Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

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Lilly
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Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Lilly » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:29 am

I was wondering if I could build a nuclear reactor that outputs over 1TW (=1000GW) worth of power. So I built one:
1TW.png
1TW.png (678.11 KiB) Viewed 14303 times
What is needed?
To produce 1TW worth of power, solar panels isn't going to work. It would require ~16.7 million solar cells, which would result in ~146.500 chunks paved with solar panels. Steam engines is slightly more feasible with 1.1 million reactors and half as many boilers, resulting in ~19.500 chunks paved with steam power and would require 250.000 coal or 80.000 solid fuel per second (note the 50% efficiency of boilers). So for 1TW nuclear power is obviously the way to go. With neighborhood bonuses, A perfect square would be the most efficient. A 71×71 setup would work, but I doubt the heat pipes can be extended far enough to dissipate all the generated heat (I'm running the latest Factorio version, currently 0.16.13, which includes the heat pipe fix from 0.15.11). So I settled for a 2×N design.

Some numbers:
  • 6252 nuclear reactors = 1TW / 40MW / 400% + 1 rounded up to the next even number (153 chunks).
  • 31.25 fuel cells per second = 6252 reactors / 200 seconds per fuel cell (I used the creative mod).
  • A means to transport these fuel cells over up to 31.000 tiles distance = 6252 reactors × 5 tiles.
    • At worker robot speed 15 and cargo size 3 and ignoring time spend on recharging, this could be done by 8.200 logistic bots = 31.000 tiles on average × 31.25 fuel / ( 3 tiles per second × 990% ) / 4 items per robot.
    • Or simply with 4 transport belts: on each side, one for delivering fuel cells and one for collecting the emptied ones. Note that 31.25 per second is more than what would fit on 2 transport belts (each 13.33/s), so at least fast transport belts (26.66/s) are required.
  • 100.000 heat exchangers = 1TW / 10MW (586 chunks).
  • 172.000 steam turbines = 1TW / 5.82MW (5034 chunks).
  • 8.600 offshore pumps = 172.000 steam turbines × 60 water per second / 1200 water per second (34 chunks).
  • To store one fuel cell worth of energy: 82.500 storage tanks = 1TW × 200sec / 2.425GJ or ~700.000 pieces of heat pipe = 1TW × 200sec / ~300MJ.


The design:
To build something this large, I've chosen a row based design that I could repeat vertically as much as necessary. Furthermore, I wanted to keep it as small as possible, which meant I had to get the ratio's right. So, per 30 tile rows I have 12 reactors generating 12×40MW×4 = 1920MW worth of heat. To convert that heat into steam, I need to fit 1920MW / 10MW = 192 heat exchangers within those 30 tile rows. To convert that steam into energy, I need 1920MW / 5.82MW = 330 steam turbines. And of course, everything must be properly connected with fluid and heat pipes. So it's a tight fit.

Reactor core
reactor.png
reactor.png (538.74 KiB) Viewed 14303 times
This one is relatively simple. It has two reactors, belts, inserters to insert full and remove empty fuel cells and heat pipes to dissipate the heat. It seems that having double width heat pipe helps the heat dissipate faster. When multiple reactors are chained, part of the heat wire will overlap. The inserter has stack size set to 1 and is attached to a red wire so it can respond to a signal to grab a fuel cell (signal G, condition >0). The combinator is hooked to the belt piece and checks whether there are at least 3 fuel cells available, indicating that the inserter would be able to grab one, and sends a ready signal to the controller (signal R, value 1). The constant combinator is used to count the number of reactors (signal N, value 1) in the layout.

