[0.14] Reactors & Atomic Locomotives

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GotLag
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[0.14] Reactors & Atomic Locomotives

Post by GotLag » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:20 am

Discussion/feedback/suggestions thread for Reactors and Atomic Locomotives

Flow Control (or a similar mod that adds high-speed pumps) is required. Reactors need a lot of water.

Reactors adds nuclear reactors, uranium and plutonium, along with recipes and technologies to make use of them. Each reactor produces 26 MW, enough to run 50 steam engines or 2 steam turbines (the turbine is a compact shortcut for 25 steam engines, it's no more or less efficient except in terms of space).
Turbines come in two types, base load (primary priority) and peak load (secondary priority).

Atomic Locomotives adds a heavy, powerful locomotive that's filled with plutonium at the factory and needs no further refuelling.

Image

Initially, an inefficient simple fission cycle produces power, marginally-useful byproducts and also waste. Subsequent research provides for reprocessing this waste into byproducts so it can at least be used rather than merely stored. Further research allows recycling of byproducts to fuel, and finally a breeder cycle that can be used (along with fission) to re-enrich processed waste and result in a zero-residue fuel cycle. Or you might deliberately run a surplus of one or more byproducts.
Technology Tree
Fuel Cycle
Reactor mechanics
Reactors have a 500-unit fluid tank, and when they are active (with a recipe set) they heat fluid in this tank, which you can use to power steam engines/turbines. Reactors produce up to 26 MW (slightly more than needed to run 50 steam engines or 2 turbines).
Reactors will attempt to maintain an internal temperature of 150°C by increasing/decreasing their power production. Water in the core is heated to a maximum of 100°C, cooling the core in the process. Thus the more hot water you're using, the more power the reactor will have to produce to maintain its temperature. Reactors will not reduce power below 20%.
If a reactor core's temperature rises above 200°C, it will enter emergency shutdown mode. In this mode, power output is set to 0, and will not be enabled again until the core temperature has been reduced to 16°C (through water cooling).

Cooling towers can protect your reactor from overheating. They accept water of any temperature, and output (slightly less) water at 15°C. Using pumps and circuit conditions, you can set up your cooling towers to only activate when the reactor is beginning to overheat (or is in emergency shutdown). I prefer to set mine to activate at 160°C.
IMPORTANT: If your reactor is full of fluid, your cooling towers will not be able to push their cold water back in. For this reason I set my water intake pumps to only turn on if the reactor is <80% full.

Reactor signals
All signals are emitted/read from the circuit interface on the front of the reactor.

Output
Image Reactor core temperature
Image Reactor coolant temperature - the temperature of the fluid in the heat exchanger
Image Reactor power output - as a percentage
Image Reactor shutting down - emitted while the reactor is throttling down after receiving a shutdown command, sending this signal to the reactor has no effect
Image Reactor overheated - this signal will be output while the reactor is in its emergency shutdown state, sending this signal to the reactor has no effect

Input
Image Reactor target output (percentage) - Overrides automatic throttle if this signal is greater than zero. Does not remove minimum throttle of 20%. The main use of this signal is to force a reactor to run at max speed for faster production.
Image Shut down reactor - If the reactor receives this signal it will reduce power to zero and halt operation. It will continue shutting down even if the signal is removed, until its output reaches zero.
Example Reactor
Example Fuel Processing
Optimisation
A reactor using the fission cycle produces only half as much plutonium (via waste reprocessing) as it needs to re-enrich its fuel. A reactor using the breeder cycle produces twice its own plutonium needs. If you use only basic fission, you will produce large amounts of depleted uranium. If you only use breeders, you will run a slow but steady plutonium surplus.
Note that reactors don't have to be used to produce power - you might find it simpler to produce all your power from basic fission, and have a breeder reactor forced to run at full speed through the attachment of two actively-pumped cooling towers.

