of course, if you want to jump-start your MOX program, you can just build some brutal beast like this and have enough for a MOX quad core in one cycle.

    Even with large reactors, that takes quite a long time. By the time you can actually build the cells, the cost of the reactor is probably entirely irrelevant.

    Yeah, that's the same problem I had with breeders. Sure I can build one and run it until I have fuel coming out of my ears but what am I going to use it for? By the time I'm done making the stuff I'm going to have a produced few GEU and where am I going to store that and what will I ever need more for? Short of building castle out of Iridium or teleporting to one of the Jovian moons that sort of energy doesn't have much of a use.


    -S

    OK, this is a very odd effect that popped up while I was tinkering earlier today. I have now confirmed it from total EU stored in the MFSU.


    These are two trials from the WTF series of reactors. The WTF-I and the WTF-L are identical except for the internal arrangement of components. In the I configuration, three single MOX cells are arranged in a row. In the L configuration, the three MOX cells form a right angle. In both cases, the two outer cells receive 2 neutron pulses and the inner one receives 3. The two designs are identical except for shape. If these were conventional Uranium reactors, both designs would be expected to output 7 MEU at 35 EU/tick.


    At T = 0, both reactors behave identically, giving 35 EU/tick. No surprise there, but turn up the heat and things get odd.


    Both reactors were run up to 88,400 heat (85% Tmax), fresh MOX cells and heat vents were added, MFSUs were connected and then both reactors were started simultaneously and run for a full MOX cycle. P was read from Nuke Control's Info Panels and E was measured from MFSU storage after end of cycle.


    WTF-I: T = 88,400, E = 29.3 MEU, P = 293 EU/tick, Eff(U) = 419%
    WTF-L: T = 88,400, E = 27.6 MEU, P = 276 EU/tick, Eff(U) = 394%


    So a 25% difference in efficiency just by changing the arrangement of the cells in the reactor?!? I'm not sure if this is intentional or an "undocumented user feature" but I think I like it. It will make figuring out the most efficient reactor design much more challenging. :thumbsup:
    -S

    OK, back from my vacation to the "real" world.


    First off we have three trials on effects of operating temperature using the Munchkin series of Hot-MOX reactors. As kind as it was of Thunderdark to post that code snippet the data suggest that it isn't the full story. My thanks to Thunderdark for that too. Tinkering with these experimental versions is much more fun if you don't have a full manual written out for you.


    The Munchkin series is named for their ability to crank out nearly 500 EU/tick from a single block reactor with nothing more than heat vents. The Munchkin 0 is a fairly simple little monoblock with just MOX dual fuel cells and advanced heat vents. The Munchkin I is virtually identical but has the empty space down the center paved with heat capacity plating. The Munchkin VI is a six-block reactor, identical to the Munchkins 0 and I in terms of fuel and heat vents but with a whole lot more heat capacity plating. All three are thermally neutral and, if they were conventional Uranium reactors, would be expected to generate 16 MEU/cycle.


    All three reactors were cooked up to exactly 85% of the maximum temperature: 8500 heat from the Munckin 0, 18,700 for the Munchkin I and 79,900 for the Munchkin VI. All three reactors were then connected to MFSU banks and had brand new heat vents and MOX fuel inserted and were then run for a full MOX cycle. Power is reported from the Nuclear Control Reactor Info Panel, Energy was obtained from what was stored in the MFSU at the end of cycle. These two independant checks of output agree to within +/- 0.1% in all three cases.


    The Munchkin 0 yielded 35.2 MEU at 352 EU/tick for an efficiency of 220% Uranium. That's exactly what the code snippet posted by Thunderdark predicts. 0.85 * 4 + 1 = 4.4 but divide by 2 for MOX only lasting half as long as Uranium and you get 220%.


    The Munchkin I, running at more than twice the heat, yielded 46.9 MEU at 469 EU/tick. That's an efficiency of 293% Uranium, 133% what the Munchkin 0 generated.


    The Munchkin VI generated 66.8 MEU at 668 EU/tick. An efficiency of 418% Uranium, 190% of the Munchkin 0's output.


