Is running a sub marine on nuclear power cheaper than any other type of fuel?



  1. 0 Votes

    No, but it’s advantageous for a number of other reasons. Military submarines and nuclear power seemed to be a match made in heaven (or hell, depending on your point of view), as appreciated by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, credited as the father of the “nuclear navy” in the 1940s and 50s. The advantage of a nuclear-powered submarine is more strategic than economic: you don’t have to surface it to recharge its batteries or to vent exhaust from a conventional engine. Sure, it doesn’t burn costly diesel fuel either (and there still are diesel-powered submarines), but the cost and complexity of constructing a nuclear reactor is considerable. Nevertheless, a nuclear reactor does have some economic advantages too, such as not having to “refuel” with uranium for about 10 years. Decommissioning nuclear naval reactors is a major problem, though, and a huge expense. While a “ship-submarine recycling program” has been developed in the US, the Russians haven’t quite figured that one out yet, and large amounts of nuclear material in Russia, most from submarines or other nuclear-powered naval vessels, is improperly disposed of. All totaled together, including costs for training nuclear personnel and disposing of the waste, building and running a nuclear powered sub is probably more expensive than a conventional one. But the military advantages of nuclear power are thought to outweigh the economic ones, which is why most of the US Navy is nuclear powered today.

  2. 0 Votes

    Equating apples and oranges is similar to nuclear and diesel submarine ratings values. Nuclear subs go farther and longer without surfacing while diesel subs must vent air and charge batteries on surface. After expense of building nuclear subs the cost of running a sub is way less than conventional submarines.

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