Heat exchanger
heat_exchange.png
heat_exchange.png (395.41 KiB) Viewed 14303 times
Here I've chosen a 6 rows high layout (the heat pipes overlap), which would result in 19.2 heat exchangers (per side). I've rounded this up to 20. This one required a lot of experimentation to get right. Apparently, heat exchangers output fluid at ~102.5 units per second, so 20 heat exchangers, will output 2050 units of steam per second. To maintain such a high flow rate, a pump is needed after every 3 segments of pipe. After some trial and error I found that this was the simplest design that would output a steady 2050 units of steam per second. I've created a flow meter for testing the output.
Flow meter
Steam turbines
turbines.png
turbines.png (425.79 KiB) Viewed 14303 times
To match with the heat exchanger layout, this one is also 6 rows high. Hence it must contain 33 steam turbines per side. After the underground segment from the heat exchangers, a pump must immediately follow, to maintain the 2050 flow. After the pump it should again be at most 3 segments until the turbine (turbines seem to have a pump-like effect). At the end, there are 9 storage tanks to temporarily store excess steam. They're hooked up to the circuit network to report the amount of steam stored, which is used to throttle fuel cell input, in case power demand is less than 1TW :lol:. There is also a constant combinator, used for counting the number of 'heat exchanger & steam turbine'-arms there are in the reactor (signal M, value 1). Roboports are included in the design to support autonomous building.

Controller
controller.png
controller.png (1.58 MiB) Viewed 14303 times
Being combinator heavy, this is the most complicated part of the reactor. In the lower part are two progress bars, the red one indicates the amount of full cell that is still active inside the reactors. The white one shows the amount of excess steam within the reactor. The last 5 lights are cyan colored, indicating that steam is above the threshold value of 150.000 per arm. There are 4 conditions which must be met to inject a new fuel cell. From left to right: the reactor must be enabled (combinator is switched on); excess steam within the reactor must be below the threshold (steam/signal M < 150.000); every reactor must have a fuel cell available for pick-up (signal R = signal N); the reactors must not already be processing a fuel cell (signal T = 0). When all conditions are met: signal T is set to 12.000, the number of ticks required for processing a fuel cell; and signal G is set to 20 to signal the inserters to inject a new fuel cell. Both are reduced by 1 every tick until they're 0. In the top right there is a passive circuit that checks whether the heat exchangers & steam turbines have enough capacity ( signal M × 5.82MW × 33 turbines / 10kW ) to deal with the heat generated by the reactor cores ( (signal N - 1) × 40MW × 400% / 10kW ). If not, the 4 lamps color red.
Circuit network signals
The result:
design.png
design.png (884.27 KiB) Viewed 14303 times
The bottom part repeats for another 1000 chunks. As I didn't want to count the 6252 reactors carefully, I ended up building a reactor with 6452 cores and 5376 arms. In parts, that is:
  • 277440 heat pipes
  • 247296 pipes
  • 177408 turbines (1032GW), 60 turbines (0.056%) more than the optimal ratio.
  • 107520 heat exchangers (1075GW), 4304 heat exchangers (4.2%) more than the optimal ratio.
  • 68816 underground pipe segments
  • 53788 small electric poles
  • 48384 storage tanks
  • 25812 underground belts
  • 16128 pumps
  • 12956 belt segments
  • 11844 medium electric poles
  • 11828 constant combinators
  • 10752 offshore pumps, 1884 offshore pumps (21%) more than the optimal ratio.
  • 6460 decider combinators
  • 6452 long-handed inserters
  • 6452 fast inserters
  • 6452 reactors (1032GW)
  • 40 lamps
  • 6 arithmetic combinators
  • 1 substation
This fills 7202 chunks worth of tiles (not counting empty tiles within the layout).

Energy storage:
The system can contain 1.3G units of steam, or 126TJ worth of steam. The heat pipes, reactors and heat exchangers have a total heat capacity of 449480 MJ/°C. Assuming an effective working range of 400°C, this is ~180TJ worth of heat. During a single fuel cell cycle, the reactor generates (6542-1) × 400% × 8GJ = 209TJ of energy. With a total energy capacity of ~306TJ can easily store that. However, the reactor already switches on when there is still 66.6% steam in the system, reducing the free steam energy capacity to 42TJ. As the heat pipes need to be fully drained before the steam can drop below the threshold of 150.000, that leaves ~222TJ in total, which is still sufficient.

