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Heater Two and Heater Three

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The picture above shows HTRE-2 and HTRE-3, two protype nuclear powered jet engines for the NEPA (Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft). These two engines which were in operation for about 2000 hours. The idea was to connect the reactor between the compressor and the turbine stage of a conventional jet engine. The compressed air from the compressor was fed throgh a pipe into the reactor and heated up. The hot air was than piped back into the compressor stage. The exhaust nozzles are clearly visible on the left side of the assembly in the middle.



It was not possible to shield the complete airplane, the cockpit was to be shielded however. That shield weighted about 80 tonnes. The yellow locomotive on the left was intended to pull the aircraft in and out from the hangar and is radiation shielded. To my best knowledge the hangar was built but not the airplane.


The two engines are on display outside EBR1 (Experimental Breeder 1) the first nuclear facility delivering power to the grid. It's impressive that the experimental reactors are that well decontaminated that they can be on display in a parking lot. The EBR1 itself is a museum, but only open in the summer so I hade no opportunity to visit it.




Last Updated on Thursday, 10 September 2009 20:15  


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