Nuclear power

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Nuclear Power is a method of energy generation. It uses nuclear fuel to produce heat, which is usually transformed into electricity.

Nuclear power has been considered as the preferred energy source for most plans for medium- to long-term human expeditions to Mars. It does not depend on weather conditions.

The availability of radioactive resources on Mars is unclear. Due to the vast effort of the nuclear enrichment process the nuclear fuel must be brought from Earth, preventing the settlement from being independent from Earth.

The maintenance effort of a legacy nuclear power station requires a huge staff. However, due to Russian plans to build a fully self-contained device on Mars the required maintenance staff comprises only 6 engineers.


Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (abbr.: RTG) are simple devices. They produce a heat difference, transformed by a thermocouple to electrical energy. The maintenance effort is low. However, RTGs do not provide enough power for a base.

Nuclear reactor

In a nuclear reactor the heat boils water to steam. Turbines are driven by the steam's pressure, spinning a dynamo to generate electric energy.

Nuclear heating

Heating greenhouses and other buildings may be done indirectly by the heat of the nuclear fission. The heat can be transported in pipes from the reactor to the buildings. Heat exchangers avoid nuclear pollution of the buildings.

Open issues

  • What sort of nuclear fuel is needed?
  • How long can the described nuclear power stations work without replenishment of nuclear fuel?
  • What is known about nuclear resources on Mars?

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