The program works.... but it is still in the early stages of development. Many features have yet to be implemented. It runs under Windows, versions 3.1 and higher, including XP. You can get it from my offers page. (The link to the offers page will open in a new tab.)
Enjoy! Tom Boyd
You are in charge of a nuclear power station. The object of the game is to see how much electricity you can generate. If you over-stress the power station, you will wreck it. If you 'play safe' too much, the power you generate will be wimpish.
You directly control three things. Indirectly, they affect the other critical elements. For each of the things you control, you can set them to 'off' (0% 'on'), or maximum (100% on), or anything in between. The settings are expressed as percents of 'full power'.
There are four parts to the power station:
A closed loop carrying a liquid connects the reactor and the heat exchanger. It is like the 'loop' carrying water from the boiler to the radiators (and back) in a house's heating system. [A leak in your home is bad. A leak at a power station is worse... especially if the liquid in the system is hot sodium- as is sometimes the case.]
The reactor is there to make heat. (The rest of the power station is similar to an oil or coal fired station.) The first of the three things you control directly are the 'control rods'. Pull them 100% out, and you get maximum heat generation. Push them fully in ('0%' setting) and heat production will stop... eventually. The reactor 'coasts to a stop' rather than ceasing heat production the instant the rods go in.
The second thing you control is the 'primary pump'. It moves the liquid in the loop between the reactor and the heat exchanger. The higher you set it, the more heat you move. (It is important in all of this to realize that 'heat' and 'temperature' are not the same thing. A teaspoon of water at 25 degrees has a higher temperature, but less heat than a bathtub of water at 20 degrees.)
At the heat exchanger, heat (but no radioactive contaminants.... we hope!) moves from the liquid in the primary loop (already described) to the liquid in the secondary loop. The secondary loop goes from the heat exchanger to the turbine to the cooling tower and back. There is a pump for the secondary loop... this is the last of the three things you control. How much electricity you make depends on two things: How much hot water you are pumping through the secondary loop, and how great the difference is between the temperature of the water arriving at the turbine and leaving the cooling tower.
The subtlety that makes the game challenging is that almost every action has two effects... one helpful, one unhelpful. For example- suppose the heat exchanger is getting too hot. To cure this, you could turn down the setting for the primary loop's pump. This would bring less heat to the exchanger (good), but it would lead to a buildup of heat in the reactor (bad).
This program may seem familiar to you. Years ago, I typed out a Basic program from somewhere, and have used that with pupils from 10-18 for many years. I think it was in Ahl's excellent book, which I remember as 'Simulations for Science and Social Studies'. (If anyone still has a copy of that, or can confirm the title, I'd love to hear from you... visit my website for contact information)
This program, while inspired by the other, was written from scratch, without reference to the other program's code.
At the moment, I have more than enough enhancements in mind for this. However, if you encounter anything which seems just plain wrong in the current limited version, or if it misbehaves in some way, please let me know so I can try to remove the problem. Please quote the version ID of the program, which you will find in the 'About' panel.
If you enjoy this, there are other things... better things... written by me available at my websites. I would appreciate a postcard to me at TK Boyd, PO Box 367, Essex, CT, 06426, USA (or an email) if you are enjoying this. It will help me know which of my products is of greatest interest to my customers, so that I can spend my development time on the things that most interest you.
I hope you get pleasure from this... but also, please give a little thought to the wisdom of our age in building the nuclear plants. You do realize that there were several other plants of the same design as Chernobyl still operating as of September 1997? And still today, I wouldn't be surprised. That Chernobyl 'only' blew up in a chemical sense, not a nuclear sense... but that it was mainly dumb luck which saved us from the vastly more serious accident? What do we do with the waste being generated? What will the result be when a terrorist finally involves a nuclear plant in some atrocity? (This question first posed here in 1997.)
Snailmail- TK Boyd, PO Box 367, Essex, CT, 06426, USA
If you found this useful, please visit my shareware "store" Sheepdog Software's Freeware & Shareware... and maybe even tell others of it?
Looking for email, domain registration, or web site hosting? If you visit 1&1's site from here, it helps me. They host my website, and I wouldn't put this link up for them if I wasn't happy with their service. They offer things for the beginner and the corporation.
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