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Research Poll: Public Support for a Nuclear Powered Aeroplane

  1. Sep 14, 2008 #1

    My name is Dawson S and I'm a student from Australia. I'm currently completing a research project into the modern-day feasibility of a nuclear-powered aeroplane (as first suggested in the Cold War). I am to deliver this project in December at the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminars where I will attend the Nobel Prize ceremonies.

    I am interested in poll results from different community groups and as such I have approached this forum. Please vote above and comment below should you have any strong opinions. I only require opinions; I already have all of the scientific data I require for my project (this is one of the last sections I am to complete).

    Voting is to be done with any information you can muster, not information I provide.

    Thank-you for your help
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2008 #2
    If the proper safety procedures were in place and evidence suggested it was safe I'd be fine with it.
  4. Sep 14, 2008 #3


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    It's not feasible. The shielding alone makes it uneconomical.
  5. Sep 14, 2008 #4
    No problem with nuclear. But how would you get such a thing into the wild blue younder?
  6. Sep 14, 2008 #5


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    I think you have a problem here with people saying it won't work, but if it were feasable they would fly on it.

    Your poll is only asking if one existed would one fly on it. But your post says you are researching the feasability of it. Maybe I am misreading it, but I feel you are asking me to vote on something like "if you could fly on the Starship Enterprise, would you?" although it may never be feasable.
  7. Sep 14, 2008 #6


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    I'm responding more to the endorse.

    I'd certainly take a nuclear power rocketship to Mars, however (assuming it's launched from orbit). Failure of that would only cost the lives of those onboard, rather than the health and safety of the public.
  8. Sep 14, 2008 #7
    The major problem I see (besides the technical infeasibility) is the issue of safety. While airplane crashes are rare, unless one could be designed in such a way that it was extremely improbable that, in the event of a crash, it would not scatter radioactive debris around a crash site, then I would say that, even if it could be built, it probably should not.

    I think that the idea goes as far back as Nazi Germany, but it has never been found to be feasible. Nuclear powered spacecraft are another story.
  9. Sep 14, 2008 #8


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    I'm going with the maybe vote. I have no problem with nuclear, per se, but is it the BEST choice, the most economical, the safest, the most feasible to design, the most reliable long-term solution, etc.? In other words, if someone did manage to design one that worked, and a commercial airline put it up in the air and didn't charge some exhorbitant amount to fly it, it doesn't much matter to me what's "under the hood" so to speak. But, when it comes to endorsing it, I don't know. It might make more sense to pursue some other fuel option that won't have to overcome weight issues, or that would be cheaper to develop, thus cheaper to buy and keep the cost of a ticket to take a flight on that plane within a reasonable amount.
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