As it takes some time for the heaters and heat pipes to heat up sufficiently to get the heat exchangers running at full capacity, the 67% of steam is needed to prevent brownouts. With 126TJ × 67% = 84TJ worth of steam energy left in the system, that leaves 84TJ / 1032GW = 81 seconds for the reactor to heat the heat exchangers up to full capacity. :geek:
Blueprint book
Would you ever need such an amount of power?
No! Your factory will die of fps death long before you reach the point that you need 1TW. Merely running the reactor caused my frame rate to drop to 3fps. Luckily it only requires 2 fuel cells to get running at fuel capacity, which at 3fps takes 2 hours.

Fortunately, the design is modular, so you could create a reactor as small as 2 reactors + 1 arm and add additional reactors and arms as necessary (add reactors first and then add arms until the red light of the capacity check turns of). With respect to ratios, 2+6n reactors with 1+5n arms is pretty well balanced. In its smaller forms, it can also be used in normal gameplay. Just find a large enough lake and terraform the parts that don't need water. Also, the heat exchangers and steam turbines are separate, so you can put those as far from each other as you want (as long as you add a pump after every 3 segments of pipe) and use a different means to provide water.

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Koub » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:18 am

:o
I would definitely post the save of this insanity there
Koub - Please consider English is not my native language.

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Lilly » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:41 am

Koub wrote::o
I would definitely post the save of this insanity there
Ok, done: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=17501&p=330742#p330742.

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Smarty » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:57 am

You need to see a doctor and fast!

This is just insane

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by eradicator » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:04 pm

Nicely done :D
Lilly wrote: No! Your factory will die of fps death long before you reach the point that you need 1TW.
After building the reactor you are exhausted. You lean against one of the pipes and fall into a deep slumber...
Suddenly! You wake up. A strange voice ringing in your head. You try to locate the voice and it seems to be coming from... the inside of the pipes...? But this clearly can't be! That would be insane. Nothing could survive in there...
After a few minutes the rining voice in your head finally starts to fade away:

More... More... More... more... more... more.. more... More... are... you... sure...?
Author of: Hand Crank Generator, Screenshot Hotkey 2.0
Mod support languages: 日本語, Deutsch, English
My code in the post above is dedicated to the public domain under CC0.

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Jap2.0 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:43 pm

Lilly wrote:Would you ever need such an amount of power?
No! Your factory will die of fps death long before you reach the point that you need 1TW. Merely running the reactor caused my frame rate to drop to 3fps. Luckily it only requires 2 fuel cells to get running at fuel capacity, which at 3fps takes 2 hours.
People have said stuff like that before.

At the moment my plan is probably to tile large amounts of rocket silos or beacons (edit: or newly-placed roboprts that need to charge their buffer. I'm unsure if or how rocket silos would work.) I should have time next weekend.
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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by foodfactorio » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:28 am

yikes, i only just unlocked the technology in my game (AngelBobYuoki) and just haphazardly put together my first reactor lol, and now i see this?
well done :)

actually, one thing i noticed in the BioIndustries mod, is the ability to create lots of Accumulators, or Solar panels (as normal), but to then also be able to merge about 50 of them to craft 1 single entity which has almost all the benefits of the individual items. (it was mainly to save space on the map, but maybe if you really needed that much power, something similar could help with your fps rate, though maybe not on such a scale, as it would still be fun to have to connect up and design a huge reactor setup, and get a good sense of achievement :)
(also me from the mod portal - im not dustine lol) = https://mods.factorio.com/mods/Dustine/ ... ssion/9108
my 1st Mod Idea :) viewtopic.php?f=33&t=50256

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Aeternus » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:42 am

Ha! You beat me to it. I've got a similar modular design in the works, tileable, 56 exchangers per 4 reactors for what at this kind of infinite expansion means ~560 MW per "row" of 4 reactors. (640MW production so some energy has to be buffered). It'd take 200 such rows to reach a terawatt, but since the design is tileable (as long as you got the water in the right spots) that isn't an issue.