    T = 8500, %MaxT = 85%, E = 35.2 MEU, P = 352 EU/tick, Eff(U) = 220%
    T = 18700, %MaxT = 85%, E = 46.9 MEU, P = 469 EU/tick, Eff(U) = 293%
    T = 79900, %MaxT = 85%, E = 66.8 MEU, P = 668 EU/tick, Eff(U) = 418%


    So, percent of max heat is one variable but max heat is also important . Hotter MOX reactors are more efficient and heat capacity plating will be your friend.


    But on to even stranger effects...

    If you don't have a tight automation, then you might get enough extra heat to blow up your reactor.

    Given the amount of heat being generated I think you're going to want a system that shuts the reactor down while coolant is being refreshed. It'll cost you a few seconds every microcycle but given a ~3 minute microcycle with a ~3 second swap-out delay I'll take the small loss in efficiency for a lack of cratering.


    Quote

    I was thinking about something like this
    setup with MOX fuel.

    That would work well as a conventional Uranium reactor but for MOX it suffers two problems.


    First, those OCHVs are going to prevent it from being thermally stable. Once the reaction stops the reactor will cool and need to be reheated. Easier and safer to heat it up to the desired operating temperature once and have it stay there indefinitely.


    Second, all that equipment in the core takes up space that you could be using to increase your Tmax and that is turning out to be important too. See my next post.
    -S

    That means you actually don't need heat plating at all to get full output.

    That doesn't seem to be the whole story. I'm definitely seeing this but I'm also getting higher efficiency in my high-T reactors operating at their limits than I am with low-T reactors operating at their limits.


    I'll do some test runs with MFSU storage to cross-check what Nuke Control is claiming and get back in a bit.

    I'm scratching my head a bit at the data, though.

    You and me both. I wondered if it had something to do with single vs quad cells so I ran a few more trials and am now even more confused.


    Results, such as they are:
    - The system is a bit buggy and I had some difficulty with reproducibility. Not sure if this was IC2 or Nuclear Control having trouble reading the EU/tick properly.
    - The relationship between T and efficiency is a simple linear one so long as you only change T and don't change the reactor design.
    - The type of cell (single, dual or quad) has no effect on MOX thermal efficiency
    - The number of cells in the reactor does change MOX thermal efficiency, with more cells giving declining efficiency.
    - The arrangement of the cells significantly affects MOX thermal efficiency
    - MOX thermal efficiency isn't just proportional to heat, it's proportional to the max heat of the reactor.


    Just so I can stop writing it out every time, I'm going to use efficiency to refer to MOX thermal efficiency for this post rather than the traditional multi-cell, multi-neutron pulse efficiency that we know and love. Efficiency is measured relative to Uranium for a full standard Uranium fuel cycle, so MOX at T = 0 only manages 50% efficiency due to its shorter burn time.


    So first off I built myself a simple little reactor. Every slot filled with heat-capacity plating except the two in the center. No vents, just plating and fuel. Then I added one or two fuel rods and watched the EU/tick change with T. With just one fuel rod, single, dual and quad cells all got the same results. Efficiency for any one MOX cell of any type equals 50% + 3.7% per thousand heat.


    The same design but using two fuel cells rather than just the one gave different results. For any two MOX fuel cells (single, dual or quad, they all ran the same) efficiency = 50% + 3.28% per thousand heat.


    Next I popped out two more thermal capacity plates to give me more room to add more cells and things got confusing.


    At T = 75,000, 1 dual MOX cell in a reactor with 53 heat capacity plates generates 130 EU/tick (efficiency = 6.5). With 52 heat capacity plates it generates 132 EU/tick, 135 with 51, 138 with 50 and 148 EU/tick (efficiency = 7.4) if there are only 46 heat capacity plates. The same applies to single and quad cells, it's just easier to measure with dual cells.


    What appears to be going on is that MOX thermal efficiency is just not proportional to heat but also to the percent of max reactor heat. Forget your heat capacity plating and multi-chamber reactors. A single-block reactor with just a dual cell at 8000 heat generates 84 EU/tick, 210% efficiency. A 6 block reactor packed with heat capacity plating at the same temperature puts out a measely 32 EU/tick, not breaking even with Uranium. IMO, this is an issue that needs to be addressed otherwise it becomes very easy to build powerful, dirt-cheap single-block MOX reactors like this one which is thermally stable and will generate 352 EU/tick at 8500 heat.


