Friday Firepower: Nuclear powered concept, the Convair NB-36H a.k.a. Peacemaker (26 HQ Photos)

The NB-36H carried a 3 megawatt, air-cooled nuclear reactor in its bomb bay. The reactor, named the Aircraft Shield Test Reactor (ASTR), was operational but did not power the plane. Water, acting as both moderator and coolant, was pumped through the reactor core and then to water-to-air heat exchangers to dissipate the heat to the atmosphere. Its sole purpose was to investigate the effect of radiation on aircraft systems.
To shield the flight crew, the nose section of the aircraft was modified to include a 12-ton lead and rubber shield. The standard windshield was replaced with one made of 6-inch–thick acrylic glass. The amount of lead and water shielding was variable. Measurements of the resulting radiation levels were then compared with calculated levels to enhance the ability to design optimal shielding with minimum weight for nuclear-powered bombers.

  • Stan_Dalone

    So I wonder what was the result of the tests. Nice pictures of the bomber though

  • etcrr

    very cool pics of an extremely rare aircraft

  • Kodos

    Back when the atom was our friend.

    The B-36 was called the "Peacemaker" for a reason.

    And when #20 delivers her payload… devastating.

  • jared

    incredible pics!

  • - Seriously Cool - NB36: world's first nuclear aircraft Berreaktor -

    […] original report by WIKI Pic By TheBrigade [Show as slideshow] […]

  • Dezza

    B36 what a plane! so big it had to be built at an angle on rails in the fort worth plant pic 1 An old film well worth watching is Strategic Air Command,with jimmy stewart lots of noise and film inside and out. The Russians actually built a bomber that was powered by a reactor, A version of the Masaiychev m50 Bounder .Trouble was they didnt care much about the crews protection so no lead linings from the rads.and god knows what pollution it kicked out . From what I remember seeing about it there was only one of the guys who flew it still alive the rest went down with raditaion sickess and other nasties needless to say it was cancelled.

  • olly

    12 ton nose… are you sure about that?

  • Lubgame

    B-36 is impressed me

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