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Old 16 October 2009, 05:40 AM
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Glasses Nuclear sub powered Hawaiian island for 4 days

Comment: Recently during the discussion of San Antonio buying part of a
Nuclear Power Plant a caller to a radio station claimed: While in the navy
one of the islands in Hawaii had a power outage due to inclement weather.
The nuclear submarine on which he was serving hooked up to the islands
power grid and supplied power to the island for 4 days while their power
supply was being repaired.
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  #2  
Old 16 October 2009, 05:54 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Read This!

In one incident, it was thought that power from a sub might be needed to help power Kauai but power was restored before it was used as an auxiliary:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...,7223770&hl=en

It's been reported that Russian ships (or subs?) have been used to generate power for towns in Siberia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_marine_propulsion
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  #3  
Old 16 October 2009, 06:25 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Default No to Nukes, Part 2: Debunking an Urban Myth

Quote:
This “submarine to the rescue” urban legend needs an asterisk: It never happened. True, a plan was floated for a sub hook-up to Kauai’s grid after Hurricane Iwa devastated it on November 23, 1982 – not Iniki, which struck on 9/11, 1992.
http://hawaiienergyoptions.blogspot....rban-myth.html
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Old 16 October 2009, 09:43 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
It's been reported that Russian ships (or subs?) have been used to generate power for towns in Siberia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_marine_propulsion
I read about that in a popular science magazine at the dentist. It was nuclear icebreakers.
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  #5  
Old 16 October 2009, 01:29 PM
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JoeBentley JoeBentley is offline
 
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Ganzfield is correct. The idea of using nuclear power plants on military ships as emergency shore power has been considered by both the US and Russia Navy's, it never got beyond the theoretical stage.

Building large, purpose built nuclear power ships that could move to areas affected by disasters and replace or supplement grid power was also considered, cost and public safety perception has made the idea unlikely.

From 1968 to 1975 a US Army Liberty ship converted to carry a small nuclear reactor supplied powered to the Panama Canal Zone.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MH-1A

And the Russians are considered mass producing similar ships.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian..._power_station

To put this in perspective the most powerful mobile reactors put onboard surface combatants are the Westinghouse A4W Pressurized Water Reactors which power the Nimitz Class Aircraft Carriers. Their output is around 104 Megawatts.

On average a single megawatt output of power can power around 700 average American homes. So in theory a mobile reactor could power about 73,000 homes, or a very small city.
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  #6  
Old 16 October 2009, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
The idea of using nuclear power plants on military ships as emergency shore power has been considered by both the US and Russia Navy's, it never got beyond the theoretical stage.
Using a nuclear powered vessel for emergency electrical power to a civilian community has never been done. However, the conventional aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) did supply emergency power to the city of Tacoma, Washington, for 30 days in 1930.

All naval vessels have the ability to connect to a shore power grid. This is usually done so as to supply power to a vessel while the on-board electrical generating systems are powered down for regular maintenance and repair. The flow of electricity can easily be reversed so that the vessel can supply power to shore facilities. The technique is often employed to power temporary stations (both military and research) where getting power from a main grid would be impossible or impractical. I would consider the practice as being well beyond the theoretical stage.
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Old 16 October 2009, 06:39 PM
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They aren't ships, or nuclear powered, and they didn't power an entire city, but two Canadian National Railway locomotives were employed as emergency generators after a January 1999 ice storm in Quebec. One locomotive powered the Boucherville QC town hall building, and the other powered about 100 homes in Coteau QC.

A third locomotive was apparently also dispatched, but either it wasn't successfully utilized or wasn't needed. I'm still trying to find more information about them. So far, all I can find is a roster entry for the two locos mentioned. They can be found here and here. A picture of one of them is here.

~Psihala
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Old 16 October 2009, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
... the most powerful mobile reactors put onboard surface combatants are the Westinghouse A4W Pressurized Water Reactors which power the Nimitz Class Aircraft Carriers. Their output is around 104 Megawatts.
That's roughly 1/10th the output of a modern commercial plant. More than enough for a small city.

Probably kind of tricky getting the power into the grid. You can't just connect an extension cord from the carrier's steam turbine generators to a nearby power line.
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Old 16 October 2009, 08:47 PM
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Silas Sparkhammer Silas Sparkhammer is offline
 
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Whalephant

I'd heard the same legend, and, until today, never had any reason to doubt it. The story that I heard (and I wish I could recall where -- I think I read it in a book) was that Hilo had been powered from a sub after a tsunami.

