The Kernel
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The Kernel

7 Awesome Sci-Fi Nuclear Reactors

The nuclear reactors powering some of the coolest tech from the world of science-fiction.

Cherenkov blue glow — this is a real reactor, not sci-fi. I just thought it looked cool.

7. The Martian “RTG”

How RTGs work.
NASA’s Mars Curosity Rover selfie — running on nuclear power since August 2012. The RTG is the finned object sticking out the tail of the rover.

6. Total Recall: Martian Reactor

5. Terminator: Iridium nuclear energy cell

“I will never stop pursuing you…at least not until my nuclear battery runs out after 1,095 days.”

4. Iron Man: Arc Reactor

Arc reactors can be big or coke can sized…and even the small ones kick out enough energy to run the high-tech Avengers Tower for a year without refuelling.

3. Back To The Future: Flux Capacitors and their power sources

This has to be one of the most 80's screenshots I’ve ever seen.

2. Star Wars: hypermatter reactors

Han Solo and Chewie do the lightspeed thang.
Star Wars universe megatropolises like this one are powered with a mixture of fission, fusion and hypermatter reactors.

1. Star Trek: a nuclear-powered utopia

Credit: HowStuffWorks
Notice the more utopian appearance of the Star Trek cityscape compared to that of Star Wars.
Star Trek’s message was one of peace, equality and prosperity through technology and respect for others.

Final Thoughts

Bonus: Foundation “atomics”



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David de Caires Watson

Nuclear futurist, chartered physicist, safety engineer, amateur birder and pedal power enthusiast. Writer for The Kernel mag. Founder of Atomic Trends.