    Next I tried three cells and things got really weird. All else being equal, at T = 75,000 three single MOX cells arranged in a straight line generate 250 EU/tick. The same three cells arranged in an L-shape produce just 225 EU/tick. With Uranium, both configurations produce 35 EU/tick.


    I didn't bother with all the various permutations of four cell arrangements. At this point I figured that there were too many confounding variables and gave it up.


    I'm on the fence with this. Part of me hopes that it's a bug that will get fixed because otherwise reactor design gets very tricksy. On the other hand, it would make things a damned sight more interesting and give us a whole lot more variations to explore.


    Regardless, I now know why my first batch of numbers came out so oddly.

    The question is more: with the removal of heating cells, how do you reliably heat your reactor up, and more importantly, keep it hot?

    My solution has always been to leave out some or all of the coolant and then use nuclear control to:
    - 1) Switch the reactor off when it reaches the desired temperature.
    - 2) Activate the export bus on an Applied Energistics ME network to add the necessary components to the reactor.


    It only works easily if there's just one type of component that has to be added and all the rest of the space in the reactor is taken up. Otherwise you get coolant where you don't need it and not where you do. If properly designed and implemented you end up with a thermally stable reactor ticking along at just over the temperature you set in nuclear control. You can even get the ME network to countermand the shut-down signal and restart the reactor once all the components have been delivered.


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    And the second question is how to test EU/t, because last I checked (two
    days ago), the EU-reader didn't work with the new e-net.

    Nuclear control's reactor info panel seems pretty accurate according to comparisons I've made against the power stored in an MFSU bank after a full cycle.

    A few caveats: I ran these tests in Creative mode uusing MineCraft 1.6.2, Forge .871 and IC2 .216-experimental. These designs worked for me for at least one full cycle without issue and shouldn't be a problem but there's an off chance that they'll reduce their surroundings to a glowing glass crater. The last one is especially touchy. All designs from the Reactor Planner use MOX rather than Uranium but are otherwise as shown. Output was measured by both the Nuclear Control add-on's reactor info panel and by the power stored in an empty MFSU bank attached to each reactor. These two numbers agree very well with each other.


    First off is a simple no-brainer using two single-cell fuel rods and a pair of advanced heat vents, one heat vent per fuel cell. At a temperature of 0 this lackluster plant generated a mere 2 MEU at 20 EU/tick. Yes, those numbers are right, MOX only seems to last half as long as conventional Uranium so if you burn it at room temperature you'll only get half the energy, albeit at the usual power. However, if you leave the heat vents out until the reactor has reached a temperature of 90,000, Hot-MOX the reactor, and then pop them in at the desired temperature, this design will output 14.2 MEU. That's 7.1 times more power, 3.5 times more energy, courtesy of MOX higher efficiency with temperature. This design is thermal neutral so once you have it heated just keep refueling.


    This one's still pretty simple but I prefer this design over the equivalent quad core because the heat vent arrangement is simpler, requiring no heat exchangers. Yield at T=0: 6 MEU at 60 EU/tick. Yield at T=78,000: 50.6 MEU at 506 EU/tick, 8.4 times more power and 4.2 times more energy than Uranium. I'm confused why this lower temperature design had higher MOX thermal efficiency. This design is also thermal neutral.


    Here's a slightly brawnier reactor using over-clocked heat vents . OCHVs can be used with Hot-MOX but need to have good cooling to keep them from melting. The single fuel cell in the upper left corner puts out just enough heat to maintain temperature. At T = 0 this reactor generated 16.7 MEU at 167 EU/tick. The reactor planner says it should be 165 EU/tick but the slight core heat that comes with using OCHVs gave the MOX a ~1% boost. At T = 50,000 this set-up generated 97.5 MEU at 975 EU/tick. 5.8 times more power and 2.9 times more energy than you'd get from Uranium. Not bad for a pair of quad cells. The downside to OCHVs is that the design isn't thermally neutral. The OCHVs continue to cool the reactor after the fuel has spent itself so automation to either pop out the OCHVs or refuel the reactor rapidly is necessary if you don't want to mess about baking it up to T every cycle.


