Saturday, January 17, 2009

Soviet Atomic Lighthouses

From Dinosaurs and Robots comes a story about nuclear powered autonomous lighthouses which existed (and maybe still do exist) during the cold war. I imagined a couple of great Tom Clancyish adventure tales or even a post apocalyptic monster story where a group of adventurers try to aquire this kind of technology for good or ill. The movie poster just draws itself.

"Soviet Union decided to build a chain of lighthouses to guide ships finding their way in the dark polar night across uninhabited shores of the Soviet Russian Empire. So it has been done and a series of such lighthouses has been erected. They had to be fully autonomous, because they were situated hundreds and hundreds miles aways from any populated areas. After reviewing different ideas on how to make them work for a years without service and any external power supply, Soviet engineers decided to implement atomic energy to power up those structures. So, special lightweight small atomic reactors were produced in limited series to be delivered to the Polar Circle lands and to be installed on the lighthouses. Those small reactors could work in the independent mode for years and didn’t require any human interference, so it was very handy in the situation like this. It was a kind of robot-lighthouse which counted itself the time of the year and the length of the daylight, turned on its lights when it was needed and sent radio signals to near by ships to warn them on their journey. It all looks like ran out the sci-fi book pages, but so they were."

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