Russia's Self-Contained Nuclear Lighthouses
During the days of the former Soviet Union, the government decided to build autonomous lighthouses on the Northern coast of the country. Often hundreds of miles from the nearest villages and towns, they needed an independent power source.
(Russia's Self-Contained Nuclear Lighthouses)
After reviewing different ideas on how to make them work for a years without service and any external power supply, Soviet engineers decided to implement atomic energy to power up those structures.
So, special lightweight small atomic reactors were produced in limited series to be delivered to the Polar Circle lands and to be installed on the lighthouses. Those small reactors could work in the independent mode for years and didn’t require any human interference, so it was very handy in the situation like this. It was a kind of robot-lighthouse which counted itself the time of the year and the length of the daylight, turned on its lights when it was needed and sent radio signals to near by ships to warn them on their journey. It all looks like ran out the sci-fi book pages, but so they were.
These structures today lie abandoned, the technicians needed to service them were no longer trained and the factories that produced parts were halted when the USSR fell; eventually, the lighthouse mechanisms failed.
Then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unattended automatic lighthouses did it job for some time, but after some time they collapsed too. Mostly as a result of the hunt for the metals like copper and other stuff which were performed by the looters. They didn’t care or maybe even didn’t know the meaning of the “Radioactive Danger” sign and ignored them, breaking in and destroying the equipment. It sounds creepy but they broke into the reactors too causing all the structures to become radioactively polluted.
(Polluted, radioactive interior)
I thought about several well-known sf writers when I read this story. In his 1982 novel Friday, Robert Heinlein describes shipstones, which were completely sealed power sources that (depending on size) could power a house, a ship or a city for decades at a time.
I also thought about how the fall of an empire caused similar problems in a fictional work, namely Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy. Hober Mallow, Trader, had this conversation with a tech-man about the power stations under his care:
"And all those generators are in your hands?"
"Every one," said the tech-man, with more than a touch of complacency.
"And if they break down?"
The tech-man shook his head indignantly. "They don't break down. They never break down. They were built for eternity."
"Eternity is a long time. Just suppose-"
"It is unscientific to suppose meaningless cases."
"All right. Suppose I were to blast a vital part into nothingness? ...Suppose I fuse a vital connection, or smash a quartz D-tube."
"Well, then," shouted the tech-man, furiously, "you would be killed."
"Yes, I know that," Mallow was shouting, too, "but what about the generator" Could you repair it?"
"Sir," the tech-man howled his words, "...Now get out!"
Via English Russia.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/22/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
MIT Tunes Ions For Frictionless Surface - Superlubricity!
'My telelubricator here neutralizes the interatomic bonds the surface of any solid...' - L. Sprague de Camp, 1940.
RFly Drones Rule The Warehouse
'The wasp homed unerringly on the face of the honeycomb...' - James P. Hogan, 1979.
MULTI Model Of Star Trek Turbolift
Cool prototype video!
Hand Gestures And Body Poses Control Devices
'He waved his hand... the circuit switched...'- Philip K. Dick, 1955.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Biggest HiSeas 'Mars Mission' Problem? No Internet
I think sf writers have this covered!
Clever Electric Truck Generates More Power Than It Uses
Better than a fictional electrotruck!
Eden-ISS, Greenhouse In Antarctica
'With this kind of light we could get the gardens going again."
Make Space Tools On The Spot (Like Moties)
'A moment ago it was squeezing silver toothpaste in a ribbon...'
Will Robots Be Moral If We Raise Them Like Our Children?
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'
Foldable Galaxy Phones, I Swear They're Coming (Maybe)
How hard can it be?
Bacteria Behave Differently In Space
'The Republic struggled to control its Sours...'
Brain Connected To Internet - ‘Brainternet'
Artificial Spider Silk
You can also use it to make a roof - on an asteroid.
MIT Tunes Ions For Frictionless Surface - Superlubricity!
'My telelubricator here neutralizes the interatomic bonds the surface of any solid...'
Seiko Astron Always Knows Your Time Zone
'Harrington glanced at his wrist watch - a bulky affair - and whistled.'
Robot Buddhist Priest Chants, Drums
'He crossed the waiting room to the Padre booth...'
Koniku Kore, Mouse Brain-Based Chip, Detects Explosives
'As a matter of fact, this mouse is going to keep on thinking forever.'
CNH Industrial Autonomous Tractor Concept Video
'...the tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.'
The Neuroon Open Sleep Tracker For Lucid Dreaming
'Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer on the bedside shelf.'
Siri Now Smoother, Perkier (Thanks, Deep Learning!)
'Good morning, Dr. Chandra. This is Hal.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories