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Thread: Ask An Expert- Naval Forces

  1. #496
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    Quote Originally Posted by SharkPilot View Post
    Strictly an amateur's opinion, but what about the boiler explosion aboard the old Norway? Okay, it was just one boiler that burst, but it was a large boiler. She was a powerful steam ship in her early days. The explosion of course killed everyone in the fire room and also burst some non-structural bulkheads a few decks up into crew quarters areas. There were casualties there too. But the ship was by no means "torn apart". I'm sure her machinery spaces were a mess but she survived well enough to be towed first to Germany then on to Alang for scrapping.
    Thanks for bringing that one to my attention. l'll comment further a little later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Just a quick thought/question....

    One of the more famous videos from World War 2 is of the HMS Barham exploding while rolling over after a torpedo hit.

    Question...was that the boilers letting go or would that have been her magazines?
    That was her after magazine according to everything I've read. Had it been a boiler explosion you'd have seen a Cumulonimbus cloud pouring out of her. That was a detonation of high explosives as the color of the smoke suggests.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 85 gt kid View Post
    A little unrelated but my "aunts" step dad was career Navy and unfortunately I don't know allot that he did but he was in engineering on a nuclear surface ship at one point and I remember him saying how safe the Navy reactors are compared to land based units. I also remember him saying about using a broom handle to check for leaks so you don't lose any digits! Haven't seen him in 10 years now I'll have to see how he's doing.
    I'd hope so, because the design requirements are so different. On top of being able to take whatever nature, routine component wear-and-tear and the stresses of the operating environment can dish out, the reactor(s) on a warship might be actually getting hit with missiles and bombs. They have A LOT of redundancy in components and safety features as a result.

    The nuclear navy also kind of cheats when compared to civilian power plants because they have access when designing plants to large quantities of some high-performance materials which aren't cost-effective to use in the real world. Navy plants are much smaller, and they don't have to make a profit when operating.
    "Nature abhors a moron." - H.L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zad Fnark View Post

    LHA(R)


    The "R" stands for "Replacement". It's more of a program designation than a hull classification symbol.

    Usually you'll see "X" instead, such as CVNX or SSBNX, for such programs. Why they decided to go with (R) is a mystery to me.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
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    Well that was his point was that while they're not as efficient they're way safer and when you look at the list of nuclear incidents just in the US you'd think they would go with that route now or atleast some combo.
    RIP Charles "Bob" Spence. 1936-2014.

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    The best example of a boiler "explosion" is probably the gunboat Bennington.

    SAN DIEGO'S NAVAL DISASTER: | San Diego History Center
    Bennington Gunboat No. 4

    Explosion is in quotes because like the Iwo Jima incident mentioned above, it was more of a rapid blast of steam being released, not some form of physical detonation of the boiler. (yes, I'm aware of the fire that caused the magazine to be flooded)
    Last edited by ChrisV71; 14 Apr 15, at 21:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 85 gt kid View Post
    Well that was his point was that while they're not as efficient they're way safer and when you look at the list of nuclear incidents just in the US you'd think they would go with that route now or atleast some combo.
    The US has never really had a bad civilian nuclear accident. Even Three Mile Island, despite the best efforts of the operators, didn't suffer a loss of containment and had almost no release of contamination to the environment (although they did a great job at completely wrecking the plant itself).

    Efficiency depends on how you look at it. The power density of naval reactors (size-to-output) is massive compared to civilian plants, so in that sense they're a lot more efficient. However, if you're comparing energy it takes to make them versus output, civilian plants come out way ahead for the same reason. The Navy uses highly enriched fuel, which takes a lot of energy to make, and civilian plants use what's only a few steps up from radioactive dirt.
    "Nature abhors a moron." - H.L. Mencken

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    While they didn't cause massive contamination like that certain one in Ukraine they really hurt peoples outlook on Nuclear power which is almost worse since nuclear plants seem to be on a decline. I know most people I've talked to balk at the idea but don't want fossil fuel plants either (apparently wind and solar is 100% infallible in allot of peoples eyes)
    RIP Charles "Bob" Spence. 1936-2014.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    The "R" stands for "Replacement". It's more of a program designation than a hull classification symbol.

