Ol’ Musky Boi

Adding nuclear reactors into stock KSP

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Stock KSP currently gives us 3 ways of generating power (not including engines), fuel cells, solar panels, and RTGs. For most spacecraft this works fine, but If I'm trying to build large ion powered interplanetary ships or surface bases on Eeloo I really want something with a bit more oomph, and something to justify these giant radiator panels...

Thermal_Control_System_(large)_deployed.

Something along the lines of NASA's Kilopower reactor that is very expensive and produces large amounts of heat and power would be great. It could either consume ore or some sort of new resource like "Krakenite" that would have to be shipped to surface bases.

I know that this sort of functionality is available with mods, but having them in stock would be nice.

 

Just an idea, let me know what you think.

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I reckon stock nuclear reactors would be nice. If we look at stock parts as Kerbin's current level of technology, then they've already got nuclear thermal rocket engines, which means that they have the capability to build reactors.

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On 2/9/2019 at 8:48 PM, Ol’ Musky Boi said:

Stock KSP currently gives us 3 ways of generating power (not including engines), fuel cells, solar panels, and RTGs. For most spacecraft this works fine, but If I'm trying to build large ion powered interplanetary ships or surface bases on Eeloo I really want something with a bit more oomph, and something to justify these giant radiator panels...

Thermal_Control_System_(large)_deployed.

Something along the lines of NASA's Kilopower reactor that is very expensive and produces large amounts of heat and power would be great. It could either consume ore or some sort of new resource like "Krakenite" that would have to be shipped to surface bases.

I know that this sort of functionality is available with mods, but having them in stock would be nice.

 

Just an idea, let me know what you think.

I really think that it's a good idea. It's something I have always wanted in stock KSP.

Edited by Salmon
Spelling error.

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On 2/9/2019 at 12:48 PM, Ol’ Musky Boi said:

Krakenite

Looks like someone has seen Green Harvest

Jokes aside I like this idea.I as well would like these reactors to generate a lot of heat.They should aswell generate a massive explosion if they get hit while being active.

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Yes and no. I think a larger RTG would be fine, but at the same time I think that adding more RTGs isn't a good idea until the one RTG already in the game is better accounted for (no half life makes it an easy one part solution to keep your probes alive all the time). Also I agree, the biggest radiator is really pointless right now until a part or planet is added that generates enough heat to warrant it.

They could just have the atmosphere of Moho return and justify the parts use for landing on Moho.

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4 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Yes and no. I think a larger RTG would be fine, but at the same time I think that adding more RTGs isn't a good idea until the one RTG already in the game is better accounted for

Half-life and bigger RTGs would a good idea.

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The near future mod (among others) offers up some nice gameplay mechanics on how a Nuclear reactor would work.   They do produce a considerable amount of heat, and can be shut off when not in use.  I can see something like this being included in stock as the next step up for power production. 

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On 3/8/2019 at 2:38 AM, ZooNamedGames said:

Yes and no. I think a larger RTG would be fine, but at the same time I think that adding more RTGs isn't a good idea until the one RTG already in the game is better accounted for (no half life makes it an easy one part solution to keep your probes alive all the time). Also I agree, the biggest radiator is really pointless right now until a part or planet is added that generates enough heat to warrant it.

Remember that nuclear reactors and RTGs are different things. Reactors split atoms to generate energy, while RTGs (radioisotope thermoelectric generators) simply use the heat from decaying plutonium-238 to produce power. If reactors were added to stock KSP, they'd need to work in a different way to the stock RTG - i.e, using a fuel and not just passively producing electric charge.

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21 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Remember that nuclear reactors and RTGs are different things. Reactors split atoms to generate energy, while RTGs (radioisotope thermoelectric generators) simply use the heat from decaying plutonium-238 to produce power. If reactors were added to stock KSP, they'd need to work in a different way to the stock RTG - i.e, using a fuel and not just passively producing electric charge.

I know. Doesn't change the fact a reactor is overkill when a far less efficient and energy producing RTG can do the same job for lighter. Fix the RTGs before you throw in reactors which require far more maintenance and care to function as opposed to an RTG which are often thrown onto a planet/moon and just left there to produce energy on their own.

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3 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

I know. Doesn't change the fact a reactor is overkill when a far less efficient and energy producing RTG can do the same job for lighter. Fix the RTGs before you throw in reactors which require far more maintenance and care to function as opposed to an RTG which are often thrown onto a planet/moon and just left there to produce energy on their own.

