PROPOSAL OF NUCLEAR POWER PROCESS SCALED TO FACTORIO LEVEL
As far as I have read in former posts in this thread and some others, I share the idea that Factorio is not intended to clone every production process in real life, rather than showing a fun, enjoyable and simpliflied representetation of it (with much or less complexity depending on what it is about).
Having that in mind the first thing is to scale reality to Factorio level. Real life is incredible, but let's not get a headache with the multiple technologies and fuel available. Clear your heads, do not get cocky and select ONE of each. I start:
Conventional nuclear power in the world relies on a single aspect: the Nuclear Fuel Cycle
. The nuclear fuel cycle determines the path followed by uranium and other viable fuels (like plutonium or thorium), from a mine to its final disposal as waste.
The development of the process in the former picture, would require much effort in development and much search on information about nuclear technology. As these is not intended, and I will not enter in details about nuclear physics either, I will just make a Factorio simplification to the nuclear cycle in order to give some ideas to the dev team. (If someone wants details go to this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fuel_cycle
The fun part and hardpart of nuclear power in Factorio would be representing a part of that process. It is really easy to put some fuel in a reactor, close the hatch and boil water in it (just the same as burning some coal and producing steam for the steam engines). So, although it is a simplification of real life, it must have a level of complexity.
THE PROCESS DRAFT
The process on the image is explained further:
1) Starting with a conventional mine, we extract the ore the same way we do with copper or iron (we obtain uranium ore
2) The ore is transfered through conventional ways (transport belt) to a chemical plant
. The next is similar to obtaining sulfuric acid with sulfur, metal and water.
3) In the chemical plant
, the inputs are: ore and water; the output: let's call it uranium gas
(instead of UF6). The gas will be easily trasnfered through a pipeline to the next building in the process: the Enrichment plant
4) The enrichment plant
would work like and oil refinery. This would be a new building in the game. The plant would give much discussion in the forums, due to the multiple outputs it may have. For the moment, I just projected two possibilities for enrichment. The two ways are Weapons-grade Refinement
and Reactor-grade Refinement
. Each grade produces wether fuel for weapons like atomic bombs and nuclear missiles, or fuel just for reactors. The different grades will also consume more or less uranium gas, but I will talk about quantities later. The output from the enrichment plant would be something like: "weaponized uranium gas
" or "reactor uranium gas
" depending on the refinement grade.
Now we have two paths to follow: weapons-grade or reactor-grade.
Weapons-grade Refinement Path
5a) The weaponized uranium gas
would be transfered to another chemical plant
. Combine with water, will be oxidized again to uranium oxide (let's pick a more gamely name like weaponized uranium pellet
. The item will have the form of a cilinder, like a barrel but much more tiny, or even cubic form. The colour should be something strong to indicate danger: red or orange will do.
6a) Now, atomic bombs work with uranium and plutonium in metal state, so we need to transfer the weaponized uranium pellet
to a conventional Factorio furnace
. We will obtain uranium metal. The uranium rods
would be like steel bars and would have also a dangerous colour. Let's transfer them to an assembly factory.
7a) Now we build an atomic bomb or a nuclear missile in a Factorio assembly factory
. The input should be some hard items to get like blue circuits, solid fuel, etc. And there we get a bomb or a missile to throw to our beloved aliens.
Reactor-grade Refinement Path
5b) The reactor uranium gas
would be transfered to another chemical plant
. Combine with water, will be oxidized again to uranium oxide (let's pick a more gamely name aswell like simply uranium pellet
. The pellet will also have the form of a cilinder, like a barrel but much more tiny, or even cubic form. The colour should be something soft to indicate conventional use on power: brown or even grey should do it (these are the actual colours).
6b) Reactors work with fuel encapsulated in zirconium alloied rods joined together with other rods in what's called a Fuel Assembly with silvery bright. To simulate this in Factorio: we transfer the uranium pellets
into a Factorio assembly factory
with other inputs like steel bars and iron plates for instance. On the output we achieve the fuel assembly, called nuclear fuel
. It can have cubic form and silvery bright for example. This will later be inserted into a power plant.
7b) The new star building of the nuclear process in factorio, the Nuclear Power Plant
. Just insert the nuclear fuel
in it and together with water, it will produce steam and electricity.
A BIT ON NUMBERS
- Uranium ore veins are not very common. So the quantity of fuel in the veins should be something like 3k to 4k, and the surface occupied by the vein should be little. This is just an advice.
- Chemical plant reaction: 1x Uranium ore (+ water) -> 2x Uranium gas.
- Enrichment plant:
For weapons-grade conversion: 100x Uranium gas -> 1x Weaponized uranium gas.
For reactor-grade conversion: 10x Uranium gas -> 1x Reactor uranium gas.
- Chemical plant reaction: 5x Weaponized uranium gas -> 1x Weaponized uranium pellet.
- Furnace: 20x Weaponized uranium pellet -> 1x Uranium rod.
- Assembly factory: 2x Uranium rod (+ other components) -> 1x Atomic Bomb (Missile).
- Chemical plant reaction: 5x Reactor uranium gas -> 1x Uranium pellet.
- Assembly factory: 40x Uranium pellet (+ steel and iron) -> 1x Nuclear fuel.
- Nuclear power plant: 1x Nuclear Fuel -> 10 MW output.
With this numbers:
- To build an atomic bomb you would need to mine something like 10.000 units of ore.
- To power a reactor you would need to mine something like 1.000 units of ore.
The reactor will output something like 10 MW, which in Factorio is a huge amount of energy. The time the fuel will last in the reactor should be a lot. Like 5 or 7 Factorio days.
The Weaponized uranium pellets could also be transformed into Nuclear fuel at a reduced cost. Let's say: 4x Weaponized uranium pellets -> 1x Nuclear fuel. As it is 10 times more costly to obtain weapons-grade uranium than reactor-grade. This actually happens with the dismantle of russian and american nuclear weapons.
IDEAS FOR RADIATION
The following points are complementary to the nuclear energy and can be implemented little by little:
- Power plants do not emit radiation, unless it is a gas discharge allowed by the country's nuclear regulatory comission or during an accident event.
- Radiation should be yellow because of the radiation warning trebol or blue (actual bright). But not green please, nuclear fuel does not radiate in green, that's in the Simpsons, watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb9i-toCcwg
- Radiation kills depending on the dose. Factorio engineers should have a geiger dosemeter. Over a limit on the dosemeter engineers should start losing life.
- Radiation should last for 7 Factorio days and if the area is occupied by a nest of aliens, aliens should mutate.
- Radiation propagates if there's an event accident in form of a plume which can be modified by climate conditions.
Sorry for the extension but I think this could lead to a major patch in Factorio, and should be implemented precise and with detail.
Wrapping up, these are the many ideas I have to scale reality to Factorio. Please feel free all users and dev team members to critize what I posted.
If need be I will answer doubts or correct things I may have left on the way.