Silas
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Old 16 October 2009, 09:11 PM
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Here's a MIT study about the feasibility of using current and proposed next generation Navy combatants to provide emergency shore power.

PDF File: http://ocw.mit.edu/NR/rdonlyres/Elec...p_to_shore.pdf
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  #11  
Old 17 October 2009, 02:36 PM
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During my 20+ year Naval career, I served onboard three subs:
USS George C. Marshall SSBN 654 (b),
USS Casimir Pulaski SSBN 633 (g),
USS Alaska SSBN 732 (b)

As well as one sub-tender:
USS Simon Lake AS-32.

Every time that a sub ties-up to a pier [or alongside a tender], one of the first things to happen is hooking up to 'shore-power'; and that is one of the last things to be dis-connected.

Shutting down a reactor is a long process and is very man-power intensive, as is lighting one off. It is far easier and less man-power intensive to simply keep each reactor running. They usually are only shut-down if some form of maintenance is required, or if the men need it as a training evolution.

Once tied-up to 'shore-power' each sub can draw it's required power from the 'shore-power' grid; or it can supply power to that grid.

Each base has it's own power plant, as does each sub-tender. So it is possible for every sub in a port to be shut-down and for them all to be receiving their power from the 'shore-power' grid.

However if they are all shut-down, then the process of getting them all going and out to sea in a hurry is lengthened. To maintain the ability to rapidly deploy, it would seem wiser to keep every reactor hot, unless there is an actual need for it to go 'cold-iron' [for maintenance or training].

I have seen, repeatedly, during my career, boats powering the base. Whether it be directly, or via a tender.

I have been told that Navy bases commonly do supply their excess power to the local public-utility grid, as a gesture of friendship to the community. However that was outside of my duties.



Electronic Technician First Class (Silent Service)
USN Retired
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Old 27 October 2009, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
To put this in perspective the most powerful mobile reactors put onboard surface combatants are the Westinghouse A4W Pressurized Water Reactors which power the Nimitz Class Aircraft Carriers. Their output is around 104 Megawatts.

On average a single megawatt output of power can power around 700 average American homes. So in theory a mobile reactor could power about 73,000 homes, or a very small city.
Something to consider: the bulk of a warship's reactor is utilized to power the main engines. The electrical generators, even fully loaded, draw a relatively small portion of the total power available. As such, any ship-based reactor would either need to have a purpose built electric plant intended to utilize the cores full power or the electricity produced would be significantly lower than the power the core is capable of delivering when fully loaded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ET1 (SS) View Post
However if they are all shut-down, then the process of getting them all going and out to sea in a hurry is lengthened. To maintain the ability to rapidly deploy, it would seem wiser to keep every reactor hot, unless there is an actual need for it to go 'cold-iron' [for maintenance or training].

I have seen, repeatedly, during my career, boats powering the base. Whether it be directly, or via a tender.
Seems like a tremendous waist of EFPH. A core only has so many hours of operation in it. A core may be expected to last a couple decades, but that's assuming that it is 1) operated at well below full power most of the time it's operating and 2) shutdown for a significant portion of the ships service life.

Quote:
I have been told that Navy bases commonly do supply their excess power to the local public-utility grid, as a gesture of friendship to the community. However that was outside of my duties.
I don't buy it. Mostly because Navy bases tend to draw their power from the same grid as the community and do not have their own power stations.

Quote:
Electronic Technician First Class (Silent Service)
USN Retired
Out of curiosity, were you a nuke ET or coner?
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  #13  
Old 27 October 2009, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
... I don't buy it. Mostly because Navy bases tend to draw their power from the same grid as the community and do not have their own power stations.

Out of curiosity, were you a nuke ET or coner?
Subase Groton has a steam plant capable of powering the entire base, plus boats on every pier. The steam plant is right down on the water front between piers 10 and 12 [if I remember the numbers right].

Subase Bangor has it's own power plant too. Though it is hidden back in the woods, you don't see it. It is between TriTraFac and NucWepsFac.

I was a Navigation ET and became an Intell ET, as I said operating the power plants was outside of my duties [not being a nuc] or else I could quote exactly how many amperes they draw from shore-power, or push up onto the base.

You are correct in saying that the plants are very in-efficient. For how much heat they produce the percentage turned into steam is very small.



You mention that a nuc plant needs to be shut-down a lot.

Feel free to check my math on this, I do make pencil mistakes sometimes.

