Nuclear Powered Submarine Officer Training

Discussion in 'Submariners' started by MNCadet, Aug 26, 2010.

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  1. Hello
    I am cadet in the other navy. As pasrt of our work before returning for our next sea trip we have to do a small dissertation.
    I have elected to do mine on Nuclear propulsion and the various issues this raises.

    I am wondering if you might be able to help with the issues of training in this area within the RN. How long does it take, what is the structure of the course and other information which may allow me to see how a civilian nuclear engineering officer course may be contructed and developed in the future for the merchant navy.

    Thank you
    James B
  2. When you say "the other navy", do you mean US, Russia, China, or another one entirely?

    When you say "to see how a civilian nuclear engineering officer course may be contructed and developed in the future for the merchant navy" are you fucking serious?

    Top tip - pick a different subject, this one's a non-starter.
  3. Are we entirely confident that this isn't Norman, finding a mechanism to preach about how Civvies can do an Officer's job?
  4. I do believe and correct me if I am wrong, but there or were Nuclear powered Merchant ships.

    The Sevmorput is a Russian Nuclear Powered Ice breaker
  5. :idea: Why not try asking your Q on the Russian websites then :?:
  6. James B a fcuking liar
  7. Uncle Sam built the SAVANNAH, first nuclear powered merchant ship, but it only ran from 1965 to 1970. Talk of it being opened as a museum ship, once they've cleaned all the ickies and zots out of it.
  8. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    witsend wrote
    You took the words right out of my mouth. The IMarEST journal MER has been floating ( :roll: ) the commercial nuclear vessel idea recently (Feb 10 edition), the Chinese are probably already well down the road to getting one into service. There are a number of technical papers in circulation. Some drawbacks are

    1. Nuclear Free Islington type states saying 'no nukes'. Not a problem with a San Fransisco - Shanghai run.

    2. Cruise ships; punters who confuse nuclear power with nuclear weapons and stick to the old fashioned way.

    2. Major build costs compared with something running on residual/MDO/MGO/gas. ( Cheaper than chips once in service.)

    3. Provision of training and certification for the engineers operating the kit.

    As the OP said;
    Fossil fuels are running out, the population is increasing exponentially, renewables aren't the panacea that tree huggers think they are. Nuclear for big stuff, fuel cells for small stuff it is then.
  9. It is a museum ship at Patriots Point Charleston South Carolina or it was in 1990 last time I was there. along with a Cruiser, Submarine and Aircraftcarrier . Worth a visit and Ive still got the T shirt.
  10. I've no doubt that MER is a reputable publication, but that does not mean that every proposition postulated in it is viable.

    You suggest that the San Francisco to Shanghai run would pose little or no problem. Have you considered the requirements for berthing, and where the X, Y, and Z berths would be?

    You say that punters confuse nuclear power generation with nuclear weapons. This is true, but there are also those who would feel uncomfortable with the prospect of spending a considerable amount of time in very close proximity to a nuclear reactor, with all the perceived hazards that entails.

    You correctly point out that the initial outlay would be large, but I think you are mistaken in the belief that the thing would be 'cheaper than chips' in service. You have not taken into account the fact that there is a limited amount of time that nuclear reactors are allowed to remain critical alongside in some ports. This would necessitate the use of a separate, probably diesel based, electrical generation system, to power both the normal ship-borne needs, and the quite high needs of the shut-down reactor.

    And all that before we even consider the training and qualification necessary.

    If our cadet is serious in his intentions, I would suggest that he concentrates not on how to train the operators (as you could entice enough ex-submariners with the offer of life on a cruise ship in the Caribbean for double what they earn in the mob), but on the infrastructure that would be required to support the ship(s).
  11. At the end of the day long before the problems of training officers can be addressed the ecconomic solution has to be found. Compared to the present range of medium and slow sp[eed diesels nuclear plant is very very costly to design, build, and maintain, and the cost of fuel is not quite as cheap as chips. This is why the Savanah and Otto Hahn were wrapped up in mothballs almost as soon as they entered service, they just were not a coomercial proposition.

