As you say heat takes time to travel along the heat pipes. In my setup the reactor gets to ~800°C and the last heat exchanger never gets above 500°C. So I wonder if it wouldn't be enough to have a steam tank on the last heat exchanger. It will be the first to stop producing steam and as soon as it drops you throw in some more fuel. If the heat pipes + exchangers are already sufficient to store a fuel cell worth of heat then no steam tank should be needed other than as detector and to smooth out spikes.kann_ wrote:The problem is what you already stated. While nuclear reactors heat up at a constant rate, the heat has to reach the heat exchangers and this is quite slow. So you cant run them on-demand very well. If you store some of the power in steam you have a good buffer until the rector is running at full power again. I think 3-6 steam tanks are a good number per effective reactor.
I think you made a mistake in your math though. or rather there is a faulty assumption.
I assume this 0.5 GJ is the difference between 15°C and 1000°C. But the heat exchangers will produce steam as long as they are above 500°C. So when the steam in the tank drops you will still be at 500°C. That would mean you have only half the heat capacity free, or 4GJ. And if suddenly no steam is used up anymore you would have to store the other 4GJ as steam. Should an extra 16 heat pipes be added to catch those extra 4GJ instead?kann_ wrote: This is because every heat exchanger and heat pipe can store 0.5 GJ. [ (12 pipes + 4 heat exchanger) * 0.5 GJ = 8 GJ ]