I did 14 years of sea-duty on boomers, so lets look at this in terms of boomers.

If you had no extended-refits or overhauls, in 19 years a boat would do 66 crew cycles.

Crews are cycled every 105 days and each crew cycle they will do a 90+ day patrol.

19 years is 6935 days.

66 patrols is a minimum of 5940 days steaming underwater.

5940 / 6935 = 86% of each year is spent steaming at sea underwater.

They are steaming during some portion of the normal refits just to re-calibrate instruments, at least a week.

66 refits X 7 days of pier side steaming = 462 days of pier side steaming.

(5960 + 462) / 6935 = 93% of each year spent steaming either pier side or underway.

A 15-day refit is a long refit, some that I did were 5-day refits. The nucs did not go cold-iron, they kept it steaming, we fixed what was broken, loaded up with food and spare parts, and we took off on patrol.

A 5-day refit makes for a 100 day patrol, during my career I made a half dozen of them.

SubGrus make a big deal about their efforts to keep fast-attacks and boomers underway for the same percentage of each year. It is hard to do, things do break down, and schedules do change. But if a boat stays tied-up to a pier for weeks at a time other sailors on other boats will whine. Saying that such boat's crew is not cycling as it should. So they do try to keep it evenly spread.

To spend greater than 90% of each year steaming is a clear majority of the time. They only go cold-iron when equipment needs to be fixed.

The process of shutting down is lengthy. The process of heating up again is lengthy. Staying hot is easy and mellow for the watchstanders. It is what everyone prefers to do, is to stay steaming as much as possible.
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Old 28 October 2009, 10:24 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
Something to consider: the bulk of a warship's reactor is utilized to power the main engines. The electrical generators, even fully loaded, draw a relatively small portion of the total power available. As such, any ship-based reactor would either need to have a purpose built electric plant intended to utilize the cores full power or the electricity produced would be significantly lower than the power the core is capable of delivering when fully loaded.
Well, it depends, and perhaps someone who knows more about nuclear ship design can fill me in. As I see it, there are two possible scenarios:

* The reactor is basically a steam engine, driving the propeller shaft through a turbine.
* The reactor is still basically a steam engine, but drives a generator, which in turn drives the propeller shaft through an electric engine.

I can see many pros and cons with both designs, but one difference is that the latter would be usable for providing power to other facilities.
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Old 28 October 2009, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
Well, it depends, and perhaps someone who knows more about nuclear ship design can fill me in. As I see it, there are two possible scenarios:

* The reactor is basically a steam engine, driving the propeller shaft through a turbine.
* The reactor is still basically a steam engine, but drives a generator, which in turn drives the propeller shaft through an electric engine.

I can see many pros and cons with both designs, but one difference is that the latter would be usable for providing power to other facilities.
All of the nuclear vessels I know of use the first method for normal operation. The main propulsion shafts are connected to dedicated steam turbines. Other (much smaller) steam turbines supply electrical power. The thinking is that even if you lose all electrical power in a battle scenario, you can still maintain propulsion.

Trekker "former nuke Monkey Mate aka glow in the dark plumber" Scout
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Old 29 October 2009, 08:47 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Thanks, interesting info!

I wonder if the same system is used in civilian nuclear vessels?
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Old 31 October 2009, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET1 (SS) View Post
Subase Groton has a steam plant capable of powering the entire base, plus boats on every pier. The steam plant is right down on the water front between piers 10 and 12 [if I remember the numbers right].

Subase Bangor has it's own power plant too. Though it is hidden back in the woods, you don't see it. It is between TriTraFac and NucWepsFac.
Question is, are they still up and operating? A lot of stuff the military used to do on its own it now uses contractors and commercial enterprise for.

Quote:
You are correct in saying that the plants are very in-efficient. For how much heat they produce the percentage turned into steam is very small.
Hence the folly in operating the reactors in port when shore power is available. It's much cheaper to take power off the grid in the grand scheme of things. A reactor shutdown and startup can be a lengthy process, but no more so than starting up a conventional steam plant. Even so-called "push button" gas turbine plants take a lot longer to take from cold iron to "steaming" than most people imply.

Quote:
You mention that a nuc plant needs to be shut-down a lot.
I'm more saying that a nuke plant really doesn't need to be operated that much in port if shore power is available.

Quote:
Feel free to check my math on this, I do make pencil mistakes sometimes.
The problem with your math is that it rules out availability/upkeep periods and lacks a grounding in projected core life. I can guarantee you I either studied or trained operationally on the plant your boats had (S5W and S8G) and I think they would have had to be refueled much sooner if operated as you suggest. I could show you my numbers without having to kill you, but I can't promise I would keep my security clearance if I did.

