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Future Nuclear Cars

Future nuclear cars are not as radical idea as some people think they are. For instance, in 1958 Ford produced a concept car called the Nucleon (pictured center of page) that was supposed to run on nuclear energy.

Future nuclear cars will rock the planet.

At the height of the atomic age, Ford believed that as nuclear reactors became smaller and more compact that one day soon all cars could run indefinitely on nuclear power. Of course now days, the Ford Fusion may be a nod to the Nucleon of old even though the Fusion is a gasoline-burning beast (or a gasoline electric hybrid).

In 2008, the Cadillac World Thorium Fuel concept (WTF) car was shown (and pictured top of page). The Cadillac WTF (which some may say was appropriately named) is the brainchild of designer Loren Kulesus.

Mr. Kulesus said the Cadillac WTF would run for 100 years on nuclear power without ever running out of fuel. The wheels at each corner of the vehicle are actually 6 smaller wheels put together each with its own induction motor. So, we can assume in this case that the nuclear reactor inside the vehicle will be used to create electricity to power the wheels.

The other alternative would be for a small nuclear reactor to create steam which would turn a turbine which could either serve as a motor or once again create electricity. Under this scenario, however, water would need to be used and replenished.

The Ford Nucleon was the future in the 1950s.

One of the key questions left unanswered by both the Ford Nucleon and Cadillac WTF is how do you cool down the nuclear reactor inside the vehicle?

But, if you think this is all too far-fetched then consider nuclear submarines for a minute. Nuclear powered submarines today have small reactors onboard with fuel that lasts upwards of 25 years. The reactors are cooled by seawater.

The advantage of nuclear submarines over diesel submarines are quietness of operation and the fact that they can stay submerged much longer. In fact, nuclear submarine can stay down as long as supplies last for the personnel onboard.

Now here's another thing to think about for future nuclear cars. NASA right now is in the design stages of a cold fusion powered spaceship that will someday fly to Mars. Cold fusion powered future cars, airplanes, spacecraft, ships, trains and other transportation, would be the holy grail of nuclear powered vehicles.

Like a genii in a bottle, however, nuclear fusion would need to be controlled in such a way that safety would come first and foremost. Scientists right now however are conducting successful experiments with cold fusion using lasers and hydrogen that will one day revolutionize the electrical grid.

So, the idea of future nuclear cars is not such a radical concept as one may initially think. It may be 50 or 100 years until this type of vehicle comes to fruition (after hydrogen cars, battery electric cars and even solar cars have had their day in the sun).

A Real Atom by designer Imran Othman

If you're an environmentalist you'll rightly have deep concerns about the safety of having a nuclear powered car in your driveway. But, like anything else, if top safety methods can be assured, future nuclear cars may be something to keep an open mind towards.


Written by Kevin Lepton