A Space & astronomy forum. SpaceBanter.com

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Go Back   Home » SpaceBanter.com forum » Space Science » History
Site Map Home Authors List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Web Partners

Blast from the past



 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old August 17th 05, 07:11 AM
Pat Flannery
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Blast from the past

Stumbled on this interesting photo from 1965- this was the KIWI TNT
(Transient nuclear Test) test; a KIWI nuclear rocket test reactor was
purposely given a runaway nuclear reaction to see what its failure would
result in: http://www.wps.com/archives/wxvax7.e...ages/ktntb.gif
Note the railway tracks for scale, and the flying sparkling stuff- which
given that uranium is pyrophoric, I assume are the uranium pellets from
the reactor's fuel elements.
Aren't these things supposed to melt down? This looks like an SRB
exploding.
How would you like to have been sitting on top of that when it
malfunctioned?
I'll bet this was one fun clean-up job.

Pat

Ads
  #2  
Old August 17th 05, 09:48 AM
Christopher P. Winter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 01:11:48 -0500, Pat Flannery wrote:

Stumbled on this interesting photo from 1965- this was the KIWI TNT
(Transient nuclear Test) test; a KIWI nuclear rocket test reactor was
purposely given a runaway nuclear reaction to see what its failure would
result in: http://www.wps.com/archives/wxvax7.e...ages/ktntb.gif


Pat,

Thanks; I hadn't seen that one before.

Note the railway tracks for scale, and the flying sparkling stuff- which
given that uranium is pyrophoric, I assume are the uranium pellets from
the reactor's fuel elements.


Would they have used uranium metal, or mixed oxide? I'd guess the latter,
but I haven't studied up on NERVA. In any case, the fuel elements ought to be
clad with something. They're probably just incandescent.

Aren't these things supposed to melt down? This looks like an SRB
exploding.
How would you like to have been sitting on top of that when it
malfunctioned?
I'll bet this was one fun clean-up job.


Indeed. But it's puzzling -- I've been researching nuclear accidents for
a couple of months now, and I've seen no mention of contamination from the
NERVA program.
  #3  
Old August 17th 05, 04:28 PM
Andrew Gray
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 2005-08-17, Christopher P Winter wrote:

I'll bet this was one fun clean-up job.


Indeed. But it's puzzling -- I've been researching nuclear accidents for
a couple of months now, and I've seen no mention of contamination from the
NERVA program.


Perhaps it was tested in an already-contaminated location?

--
-Andrew Gray

  #4  
Old August 17th 05, 05:23 PM
Pat Flannery
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default



Christopher P. Winter wrote:

On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 01:11:48 -0500, Pat Flannery wrote:



Stumbled on this interesting photo from 1965- this was the KIWI TNT
(Transient nuclear Test) test; a KIWI nuclear rocket test reactor was
purposely given a runaway nuclear reaction to see what its failure would
result in: http://www.wps.com/archives/wxvax7.e...ages/ktntb.gif



Pat,

Thanks; I hadn't seen that one before.



I'd never heard of it before; the photo has an odd history behind it- it
was first posted on a Los Alamos website:
http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/atomic/testpix/
But at least my machine won't do an enlargement of the photo on that
website.
But another website had copied the photos:
http://www.wps.com/archives/wxvax7.esa.lanl.gov/
....and this is where the big photo is from.
There's more details of the KIWI program and this particular test he
http://www.fas.org/nuke/space/c04rover.htm
The KIWI reactors seemed to suffer a lot of problems from the
description given there.
I wonder if the flames visible in the photo are burning LH2?



Note the railway tracks for scale, and the flying sparkling stuff- which
given that uranium is pyrophoric, I assume are the uranium pellets from
the reactor's fuel elements.



Would they have used uranium metal, or mixed oxide? I'd guess the latter,
but I haven't studied up on NERVA. In any case, the fuel elements ought to be
clad with something. They're probably just incandescent.