    Usually you'll see "X" instead, such as CVNX or SSBNX, for such programs. Why they decided to go with (R) is a mystery to me.
    Because (R) for replacement sounds more like a necessity than an unneeded and costly "eXperimental" unit?
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Genosaurer View Post
    I'd hope so, because the design requirements are so different. On top of being able to take whatever nature, routine component wear-and-tear and the stresses of the operating environment can dish out, the reactor(s) on a warship might be actually getting hit with missiles and bombs. They have A LOT of redundancy in components and safety features as a result.

    The nuclear navy also kind of cheats when compared to civilian power plants because they have access when designing plants to large quantities of some high-performance materials which aren't cost-effective to use in the real world. Navy plants are much smaller, and they don't have to make a profit when operating.
    As everyone knows I’m not a nuke but I‘ve worked for several including this Captain I worked for on the old PEB. When we were sitting around waiting for a ship to get its act together during an inspection we’d discuss all sorts of things including his line of work. He once spent a couple of fascinating hours comparing and contrasting Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and his opinion pretty much tracks with yours. Three Mile Island had multiple redundant features that defeated the stupidity of its operators while its Soviet counterpart did not.

    By the way 85 gt kid, the broomstick thing isn't only a nuke thing. Nuke plants operated at something like 400 to 600 PS and it’s not superheated. Meanwhile I was steaming 1200 PSI plants operating at nearly 1000 degrees with 400+ degrees of superheat added. I Leave it to you to decide which was REALLY more dangerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 85 gt kid View Post
    While they didn't cause massive contamination like that certain one in Ukraine they really hurt peoples outlook on Nuclear power which is almost worse since nuclear plants seem to be on a decline. I know most people I've talked to balk at the idea but don't want fossil fuel plants either (apparently wind and solar is 100% infallible in allot of peoples eyes)
    Stupid s as stupid does.

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    Sir, with regards to boiler operation are they either on or off or do you run them at different pressures to match demand? I ask because with the Norway being pier side maybe her boilers were running at a reduced pressure thus explaining the smaller explosion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by desertswo View Post
    Three Mile Island had multiple redundant features that defeated the stupidity of its operators while its Soviet counterpart did not.
    I suppose it didn't help the Chernobyl's operators were actively disabling the safety features that did have.
    “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if the Senate determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role… because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Boat View Post
    Sir, with regards to boiler operation are they either on or off or do you run them at different pressures to match demand? I ask because with the Norway being pier side maybe her boilers were running at a reduced pressure thus explaining the smaller explosion?
    They are operating or secured. If operating, they do so at designed pressure and temperature. If steam demand changes, more or less combustion air and fuel are added to the furnace, and more or less water added to the steam drum but that simply maintains equilibrium; in other words pressure and temperature are constant. The trick is that a boiler needs a load in addition to its man feed pumps and forced draft blowers for the automatic combustion control system (ACC) to properly function so a generator or two will be rolling and preferably (but not necessarily) providing power to the ring bus providing electrical power to the ship. That's called "steaming auxiliary." If auxiliary exhaust is cut into the main condenser and the jacking gear is turning the shaft it's called "steaming modified main."

    As far as Norway is concerned, according to the NTSB it was the result of years of improper maintenance, repairs, and inspections. I was a Certified Steam Generating Plant Inspector. That was a school obtained designation normally only granted to senior enlisted Boiler Technicians. Regardless, I'm the kind of guy the NTSB would call in to perform the on deck evaluation of things; just as I did in Iwo Jima. With that background, reading that truncated report found at the link I provided, the conditions identified are pretty freaking scary.
    Last edited by desertswo; 15 Apr 15, at 01:20.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I suppose it didn't help the Chernobyl's operators were actively disabling the safety features that did have.
    Yeah as one used hear on Top 40 radio in the States "The hits just keep on comin'!"

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