I solved the flow capacity issues by having 2 rows of exchangers connected separately, by pump, pushing into storage tanks - then from those by pump into the turbines. This limits the required steam transfer rate per pipe to ~1400 which a single pump can easily manage, but widens the design a little since the rows cannot interconnect. To compensate,the rows are longer.

I might steal that fuel cell and steam level gauge from yours... That part I like!

[Edit] I'm curious... does the blue belt handle the amount of fuel needed at this kind of power generation? 6252 fuel every 200 seconds at full burn... 31 fuel per second... ~16 fuel per second per side. Yea, blue belt will handle that. Had been wondering what a belt design could handle reactor wise... seems the upper limit for this would be around 2.5 TW of power generation continuous.

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by foodfactorio » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:59 am

imagine what the mining and processing of ores will be like - it took me about 1200-1300 production cycles in the centrifuge to make 15 actual good ores in my current game , which needed about 10 ores per production cycle :)
(also me from the mod portal - im not dustine lol) = https://mods.factorio.com/mods/Dustine/ ... ssion/9108
my 1st Mod Idea :) viewtopic.php?f=33&t=50256

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Lilly » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:49 pm

Aeternus wrote:[Edit] I'm curious... does the blue belt handle the amount of fuel needed at this kind of power generation? 6252 fuel every 200 seconds at full burn... 31 fuel per second... ~16 fuel per second per side. Yea, blue belt will handle that. Had been wondering what a belt design could handle reactor wise... seems the upper limit for this would be around 2.5 TW of power generation continuous.
The supply could be handled by a red belt. However, collecting the empty cells uses only one lane of the belt. In that case red belts don't have enough capacity.
foodfactorio wrote:imagine what the mining and processing of ores will be like - it took me about 1200-1300 production cycles in the centrifuge to make 15 actual good ores in my current game , which needed about 10 ores per production cycle :)
Getting enough uranium-235 is easy once you have about 400 of them and the kovarex enrichment process researched. Then you can convert 3 uranium-238 into 1 uranium-235 and the requirement drops to 2.2 uranium-238 per fuel cell or ~22 uranium ore per fuel cell. For the 1TW reactor, that's ~10 compressed blue belts.

I've used the design below in my current game, which produced about 13K uranium-235, which is more than enough for now. Nice thing about it is that you can add logistic request chests to automatically remove the produced uranium-235, while the uranium-238 can be automatically supplied from passive provider chests.
enrichment.png
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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by foodfactorio » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:01 am

thanks for the info, ive only just moved up from Red Green and Blue & Purple science in my current game, so will try to get that researched soon as i can too.

that above design is interesring, because when i first was thinking about the future, i was imagining putting 1 centrifuge in the middle, and surrounding it with multiple beacons lol, and you did the opposite :)
(also me from the mod portal - im not dustine lol) = https://mods.factorio.com/mods/Dustine/ ... ssion/9108
my 1st Mod Idea :) viewtopic.php?f=33&t=50256

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Ringkeeper » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:07 pm

for enrichment process there is a nice setup at this post. Start and pretty much forget about it^^
viewtopic.php?f=208&t=57800

Or if you need ALOT of the good uranium use this:
viewtopic.php?f=202&t=57763

i use the nuclear artillery mod + all trains (around 200) on uran fuel and have 3 of the second one running :D but slowly also enough of good uran.

