Nuclear marine propulsion is propulsion of a ship or submarine with heat provided by a nuclear power plant. The power plant heats water, to produce steam and it is this steam that powers the steam turbines and turbo generators. The power is then transferred to a gearbox that reduces the ratio by around 50 to 1 and this powers the propulsor. Naval nuclear propulsion is propulsion that specifically refers to naval warships (see Nuclear navy). Very few experimental civil nuclear ships have been built.
Basic operation of naval ship or submarine
The ship or submarine will be fitted with one nuclear power plant. The plant has two sides port and starboard. These sides provide a safety net should one side be affected by an accident or incident of some kind like for example a fire. The plant uses water to transfer heat generated by the power plant to the steam generators [basically large kettles the heating element uses heat provided by the primary circuit from the power plant]. This heat is around 250 to 300 degrees Celsius. Water will turn to steam at 100 degrees C so the system is pressurised to prevent this from happening. To transfer the heated water there are 2 sets of pumps on each side.