    As for the training once the big problems have been solved, in my day in the early nuclear RN engineers had a 1 year course to convert to nuclear and got a nice shiny glow in the dark MSC for their efforts. I suspect that in reality if you were training nuclear engineers from scratch it would take no more time than the present straight plumber or leccy course.

    Oil will have to get an awfuyl lot more expensive before we see this being taken seriously.

    And yes MER is a very sound publication, or at least it was when they published my article
  12. OK I'll bite but I'm fcuked if I'm giving any details out since I really don't know who you are. Nuclear Engineering course from scratch is 2 years but taking into consideration that you are of no discernable use until fully qualified and experienced probably 4 and 1/2 years including your first sea draft.
  13. Donald Rumsfeld famously said:
    "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

    For you and I, these things are known unknowns. For those without our background, these are unknown unknowns. We know that these things may be a problem, others, because they have no idea about the way things are done don't even realise that there may be problems.
  14. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    Joe Crow wrote
    A box boat is never alongside for long, nor are cruise ships. Gone are the days where unloading a freighter took weeks by hand and the jetties were toppers with stocked warehouses. If a state is going to embrace the (nuclear) technology it will permit, legislate and regulate accordingly and the commercial operators will have to provide and comply. 'Cheaper than chips' was an exaggeration, I don't know the running costs of a reactor per unit. At full power a 100MW 2 stroke will use 150 cubic metres of heavy fuel a day at $500 per cube (ish).

    Maxi wrote
    The legislated move away from cheaper nastier residual fuels and on to distillates may take care of that. The oil will run out sooner if we are not going to use the leftovers.
  15. Trouble is, it is not limit per vessel, it is a limit per port, and to ignore this for economic reasons would require the compliance of the nuclear regulator. These limits have been imposed as part of the site safety justifications for licensed nuclear sites, and it is hard to see how the developed countries (which, lets face it, would always be at one end of the trip) could skirt this issue. I agree that Shanghai would probably allow every berth that it had to be occupied by a critical nuclear vessel every single day of the year, but San Francisco would not and could not.
  16. To clarify I'm a merchant navy cadet studying at Fleetwood.

    I'm not going to change my topic at this stage as i would only have to redo the work i have done to get to this stage anyway.

    Indeed there are several Russian nuclear powered icebreakers, with more planned.
    Due in a large part to the increase in bunkers there are now several shipping bodies which are suggesting that the time may be right to re-examine the possibility of larger scale use of nuclear power as the main means of propulsion for very large vessels where speed is vital i.e. container ships.

    The last ship I was on was a very large 363m container ship which due to fuel costs instead of 25 knots we had been limited to ‘ecospeed’ which for us was about 18 knots. To get those 7 knots back over a round trip of 3 months is obviously going to save a lot of time and therefore money.

    Thank you for your replies so far as already several points have been made which I can research further. Some of which will be useful when I go to speak to the harbour master in Liverpool in a few days time.
  17. Maybe not, but I've been berthed in a nuke boat at Oakland. OK, it is/was a USN facility, but possibly a precedent has already been set?

    (Cracking run ashore too!)
  18. MNC,

    Serious Mode : My initial answer still stands, why not ask the Russians?

    As they have trodden this path they could be useful to you in your researches.
  19. You're doing that selective quoting thing again. What I was saying is that San Fran would not be able to accommodate critical nuclear powered vessels on a daily basis, not the occasional basis you are talking about.
  20. Seadog

    Seadog War Hero Moderator

    J-C, are there reasons why the necessary infrastructure, manning, legislation, procedures to host nuclear vessels on a daily basis could not be put in place in San Francisco if it became necessary?

    Another consideration, (hat tip to MER again) is that LNG may be good for the next couple of hundred years but other than the ships carrying it as cargo, fueling infrastructure would need to be put in place if it is to gain utility as a substitute for fossil fuels. There was a time when we were in this position with coal and oil so it need not be difficult.

    Back to nuclear training, check out the training regime for civilians employed by the operators of nuclear power stations. They aren't all former submariners or nuclear engineering graduates. Any reason why training and education for civilian mariners cannot use the template and even train alongside shore based nuclear engineers?

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