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by foodfactorio » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:42 am

oh no, i tried to set up something in the way of 1 beacon to many, and then there was a kind of chain reaction, (literally) with me suddenly realising that i could quickly add more and more fuges to create more of what i thought was the (good) fuel, and it became a race to produce lots....

but... i got carried away and ended up using all of my dark green uraniums, before i could even make an actual fuel cell (which requires the dark green one) :D
so now im still waiting near a specific requester chest, which tries to yank out all of it so that it does not get processed, which still has not quite reached the 19 or so that is needed :)
fuel_processing-oops.png
fuel_processing-oops.png (1.28 MiB) Viewed 12638 times
i do have rather a good amount of the good stuff, lol ;)
fuel_processing-stash.png
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(also me from the mod portal - im not dustine lol) = https://mods.factorio.com/mods/Dustine/ ... ssion/9108
my 1st Mod Idea :) viewtopic.php?f=33&t=50256

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by MisterFister » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 am

Wow. Bravo!

Some thoughts, in no particular order:

1) As for framerate, my understanding was that the framerate in this game (due to this specific game's inability to use multicore CPUs) is primarily controlled by UPS, significant here because of the fluid-dynamics calculations inherent in running the heatpipes.

1-A) I wonder if this design can be adapted to a Clusterio-mod design, such that the entire array can be scaled across multiple servers. I suppose that would imply decentralized control panels for eaxh instance...?

1-B) I might have to install the Creative mod myself in order to assess the single-server performance benckmarks for 1TW solar. The sheer number of active chunks wpuld create issues, no doubt, but I'm led to understand that it's a significant number of chunks to rival an equivalent UPS / FPS burden of comparable nuclear power.

1-C) For that matter I'd need to do the same for steam as well. You know, for science.

2) That's a LOT of water, particularly given the map footprint. I wonder how your design can be adapted to accomodate bwater delivered by trains, whether piped or barreled. I foresee a significant bot-scaling issue due to crowded flight paths and exceedingly cramped layouts. Likely, your modular "blades" would need to be spaced to allow for roboport banks, as well as periodic rail easements.

3) Full disclosure, by primary interest in nuclear is as a method of supplying preheated steam for outpost capacitor-storage. Possible tldr, but I prefer hyper-deathworld mods that enhance biter aggression and resilience (Rampant, Swarm, Near Evolution, etc.) Thus, numerous hardsafe redundancies in power and defense is mandatory, as biter bases always re-expand quickly. No rail corridor, no outpost, no gate can have the slightest perimeter flaws -- which makes for challenges that I find enjoyable in terms of supplying ammo to gun turrets out at the hinterland ore patches (on top of laser, hard-artillery, and one or more roaming scheduled artillery trains just playing peekaboo.) Supplying outposts and even the rail corridors themselves with repair packs, spare wall and turrets, spare bots, etc. Breach detector circuitry to manipulate where the automated artillery trains go, partial allowances for low resupply levels to allow an expedited resupply train to be launched, etc.

At any rate, I run centralized power and signal wiring to all outposts, but even if defenses don't eventually become heavily slanted toward laser, the fact will always remain that the power spikes are gonna be a pain in the ass, especially when they start brownout spirals back at the main production centers. Thus, I design the ability for a brownout or blackout condition to auto-sever key power trunks (my next project is figuring out how to do so modularly where individual branches or even specific outposts or corridors will be disconnected.)

This means that emergency power needs to be banked at the outposts, and my preferred method will be steam delivery by train (a simple matter, since there'll be resupply trains, acid deliveries, etc.)

Your design here, and some others I've seen, will be my starting point in designing those steam-banking systems. :)

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Tankh » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:46 am

With neighborhood bonuses, A perfect square would be the most efficient. A 71×71 setup would work, but I doubt the heat pipes can be extended far enough to dissipate all the generated heat
Can you even build squares bigger than 2x2? How do you supply the inner reactors with fuel (automatically)?

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by zOldBulldog » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:00 am

Brilliant design. I doubt that I will ever need a terawatt, but the modular expandable design is great.

I can think of one small feature that would make it even more impressive: A global alarm when power consumption gets close to the Production, to remind you to expand with another module.

Also, I did not see it but I imagine you designed it to be self-starting and conserve fuel, right?

I will probably be studying your design for a long time. I have been meaning to learn more about nuclear and circuit design, and your design is so methodical that it will make for a great case study.