A revamp of energy production in an update could do both of those things. I agree that the RTGs are a little unbalanced as it is, if squad nerfed them by adding half-life but added nuclear reactors to fill the long-term energy role than that would work fine. Making them absurdly expensive and heat intensive would help offset the other benefits, and I think it would be a lot more fun if heating was a much bigger concern than it is now.

Getting a little more off topic, but a bigger electric engine (maybe something along the lines of VASIMR?) would also give something for nuclear reactors to do in game. I hate having to use loads of tiny ion engines, it really drives up part count. But maybe thats a bit too advanced for Kerbals, not sure how it would really fit with the KSP's trashcan-rocket charm.

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48 minutes ago, Ol’ Musky Boi said:

A revamp of energy production in an update could do both of those things. I agree that the RTGs are a little unbalanced as it is, if squad nerfed them by adding half-life but added nuclear reactors to fill the long-term energy role than that would work fine. Making them absurdly expensive and heat intensive would help offset the other benefits, and I think it would be a lot more fun if heating was a much bigger concern than it is now.

Getting a little more off topic, but a bigger electric engine (maybe something along the lines of VASIMR?) would also give something for nuclear reactors to do in game. I hate having to use loads of tiny ion engines, it really drives up part count. But maybe thats a bit too advanced for Kerbals, not sure how it would really fit with the KSP's trashcan-rocket charm.

Issue is with the exception of maybe mining or xenon engines, what even requires so much power to justify a reactor? If there was something like a VASMIR to fit said reactor, then that's perfect. But until such a day, I say that the RTG works fine.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Issue is with the exception of maybe mining or xenon engines, what even requires so much power to justify a reactor? If there was something like a VASMIR to fit said reactor, then that's perfect. But until such a day, I say that the RTG works fine.

Mining and xenon engines are pretty big things though (apart from SAS, lights, radiators and transmitting science you can't do anything else with electricity, and all of those aren't very energy intensive). I just think that if you were going to add more power generation in to the game then you should probably add some bigger electric engines whilst you're at it.

Edited by Ol’ Musky Boi

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Posted (edited)
On 3/9/2019 at 1:23 PM, ZooNamedGames said:

Issue is with the exception of maybe mining or xenon engines, what even requires so much power to justify a reactor? If there was something like a VASMIR to fit said reactor, then that's perfect. But until such a day, I say that the RTG works fine.

The rationale for nuclear reactors is because those two exceptions *do* exist. RTGs will continue to have a niche in providing small amounts of electricity for craft that don't need much... the reactors would have their niche in providing lots of electricity for high-intensity operations at distant worlds.

If the wiki is to be believed*, you'd need 57 RTGs to run a 2.5m ISRU and large drill, or 11 RTGs for a single ion engine. While workarounds exist for both (exploiting the absurdity of running ISRU off fuel cells powered by ISRU, loads of batteries), reactors would be another way to deal with those issues.

*I haven't played stock in forever, so this could stand a bit of checking.

EDIT: There's also plenty of mods which have high-power-consumption parts, and having stock reactors could lessen the dependence on mods like Near Future Electrical. They've done good work, but for many people, the fewer mods they need, the better.

Edited by Starman4308

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Starman4308 said:

The rationale for nuclear reactors is because those two exceptions *do* exist. RTGs will continue to have a niche in providing small amounts of electricity for craft that don't need much... the reactors would have their niche in providing lots of electricity for high-intensity operations at distant worlds.

If the wiki is to be believed*, you'd need 57 RTGs to run a 2.5m ISRU and large drill, or 11 RTGs for a single ion engine. While workarounds exist for both (exploiting the absurdity of running ISRU off fuel cells powered by ISRU, loads of batteries), reactors would be another way to deal with those issues.

*I haven't played stock in forever, so this could stand a bit of checking.

EDIT: There's also plenty of mods which have high-power-consumption parts, and having stock reactors could lessen the dependence on mods like Near Future Electrical. They've done good work, but for many people, the fewer mods they need, the better.

I stand by my previous comment- 

Fix RTGs before adding more demanding parts that will need care and attention to be true to their form. 

We have 4 forms of power. Each unique and each filling an essential niche. Alternators provide power during burns. Solar panels are reliable simple means of high power generation. RTGs for low level power generation at all times. Then fuel cells which can provide constant power for as long as you have fuel. 

And if all fall through- you can just use a dozen or so batteries to power whatever you’re after. 

Theres options that makes a heavy, needy, and frankly excessive reactor unnecessary and good excuse for mods to pick up. Not Squad.

Edited by ZooNamedGames

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Posted (edited)

We already have a nuclear reactor in the NERV engine. It should be easy to add permanent electricity generation. A ship with nuclear engines shouldn't need solar panels ever.

Edited by peteletroll

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