    The previous design also highlights the fundamental trade-off inherent in MOX fuel. Larger, more efficient cores require more heat vents, allowing less heat capacity plating, lower maximum safe temperatures and lower MOX thermal efficiency. The solution is not to use heat vents but more compact coolant cells or condensators.


    This little CRCS model is for Shneekey . It's still drop-dead simple but that's Hot-MOX. You want lots of space to fill with heat capacity plating so you don't want much of anything else. You'll need to swap the coolant out when it gets toasty and automation will be your friend for that, but that's CRCS. The empty slot in the upper left corner is for an optional heat vent to prevent gradual accumulation of heat during coolant swaps. With 6 quad cores, this reactor puts out a fairly hefty 640 EU/tick even at room temperature. At T = 77,000 the reactor produced a very impressive string of craters where the MFSU bank had been. The nuclear information panel says that it was putting out 4538 EU/tick. I didn't have automation set up for this design so I only ran it for 1% of a cycle but the total final yield should have been ~454 MEU, which is consistent with the efficiency observed in other Hot-MOX reactors at this temperature.


    One or two things that you might want to be aware of with regard to the Nuclear Control add-on for IC2 experimental.


    - There's a glitch in power consumption for the remote thermal monitor. If you use transformer upgrades in it it will happily chew through as much power as it can find, burning through a lapotron crystal in a little over a minute. This can be crater-makingly pesky if you lose power to it during bake-up and your heat vents don't get inserted before Tcritical.


    - At present, nuclear control doesn't read the time remaining for MOX properly and just displays it as 0 even when the reactor is cranking out the EU. Annoying if you're trying to figure out how long your reactor's been running but otherwise harmless.

    OK, better now. The recipes are showing up in 216-exp. I'm guessing the NEI interface was incomplete in 401-lf?


    And now that I can see the recipes I realize that I'm an idiot and was trying to build a wrench using copper ingots. <*facepalm*> Seriously though, when was the last time anybody bought a bronze wrench? Shouldn't we be making these things using iron or refined iron?


    I'm happy to say that the macerator is once again happily grinding up nether quartz for the AE mod as well. I'm not sure whose side that problem was on but it made building anything in AE very difficult.


    -S

    Been running the experimental versions here and everthing's been stable so far.

    Stable and functional? Do the crafting recipes work? I was running build 216-exp earlier today and it was stable enough but wouldn't craft a fair number of items. Oddly, most of the complicated stuff works properly, it's basic stuff that seems to be glitched.

    Get Crafting Guide and/or NEI in addition to see the recipes and new machine functions.

    I'm running NEI. It doesn't show me a recipe for the wrench or the other uncraftables. Or rather it does, but it's a blank crafting table.


    I'd thought it might be a corrupted file or one of my other mods but I'm running a fresh .minecraft folder with a brand shiny new copy of Forge and a freshly downloaded version of IC2 as the only mod loaded. Still no wrench.


    -S

    Before screaming at me, yes, I can see the box at the top of every forum. The one that very helpfully has the link to 1.6.x builds in 6 point font in green on black background.


    What I'm wondering is what people are finding useful and stable, for a given value of stable, for 1.6.2 and Forge version .871.


    I've tried build lf-401 but found many of the basic items uncraftable. IC2 becomes a bit difficult to play when you can't build a wrench and the continued necessity of cheating in every third item because it can't be crafted defeats any sort of automation system. Previous lf builds are as bad or simply crash in 1.6.2


    Suggestions?
    -S

    Yeah, I can understand that. All my actual energy needs are being met by compact solars. I'm mostly trying to build a breeder for the challenge. Keeping a reactor hot but not detonating it and swapping the various different components in and out while running is a good trick.


    The GregTech advanced buffers were the best solution I've come up with so far. They're fast so thermal spikes are rare and they keep the right components in the right slots. Unfortunately it's pretty ungainly. You need one buffer per component and the reactor geometry limits you to a maximum of 18. 17 if you want to ever access the reactor without tearing a buffer off and get any energy out. they're OK for breeders because most of the components are inert but wouldn't work for any of the really big power generators. Even with just 10 buffers attached the reactor becomes this clunky mess of buffers, ME cable and wiring. Effective but ugly.