Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Nuclear Powered Train Sets Speed Record

Well, yes but not quite. I'll explain in a bit. Here's the story from the AP:

A French train with a 25,000-horsepower engine and special wheels broke the world speed record Tuesday for conventional rail trains, reaching 357.2 mph as it zipped through the countryside to the applause of spectators.

Roaring like a jet plane, with sparks flying overhead and kicking up a long trail of dust, the black-and-chrome V150 with three double-decker cars surpassed the record of 320.2 mph set in 1990 by another French train.

It fell short, however, of beating the ultimate record set by Japan's magnetically levitated train, which hit 361 mph in 2003.

The French TGV, or "train a grande vitesse," as the country's bullet train is called, had two engines on either side of the three double- decker cars for the record run, some 125 miles east of the capital on a new track linking Paris with Strasbourg.

Aboard the V150, the sensation was comparable to that of an airplane at takeoff.

The demonstration was meant to showcase technology that France is trying to sell to the multibillion-dollar overseas markets such as China. Hours before the run, Transport Minister Dominique Perben received a California delegation, including state assembly speaker Fabian Nunez. The state is studying prospects for a high-speed line from Sacramento to San Diego, via San Francisco and Los Angeles.

People lined bridges and clapped and cheered when as the V150 roared by.
Now, does the TGV have a nuclear powered engine? Of course not, but it is powered by electricity, and France gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy.

Remember that the next time an anti-nuke says that nuclear energy won't play any role in reducing emissions from transportation.

5 comments:

Robert Synnott said...

I assume that the next story will be about the powering up of the LHC at CERN, the nuclear powered particle accelerator (as opposed to those clunky old coal-fired particle accelerators in Britain and the US. :)

Anonymous said...

Eric:

Do you mind if I steal this story in the future?

-NNadir.

Brian Mays said...

Maybe, maybe not. Does the LHC do 350 mph?

Eric McErlain said...

NNadir:

Please feel free to steal whatever you like.

Eric

metaphysicalmama said...

It is interesting your story and I keep hearing the comparison to the Japanese Maglev train. The main difference also comes down to cost. The Maglev is much more expensive and considered by some to not be as safe because of the rail structure.

Here's another photo of the TGV in case anybody's interested. It's by a self-proclaimed "friendly Parisian (yes, it does exist)" who posts a photo a day of Paris.

By the way, the company that builds the TGV, Alstom also develops energy through it's Power Sectors and just signed a deal to develop nuclear power with a Russian company. Coincidence?