Sometimes you may notice your reactor is not outputting water at 100°C. This is due to the order in which pipes, tanks and pumps update their volume and temperature.
To get reliably hot output, make sure your reactor and its pumps are within the same chunk (use the F4 menu to show tile grid, and note the thicker black lines), and build your output pumps (i.e. pumps sending hot water to the engines) before the input pumps (i.e. cold water intake) and reactor.
Reactors version history
Atomic Locomotives version history
Last edited by GotLag on Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:29 pm, edited 25 times in total.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by GotLag » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:48 pm

Updated to 1.1.0
  • Reactor and cooling tower sub-components (circuit interface, heat exchanger, steam generator) now indestructible. The will still be removed if the reactor/cooling tower is destroyed or removed.
  • Reactor update now checks to see if crafting is stalled by full output slots, and no longer produces power if that is the case. Water will still be heated by (and thus cool down) the core.
  • Fuel consumption speed increased and breeder efficiency increased

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by Smoovious » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:24 pm

GotLag wrote:[*]Reactor and cooling tower sub-components (circuit interface, heat exchanger, steam generator) now indestructible. The will still be removed if the reactor/cooling tower is destroyed or removed.
Any reason for this? (the indestructible part)

-- Smoov

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by Rockstar04 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:37 pm

Smoovious wrote:
GotLag wrote:[*]Reactor and cooling tower sub-components (circuit interface, heat exchanger, steam generator) now indestructible. The will still be removed if the reactor/cooling tower is destroyed or removed.
Any reason for this? (the indestructible part)

-- Smoov
Since it says sub-components I assume that means that the "fake" entities that are placed by script can no longer be destroyed, potentially leaving the real entity with missing functionality.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by Nexela » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:38 pm

Smoovious wrote: Any reason for this? (the indestructible part)

-- Smoov
As far as I know it is Because they are subcomponents that are only placed/removed when the main building is placed/removed. For sanitys sake it is safer just to make them non destructible rather then account for every combination that could break the scripts if one more more pieces gets destroyed.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by Smoovious » Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:49 pm

Nexela wrote:As far as I know it is Because they are subcomponents that are only placed/removed when the main building is placed/removed. For sanitys sake it is safer just to make them non destructible rather then account for every combination that could break the scripts if one more more pieces gets destroyed.
Ok... I haven't researched it yet, so I thought they were being placed manually... makes sense now, thanky.

-- Smoov

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by Optera » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:34 am

Nice challenge of keeping those reactors running without overheating.
You should change the visuals of items, all these green blocks look way too similar.

Could you provide some parameters in what temperature ranges it should be operated?
So far I was not able to get the reactor constantly output 100°C water
below 150°C core it has 100% power output but water temperature varies
above 150°C core power output varies but water caps out at 98.98°C

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by komrade_toast » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:41 pm

Would you mind explaining how a setup using this would work a bit more? I read everything you have available, and I can only get my test world setup to work for a little bit before it overheats and shuts off. I have 65 radars in my test setup, so this should be plenty of juice for both the Basic Fission Cycle and the Breeder Cycle to meet minimum requirements (as it requires 19.5MW to power 65 radars). How do you have the circuit conditions set in the picture shown on the Mod's download page?

Specifically in this picture:
Mod Picture
I am assuming you are turning on / off the pumps feeding the cooling towers when the core hits certain temperatures, but I have no idea what temperatures these would be. Maybe just give more explanation as to min / max core and coolant temperatures. This is quite a bit more in-depth than I thought it would be! I could only ever get my reactor to stay on for a minute or two at most, never the 10 minutes that it can last at minimum load, or even the 5 minutes at full power. Even with two cooling towers, which I THINK should be more than needed to keep the reactor cool, I cannot get the core temp to stop rising (and boy does it go up, fast!). The way I have my steam engine hooked up could also be at fault, as I have 25 hooked up to each output, with 5 rows of 5 on each side, so I am most likely having issues with water pressure also.

All-in-all I think this is a great mod, and has replaced Nucular in my pack. Don't get me wrong, nucular is a great mod and I love the production chain involved, but after it is set up properly, you can kind of just forget it. The idea of a Reactor that emits signals, and can conversely be controlled via those signals (or by proxy, using those signals) is just awesome! Keep up the great work


EDIT: I have removed all the circuit network signals, added conditions so the cooling towers will only pump in to the reactor when the emergency shutoff signal = 1, and added small pumps before each of my rows of steam engines. The setup now seems to be stable, and is powering itself. It fluctuates between ~67% load and ~98% load (however the steam engines it supplies output a constant 20.7MW, and do not fluctuate), and fluctuates between ~145 and ~162 with the core temp, coolant temp stays constant at 100. I powered it up with a single 5.1MW 10:14 steam setup, then switched it to self-power when it became stable. It has been running for over a half hour now, continuously.

