Nuclear-powered submarine - a submarine that uses nuclear energy generated in a marine power plant containing one or more reactors to propel and supply electricity to on-board equipment. The operation of this type of propulsion is most often based on the generation of thermal energy in a nuclear reactor, which is partially received from it by the moderator circulating in the first cycle. Depending on the type of reactor, the moderator is circulating water or liquid metal, which in the exchanger transfers heat energy to the water circulating in the second cycle, turning it into superheated steam. Circulating in the pipe system under very high pressure, it transfers energy to the turbine, cooling down at the same time, thus returning to a liquid state. The steam-driven turbine drives the propeller shaft by means of a gearing system or generates the electrical energy necessary to drive the shaft by means of an electric motor by means of a suitable generator.
The first submarine powered by a nuclear submarine was the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), which entered service with the US Navy on September 30, 1954. Currently, nuclear-powered submarines are used in the navies of Russia, the United States, France, Great Britain, China and India.
Nuclear submarines are an alternative to the usually smaller and cheaper submarines with conventional (e.g. electric) propulsion. The use of nuclear propulsion is supported by its enormous power, and thus the possibility of obtaining very high speed, unlimited range and the fact that the duration of immersion is limited only by the mental strength of the crew and the amount of provisions.
History of the creation
The first work related to the development of the nuclear propulsion took place in 1939, thanks to the efforts of George Pegram from Columbia University, who managed to convince the American Navy to undertake more extensive work in this field. Ross Gunn began to work with him on behalf of the US Navy. It was then that the nuclear propulsion program received $ 1,500 funding for the first time - the first American money allocated to the nuclear research program. Another physicist, Philip Abelson, soon began working with the Pegram and Gunn team. After preliminary research, Gunn made the first naval report on submarine nuclear propulsion. This report preceded by four months the famous letter from Albert Einstein to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt calling for the country to start a nuclear weapons construction program. On June 1, 1939, in his memorandum to the Director of the Naval Research Laboratory, Gunn stated that the ship's nuclear power plant would not require oxygen, and would also significantly increase the range and combat capabilities of submarines. He also announced that the nuclear propulsion program team will have to deal with many problems and unknowns, primarily to discover how to separate the 235U isotope from natural uranium. Following this report, Gunn's primary focus was on resolving this problem. In July 1941, Gunn and Abelson developed a relatively simple and effective method of separation, which paved the way for the development of the first propulsion nuclear reactor. Its development, however, was halted by the Manhattan Engineer District nuclear bomb development program (the "Manhattan" project), which harnessed all the work of Pegram, Gunn and Abelson. The nuclear propulsion program itself, however, had to give way to priorities related to the destructive use of nuclear energy.