Quote:
I did 14 years of sea-duty on boomers, so lets look at this in terms of boomers.
And of course I'm a surface nuke, in the post-cold war Navy, so it's possible our mileage may vary. Bigger plant(s), bigger ship, significantly different schedule and employment.


Quote:
The process of shutting down is lengthy. The process of heating up again is lengthy. Staying hot is easy and mellow for the watchstanders. It is what everyone prefers to do, is to stay steaming as much as possible.
I've found the opposite to be true. Startups are painful, but then so is keeping a steaming rotation in port. At least for the nukes it is.
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Old 31 October 2009, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
Question is, are they still up and operating? A lot of stuff the military used to do on its own it now uses contractors and commercial enterprise for ...
Subase Groton is doing less and less, Subase Bangor is still going strong.



Quote:
... Hence the folly in operating the reactors in port when shore power is available. It's much cheaper to take power off the grid in the grand scheme of things. A reactor shutdown and startup can be a lengthy process, but no more so than starting up a conventional steam plant. Even so-called "push button" gas turbine plants take a lot longer to take from cold iron to "steaming" than most people imply.
Few boats just sit in port.

Every 6 to 8 years each boat does an overhaul which will take 6 months to 14 months.

Every other year a boat will do an extended-refit which will take month, maybe 2 months.

Otherwise boats rarely spend more than 2 weeks at a time sitting in port.



Quote:
... I'm more saying that a nuke plant really doesn't need to be operated that much in port if shore power is available.
Sitting in port serves no purpose.

DOD spends lots of money of these guys and the asset is not performing a function if it sits in a port.



Quote:
... The problem with your math is that it rules out availability/upkeep periods and lacks a grounding in projected core life. I can guarantee you I either studied or trained operationally on the plant your boats had (S5W and S8G) and I think they would have had to be refueled much sooner if operated as you suggest. I could show you my numbers without having to kill you, but I can't promise I would keep my security clearance if I did.
During my career I was on one boat as it went through an over-haul.

Over-hauls are planned years in advance.

Extended-refits do happen, I have been through a bunch. I do not recall how many. It depends more on how quickly systems are falling apart. Whether an extended-refit will be scheduled annually or bi-annually, they are more flexible than over-hauls.

It is about money, funding. The best use of the money is for each boat to be operating. Sitting in port, the men are paid the same [well nearly the same], the same amount of food is eaten, etc.



Quote:
... And of course I'm a surface nuke, in the post-cold war Navy, so it's possible our mileage may vary. Bigger plant(s), bigger ship, significantly different schedule and employment.
I got on my first boat in 1978 and retired in 2001, mostly cold-war era. All of my sea-time was done within the FBM fleet, so the focus was on maintaining launch-ability of the missiles. My NECs were such that I only served on boomers or boomer-tenders. I am very familiar with boomer deployment schedules.

Many of the crewmen that I served with on those boomers, were men who may have also served on fast-attacks.

Some rates' NECs are specific to boomers only, while other rates' NECs open them up to serving on both boomers and fast-attacks.

We are a small community. While I never served on a fast-attack, I have certainly rubbed elbows with fast-attack sailors. So I am reasonably familiar with fast-attack deployment schedules [as being nearly non-existent ].



Quote:
... I've found the opposite to be true. Startups are painful, but then so is keeping a steaming rotation in port. At least for the nukes it is.
Again I am not a nuc. I have spent many meals eating alongside of nucs, and from that scuttlebutt I have heard their complaints many times.

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Old 31 October 2009, 06:50 PM
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I think I remember that during the California enery crisis a few years back, there was talk of supplementing the power grid in the San Francisco area with power generated by the reserve fleet - but that would have been conventionally powered ships.

I don't think they actually did it, though. It might have been an emissions issue, or something else, I'm not sure. I can't find any reference to it.
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Old 31 October 2009, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
Startups are painful, but then so is keeping a steaming rotation in port. At least for the nukes it is.
I can attest to that. I was a Machinist Mate on a Los Angeles class sub. If we were scheduled to be in port for more than a few days, we would shut down the reactor. With the reactor in operation, a full engine room watch rotation was required. With the reactor shut down, we could go to a skeleton crew which meant more shore time.

Naval Nuclear Power: The whole world has more fun before 9 AM than we have all day.
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