The report says it's a KIWI B reactor and they apparently used two types
of fuel arrangements; uranium dioxide with niobium carbide coating, and
uranium dioxide sealed in graphite blocks.



Aren't these things supposed to melt down? This looks like an SRB
exploding.
How would you like to have been sitting on top of that when it
malfunctioned?
I'll bet this was one fun clean-up job.




Indeed. But it's puzzling -- I've been researching nuclear accidents for
a couple of months now, and I've seen no mention of contamination from the
NERVA program.



Well, maybe they didn't list this one as a accident, as it did exactly
what it was intended to do- exploded. :-)
Still, this seems to be a really off-the-wall test to conduct; maybe
they wanted to see what launch site contamination would be like in case
of a catastrophic failure of a nuclear rocket motor.

Pat
  #5  
Old August 17th 05, 06:32 PM
Jonathan Silverlight
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In message , Pat Flannery
writes


Christopher P. Winter wrote:


Indeed. But it's puzzling -- I've been researching nuclear accidents for
a couple of months now, and I've seen no mention of contamination from the
NERVA program.


Well, maybe they didn't list this one as a accident, as it did exactly
what it was intended to do- exploded. :-)
Still, this seems to be a really off-the-wall test to conduct; maybe
they wanted to see what launch site contamination would be like in case
of a catastrophic failure of a nuclear rocket motor.


The whole programme was off-the-wall by modern standards. Look at the
Reactor In Flight Test, which was suborbital

I've said this before, but that seems designed to cause a RIFT in
international relations.
--
Remove spam and invalid from address to reply.
  #6  
Old August 17th 05, 07:22 PM
Pat Flannery
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default



Andrew Gray wrote:

Perhaps it was tested in an already-contaminated location?



There do seem to be structures around it in the photo. Since this test
occurs at the end of a railway track, did they just blow the thing right
where all the KIWI reactors had been tested? Some of they had ejected
parts of their nuclear fuel, so the area might will have already been
contaminated.

Pat
  #7  
Old August 18th 05, 05:14 PM
John
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

This facility is called the Nuclear Rocket Development Site and is
located on Jackass Flats on the Nevada Test Site. So yes, there was
probably some pre-existing contamination in the area from other
activities (for example, pre-treaty atmospheric testing). I suspect
the level of contamination was probably not enough to create a
restricted area (restricted for the purposes of radiation protection .
.. . other reasons notwithstanding). I was at the facility in 1980 when
it was being used as a very large prop for a training scenario in the
Radiological Emergency Response Operations (RERO) course. Now days,
the class in taught somewhere in the east, apparently without the use
of such a cool setting.

A colleague of mine worked there on KIWI and tells me that, in a
nutshell, they were attempting to "model" the way one of these things
would come apart if it were involved in a launch or LEO accident. The
data was to be used in assessing the radiological consequences of a
"bad day". This was a long time before computer modeling was
around.


blue skies

John

  #8  
Old August 18th 05, 10:55 PM
Pat Flannery
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default



John wrote:

This facility is called the Nuclear Rocket Development Site and is
located on Jackass Flats on the Nevada Test Site. So yes, there was
probably some pre-existing contamination in the area from other
activities (for example, pre-treaty atmospheric testing). I suspect
the level of contamination was probably not enough to create a
restricted area (restricted for the purposes of radiation protection .
. . other reasons notwithstanding).

I'll bet they put in a few man hours cleaning up the after-effects of
that little test.


A colleague of mine worked there on KIWI and tells me that, in a
nutshell, they were attempting to "model" the way one of these things
would come apart if it were involved in a launch or LEO accident. The
data was to be used in assessing the radiological consequences of a
"bad day". This was a long time before computer modeling was
around.


Well, that was one day of doing it.
It still seems kind of severe to me though.

Pat
  #9  
Old August 21st 05, 01:21 AM
Christopher P. Winter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 17 Aug 2005 15:28:14 GMT, Andrew Gray wrote:

On 2005-08-17, Christopher P Winter wrote:

I'll bet this was one fun clean-up job.