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Re: Building a 1TW nuclear reactor

Post by Jap2.0 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:10 am

Tankh wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:46 am
With neighborhood bonuses, A perfect square would be the most efficient. A 71×71 setup would work, but I doubt the heat pipes can be extended far enough to dissipate all the generated heat
Can you even build squares bigger than 2x2? How do you supply the inner reactors with fuel (automatically)?
Technically you can, but there is no way to automatically supply inner reactors with fuel without mods (hence why no one does it).

MisterFister wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 am
Wow. Bravo!

Some thoughts, in no particular order:

1) As for framerate, my understanding was that the framerate in this game (due to this specific game's inability to use multicore CPUs) is primarily controlled by UPS, significant here because of the fluid-dynamics calculations inherent in running the heatpipes.

1-A) I wonder if this design can be adapted to a Clusterio-mod design, such that the entire array can be scaled across multiple servers. I suppose that would imply decentralized control panels for eaxh instance...?
You could do so, but it would be no different than simply building multiple reactors.
MisterFister wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 am
1-B) I might have to install the Creative mod myself in order to assess the single-server performance benckmarks for 1TW solar. The sheer number of active chunks wpuld create issues, no doubt, but I'm led to understand that it's a significant number of chunks to rival an equivalent UPS / FPS burden of comparable nuclear power.
I don't think this would be as much of a problem as you think - there would probably be a ton of RAM usage, but solar panels and accumulators are both O(1), and chunks that aren't doing anything consume virtually no performance. The electric network itself consumes relatively little performance, and if a chunk is filled with solar panels and/or accumulators, it should consume approximately no performance. You would have a very large perimeter filled with biters, but pollution should not reach that far out and there are caps on both how often biters will expand and how much time they will spend pathfinding - so overall, you might have decent UPS at the end, although simply making 1TW of solar would be a large problem.
MisterFister wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 am
1-C) For that matter I'd need to do the same for steam as well. You know, for science.
If you're insane when you come back we'll know why.
MisterFister wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 am
2) That's a LOT of water, particularly given the map footprint. I wonder how your design can be adapted to accomodate bwater delivered by trains, whether piped or barreled. I foresee a significant bot-scaling issue due to crowded flight paths and exceedingly cramped layouts. Likely, your modular "blades" would need to be spaced to allow for roboport banks, as well as periodic rail easements.

3) Full disclosure, by primary interest in nuclear is as a method of supplying preheated steam for outpost capacitor-storage. Possible tldr, but I prefer hyper-deathworld mods that enhance biter aggression and resilience (Rampant, Swarm, Near Evolution, etc.) Thus, numerous hardsafe redundancies in power and defense is mandatory, as biter bases always re-expand quickly. No rail corridor, no outpost, no gate can have the slightest perimeter flaws -- which makes for challenges that I find enjoyable in terms of supplying ammo to gun turrets out at the hinterland ore patches (on top of laser, hard-artillery, and one or more roaming scheduled artillery trains just playing peekaboo.) Supplying outposts and even the rail corridors themselves with repair packs, spare wall and turrets, spare bots, etc. Breach detector circuitry to manipulate where the automated artillery trains go, partial allowances for low resupply levels to allow an expedited resupply train to be launched, etc.

At any rate, I run centralized power and signal wiring to all outposts, but even if defenses don't eventually become heavily slanted toward laser, the fact will always remain that the power spikes are gonna be a pain in the ass, especially when they start brownout spirals back at the main production centers. Thus, I design the ability for a brownout or blackout condition to auto-sever key power trunks (my next project is figuring out how to do so modularly where individual branches or even specific outposts or corridors will be disconnected.)

This means that emergency power needs to be banked at the outposts, and my preferred method will be steam delivery by train (a simple matter, since there'll be resupply trains, acid deliveries, etc.)

Your design here, and some others I've seen, will be my starting point in designing those steam-banking systems. :)
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