The fact that my steam engine's power output stays constant while the power output from the reactor varies confuses me, what exactly is the power output signal from the reactor representing? The amount of hot water it is putting out vs. the amount of hot water it is capable of putting out? 20.7MW is 81.18% of what my 50 steam engines can output.
I also can't seem to get the water temperature to hit 100, it stays constant at 99.14 (not a big enough difference to make me concerned, but still, my OCD is acting up...
Last edited by komrade_toast on Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by GotLag » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:48 pm

I'm planning a significant change that I hope to release tonight, I'll write it up properly then. I've been busy at work this week (and had no electricity at all Wednesday).

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by komrade_toast » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:51 pm

GotLag wrote:I'm planning a significant change that I hope to release tonight, I'll write it up properly then. I've been busy at work this week (and had no electricity at all Wednesday).
Looking forward to the release (and the guide), thanks for taking the time to consider that. I understand what you mean with busy at work, as I have been too, only had today free to mess around in factorio.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by komrade_toast » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:38 pm

Update on my setup, I have it now sitting at a constant 25.1MW being produced, 150 core temp, 100 coolant temp, and fluctuating between 96%-100% power output. 80 radars used as power sink. Left coolant tower only pumps fluid into the reactor when the emergency shutoff signal is equal to one, and the right coolant tower only pumps fluid in to the reactor if the core temp is > 150. After the reactor stabilized I switched it from external power to self power. I am not sure where the extra 400kW went, as at full power this should provide 25.5MW, but maybe I'm doing something wrong, or if it is a bug, it maybe it will be fixed in the next release. Either way: here is my whole setup:
Zoomed Out
Reactor Detail
Note: This is only the reactor setup, and does not include any of the uranium refining. The refining should be easy to figure out. I just wanted to know the reactor mechanics, so I just used creative mode and put the fuel in a chest (testing both Fission and Breeder cycles).

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by GotLag » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:43 pm

What's the fluid temp/level in your engines and their pipes?

Edit: off to work now, back in 9-10 hours.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by komrade_toast » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:14 am

The statistics on my Steam Engines / their pipes:

Every row of steam engines is setup as follows:

Code: Select all

=    Pipe
P    Pump
E    Engine

Setup for each row is
=PE=E=E=E=E

Whole setup is
=PE=E=E=E=E
=
=
=PE=E=E=E=E
=
=
=PE=E=E=E=E
=
=
=PE=E=E=E=E
=
=
=PE=E=E=E=E
= -- This pipe comes directly from reactor output
The pumps are all at 10 liquid / 98.94 temp, the engines are all at 9.9 liquid / 98.94 temp, the pipes between the engines are 9.5, 9.6, 9.7, 9.8 fluid respectively, and all have 98.94 fluid temp.

EDIT:
In fact: I'll one-up my explanation and just provide a save. Everything is easier that way.
Test save download.

Sorry about the heavily-modified save. I will try to upload a version that only has reactors installed. But I can 100% assure you, no mods are interacting with your mod to change behavior.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by komrade_toast » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:01 am

Sorry it took a bit, but here is my clean (reactors and flow control only) save file:
Save File

Flow control should be listed as a requirement for this mod. I really can't see how maximum throughput could be achieved with just small pumps.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by GotLag » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:04 am

Hmm, there appears to be some kind of odd issue about build order. In certain configurations, if I mine then rebuild the reactor, after heating up it reaches a state in which the pumps output water at exactly 100°C. If I then mine and rebuild one of the pumps, it then outputs water at just below 100°C.

Anyway, for your setup, your biggest problem is that your input pumps are always on. They should only run if the tank is not quite full, eg water < 200. This provides room in the tank for the cooling towers to output their cold water. If the reactor tank is full then the cold water from the towers can't get out, so they stop taking hot water in.

Your coolant pumps should be active in two sitations: when the emergency shutdown is active, and when core temperature is over 160 or so. You should leave a buffer of about 10 degrees so that the your coolant loop isn't fighting your reactor, as the reactor's temperature will naturally oscillate within a degree or two of 150.
An easy way to achieve this is to hook up a decider combinator that outputs the shutdown signal if core temp is > 160, and set your coolant pumps to turn on if shutdown > 0.