Indeed. But it's puzzling -- I've been researching nuclear accidents for
a couple of months now, and I've seen no mention of contamination from the
NERVA program.


Perhaps it was tested in an already-contaminated location?


Indeed the grounds of INEL were contaminated by the blowup of SL-1, and
perhaps by other events. But that wouldn't have stopped certain sources from
commenting on something like the KIWI test. Maybe they just figured it was
"small change" as contamination incidents go.
  #10  
Old August 21st 05, 01:36 AM
Christopher P. Winter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 11:23:36 -0500, Pat Flannery wrote:



Christopher P. Winter wrote:

On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 01:11:48 -0500, Pat Flannery wrote:



Stumbled on this interesting photo from 1965- this was the KIWI TNT
(Transient nuclear Test) test; a KIWI nuclear rocket test reactor was
purposely given a runaway nuclear reaction to see what its failure would
result in: http://www.wps.com/archives/wxvax7.e...ages/ktntb.gif



Pat,

Thanks; I hadn't seen that one before.



I'd never heard of it before; the photo has an odd history behind it- it
was first posted on a Los Alamos website:
http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/atomic/testpix/
But at least my machine won't do an enlargement of the photo on that
website.
But another website had copied the photos:
http://www.wps.com/archives/wxvax7.esa.lanl.gov/
...and this is where the big photo is from.
There's more details of the KIWI program and this particular test he
http://www.fas.org/nuke/space/c04rover.htm
The KIWI reactors seemed to suffer a lot of problems from the
description given there.
I wonder if the flames visible in the photo are burning LH2?


I think so; and I guess the LH2 tank went up a few seconds after the
reactor blew -- hence the fact that the metallic debris so far outpaces the
fireball in the photo.


Note the railway tracks for scale, and the flying sparkling stuff- which
given that uranium is pyrophoric, I assume are the uranium pellets from
the reactor's fuel elements.


Would they have used uranium metal, or mixed oxide? I'd guess the latter,
but I haven't studied up on NERVA. In any case, the fuel elements ought to be
clad with something. They're probably just incandescent.


The report says it's a KIWI B reactor and they apparently used two types
of fuel arrangements; uranium dioxide with niobium carbide coating, and
uranium dioxide sealed in graphite blocks.


Aren't these things supposed to melt down? This looks like an SRB
exploding.
How would you like to have been sitting on top of that when it
malfunctioned?
I'll bet this was one fun clean-up job.


Indeed. But it's puzzling -- I've been researching nuclear accidents for
a couple of months now, and I've seen no mention of contamination from the
NERVA program.


Well, maybe they didn't list this one as a accident, as it did exactly
what it was intended to do- exploded. :-)
Still, this seems to be a really off-the-wall test to conduct; maybe
they wanted to see what launch site contamination would be like in case
of a catastrophic failure of a nuclear rocket motor.


Let me rephrase that to make it clearer: I haven't seen contamination
from the NERVA program mentioned by anyone. Accent on the "anyone".
Greenpeace, for example doesn't mention it -- but they do list the dispersal
of 1.2kg of plutonium from a re-entering U.S. satellite in 1964.
 




Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A Blast FromThe Past Kfabn Amateur Astronomy 2 January 31st 05 07:40 AM
Milky Way Past Was More Turbulent Than Previously Known (Forwarded) Andrew Yee Astronomy Misc 0 April 28th 04 07:20 PM
Scientists 'Reconstruct' Earth's Climate Over Past Millennia Ron Baalke Astronomy Misc 0 December 10th 03 04:49 PM
blast from yo past mat Amateur Astronomy 2 October 30th 03 04:22 AM
Scientists Determine Biological and Ecosystem Changes in Polar RegionsLinked to Solar Variability Over Past 12,000 Years (Forwarded) Andrew Yee Astronomy Misc 0 October 26th 03 08:06 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 05:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2004-2020 SpaceBanter.com.
The comments are property of their posters.