May 4, 2010
The Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion program researched and developed two main systems of nuclear powered jet engines. The Direct Air Cycle program was the first of these. Developed by General Electric, this facet of the program was based in Evendale, Ohio. The Direct Air Cycle program was popular because it was simple, reliable and suitable and the engines were able to start quickly. It worked by letting compressed air run through the reactor of a conventional jet engine where it could be heated before being exhausted through the turbine. The X-39 engine was produced by this program and it proved to be highly successful with several upgrades made to the system at later stages. The final HTRE-3 would have most likely been used to power the X-6 nuclear propulsion aircraft if the project hadn’t been scrapped.
Helen Caldicott’s latest antinuke book searingly debunks the claim that the impending “nuclear power renaissance,” purported by some to be the only answer to global warming, is “clean and green.”