At work in the fields of the bomb

Is a photo essay I bought years ago and rarely looked at. I was going to get rid of it, but then flicking through I came across this wonderful picture.

It looks like some bizarre sci-fi drawing, but is in fact a prototype nuclear-powered jet engine. Read more about it at nuclearfiles.org, which has the full set of piccies from the book, but I think I got the exposure better on mine.

8 thoughts on “At work in the fields of the bomb”

  1. In what way is a nuclear powered jet engine on a train not bizarre sci-fi? I mean, aside from the fact that it was actually real? It’s right up there with radium health tonics…

    [Weeeeelllll it was a serious project, they spent an entirely non-fictional $1B on it, and even flew the reactor in a plane (though not for power) -W]

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  2. Interesting. However, I can find no mention of what is probably the single most important factor in aircraft engine design – power to weight ratio. Plus there’s the interesting question of what happens if you fly it into a mountain…

    They spent a stupid amount of money on remote viewing too.

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  3. “Plus there’s the interesting question of what happens if you fly it into a mountain…”

    They probably assumed it would be a Soviet mountain. Maybe they hoped that would happen, in a sort of cross between Dr Strangelove & “Fade Out”?

    (Fade Out is a novel by Patrick Tilley).

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  4. A former boss of mine worked on such projects for GE in the 60s. The goal was to build a plane that never had to land.

    Interesting. However, I can find no mention of what is probably the single most important factor in aircraft engine design – power to weight ratio.

    The weight of the reactor may have been solvable. The mass of the shielding was not.

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