Systems and cost analysis for a Nuclear Subterrene Tunneling Machine. A preliminary study Page: 4 of 25
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SYSTEMS & COST ANALYSIS FV)R A NUCLEAR SUBTREENE TUNNELING MACHINE
- A PRELIMINARY STUDY -
J. H. Altseimer
The basic system components of large rock-melting Nuclear Subterrene
Tunneling Machines (NSTMs) have been conceptualized and defined for a prelim-
inary tunneling cost estimate and comparison with costs using tunnel-boring
machines (TBMs) and other conventional tunneling techniques. T'wo initin
types of NST4s are considered: T peripheral kerf-melting penetrators
plus centrally located rotary cutters for soft ground and rock; and Tye II
kerf-melting penetrators plus multiple, hot ruck-fracturing penetrators fo,
very hard rock. Tunneling costs for NSTIs are very close to those for TBMs,
If operating conditions for TEMs are favorable. However, for variable forma-
tions and unfavorable conditions such as soft, vet, bouldery ground or very
hard rock, the NSTh'a are far more effective. Estimates of cost and percent-
age use of NSTMW to satisfy U.S. transportation tunnel demands indicate a
potential cost savings of 850 million dollars (1969 dollars) through 1990.
An estimated NSTM prototype demonstration program cost of $100 million over
an eight-year period results in a favorable benefit-to-cost ratio of 8.5.
The NSTM systems are characterized by large capital costs compared to conven-
tional TBM. However, many higher-cost items and components are expected to
have long service lives and will be used for more than one tunnel project
instead of writing off the tunneler after each project as in current TBM
practice. The cost of thermal energy for rock melting is not a large
percentage of the total project cost.
I. IWMIR0 CTIRN
A. Study Objectives
The general study objective, considering the
present early stage of Subterrene concept develop-
ment, was to establish a clear indication of the
cost effectiveness of Nuclear Subterrene Tunneling
Machines (NSTs ) as applied to national demands
for large tunnels. Tb achieve the above, three
specific objectives were established: first, to
develop technically sound conceptual designs; sec-
ond, to make a cost comparison with the conceptual
NSWY on the one hand and tunneling with Tunnel
Boring Maehines (TEns) and conventional excavation
methods, on the other; and third, to determine the
benefit-to-cost ratio for a projected major
Subterrene development program costing ~ $100 x 106
over an e giaa-year period.
B. Subterrene Program Backgro.md
The need for innovative approaches to the solu-
tion of major problems in excavation and tunneling
technology has been summarized in recent publica-
tions by the Underground Construction Research
Council and the National Academy of Sciences.1,2
A research and development program in excavation
technology, based on rock-melting, is being conduct-
ed at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL).3,
In addition to identifying many potential applica-
tions, this program has indicated that the Subter-
rene concept cen offer, through an integrated tun-
neling system, solutions to the multiple problems
in the three Important areas of conventional
. Forming the hole.
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Altseimer, J.H. Systems and cost analysis for a Nuclear Subterrene Tunneling Machine. A preliminary study, report, September 1, 1973; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1033181/m1/4/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.