Finally, I recommend the output pumps only activate if the fluid temperature is equal to 100. If the output pumps are always on, when your reactor is powering up then it will output a torrent of water that only gradually heats up. This actually increases the time it takes for you to reach full power, versus only pumping out water that's at 100 degrees.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by komrade_toast » Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:48 am

Hmm, I see what you mean about the build order... weird. Anyways, your tips seem to have got the reactor running nice and smooth. Now its time to experiment with different setups, and see how big I can go with it.

On a slightly different note, maybe consider adding a dedicated power producer, for example, Nucular has the "Steam Turbine" which produces 5.1MW, as much as 10 steam engines. I use a 14:10 steam setup all the time, so this works out quite well for when I finally switch to nuclear power. Maybe make it quite expensive, as to not make it OP.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by Optera » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:42 am

I noticed another odd behavior. Reactors only start crafting when giving them twice the input stated in the recipe, half of which seems to vanish.
Edit:
making an inserter load exactly 2 of each items into a breeder cycle destroys an infinite amount of fuel & uranium with the reactor playing a 0.1s crafting sound.

Edit2:

Code: Select all

reactor.entity.crafting_progress = math.max(reactor.entity.crafting_progress - (CRAFTING_INCREMENT * (MAX_POWER - reactor.power)), 0) 
seems to keep resetting the progress to 0 while consuming the input.

Side note: Having the interface report the fuel/input inventory would make filling reactors only when in use a lot easier.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by AlphaLima » Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:35 am

komrade_toast wrote:Sorry it took a bit, but here is my clean (reactors and flow control only) save file:
Save File

Flow control should be listed as a requirement for this mod. I really can't see how maximum throughput could be achieved with just small pumps.
Thanks for the save file. I went through it and put my spin on it. Its a little (ok very) messy. EDIT: Broken by latest update

Primarily i made a group of 4 up north and made the reactors failure tolerant.

They only pump water in when less than 200 to avoid gridlock during a shutdown
They only pump out when the temp is 100 and ready for the steam engines.
Both towers will cool when the core is at 150+ or during shutdown
They each have their own backup solar and batteries to run them during a shutdown
They also have power switches which isolate them from the main network in the event of a shutdown and also keep them isolated until the generators are running again

With all this they can recover themselves from an overload, although if the condition still exists they will just overload again. Cant do much about that, but at least once you fix it (probably reducing power load or adding more power supply) it will come back on its own.I can only make it happen if you cut off water supply or overload the network and they cant keep up.

I started working on the messy processing which seems to be working ok, but i am making a ton of DU. At this point i have a train car scooping the excess and driving it a short distance to a waste dump...which is strangely appropriate for this type of power.
Last edited by AlphaLima on Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by GotLag » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:01 pm

Updated.
  • Added steam turbines. The water consumption and power output of 25 base steam engines in one package.
  • Adjusted fuel cycle. Plutonium is now produced by reprocessing spent fuel, which allows production of limited amounts before unlocking breeder technology.
  • Changed fuel icons. Uranium (and products) now are cylindrical instead of cubes so as not to be confused with solid fuel, and enriched fuel is now a brighter green so as to be more easily distinguished from spent fuel.
  • Corrected errors in control script. No longer consumes extra fuel on starting a new load cycle, corrected bug in heat exchange algorithm that led to instability with low reactor mass settings.
It appears that it is possible to reliably produce 100°C output, in just two steps:
  1. Ensure the reactor and its attached pumps are all in the same chunk (thick black lines when you turn on the grid using the F4 menu)
  2. Build the hot water output pumps (i.e. from the reactor to the steam engines) before the cold water input pumps
This is because the order in which fluid entities update flow and temperature is based first on the chunk they are in, and then on the order they were built.

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Re: [0.14] Reactors

Post by AlphaLima » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:40 am

Awesome. Although it looks like this and Nuclar are not compatible if you have researched Nuclar first. Nuclar has fuel reprossessing first and it appears i cant get it to work with Reactors. The Reactors repro shows researched but it dosent show up in the factory menus. On a new game it work fine even with both installed, as long as Reactors is used first.

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