ON THIS WIKI
The Nuclear Reactor is a block added by IndustrialCraft2. It is a method of generating EU or alternatively Steam via the heating of Coolant. The initial investment of resources is not a small one and, increasing the output of a reactor requires even larger investments.
The main reactor chamber is formed by the Nuclear Reactor itself as well as any attached Reactor Chambers. This is where heat is transferred if not drawn away by a component.
Heat is produced by the Uranium Cells in a reactor. Every tick, the cells will produce heat proportional to the number of cells and Neutron Reflectors next to them. Therefore, placing more cells close together will generate more heat, as will Dual and Quad Uranium Cells.
Not to be confused with EU ticks, the reactor tick occurs every second. Power and heat output are calculated once every reactor tick.
Pulses are produced by Uranium Cells in an active Nuclear Reactor once per tick, generating heat and energy. Additional pulses may occur per cell if there are additional cells or Neutron Reflectors next to one another, generating more energy and improved efficiency.
A cycle is defined by the amount of time that it takes for a set of new Uranium Cells to deplete inside of a functioning Nuclear Reactor. This is equal to 2 hours 47 minutes and 38 seconds real-time. This time isn't reduced by the number of Pulses applied to an active cell (i.e. a Quad-Uranium Cell won't finish three times faster than a standalone Cell would).
Setups for direct EU Generation
A freshly placed Nuclear Reactor has an internal GUI that can be accessed by right clicking on the reactor without a Wrench tool in your hand. Initially, there will only be 3 columns of 6 to work with with each space accepting a single component. As more Reactor Chambers are attached to the outside of the reactors' "core", touching the top, bottom, and/or one to four of the other side facings, the GUI will gain another column of internal space per chamber attached allowing for bigger builds.
At a minimum, the reactor requires one Uranium Cell and one Heat Vent side by side in the GUI in order to produce any EU. The reactor block or one of its attached chambers must also be in direct contact with a powered redstone signal, such as a lever placed directly on the reactor/chamber or a powered line of redstone leading straight into the reactor block or one of the chambers. Once powered, the Uranium Cell inside will begin to produce EU and Heat, the former of which should be wired off to a storage block or energy network, while the heat is dissipated via the vent. In this mode, the amount of EU obtained from running the reactor is cut by 50%.
***Further breakdown of heat generation to follow at a later time***
Setups for indirect EU Generation: Steam
A more advanced method of using the Nuclear Reactor entails a reactor with all six chambers attached, several Reactor Pressure Vessel blocks, Coolant, Liquid Heat Exchangers, a Steam Generator, Kinetic Steam Generators, and a Condenser.
Handling Uranium Cells of any size, Mox Fuel Rods or RTG Pellets without proper protection is very ill advised due to a debuff it places on the player called "Radiation". The duration of the debuff will only begin to countdown after the player drops the items onto the ground, places them in a chest or they put on a full Hazmat Suit consisting of a Scuba Helmet, Rubber Boots, Hazmat Suit Chest and, the Hazmat Suit Leggings. Placing the offending items into a Containment Box will also cause the debuff to start falling off. However, it should be noted that the Radiation debuff is capable of killing a player even with a normal 10 second duration AND that the debuff can achieve higher durations than that the longer one holds onto the radioactive material without protection.
As mentioned above, Reactors produce heat. If said heat isn't properly removed from the reactor while it is active, then the internal temperature will reach a critical point (100%) where you no longer have a reactor, but instead have a new hole in the ground that used to be your workshop/home/cave. Keeping a reactor running at heat neutral (the reactor vents as much heat as it produces) or in a heat deficit (the reactor can vent more heat than is being produced) are the best two options available to avoid this. While the former can be difficult to calculate, the latter is easily done by adding a few extra cooling elements to the GUI.
Once heated in a reactor, the now hot coolant that is pulled from it is, well, just that: hot. So hot in fact, that if any were to be placed on the map and touched by a player, they would be set on fire as a result. When running a heat reactor, if at any point the GUI shows that you have no blue coolant present in the reactor and there is hot coolant present, then do not break open the pressure vessel cube as the hot coolant will escape, searing the pixelated flesh off of anything unfortunate enough to touch it...
The IndustrialCraft Reactor Planner v3 is a Java web application that simulates the behavior of the IndustrialCraft2 Nuclear Reactor. It provides a means to develop and test reactor designs without the risks of explosion, and provides instant results over what might be possible in a Creative world:
WARNING: The Reactor Planner is sorely out of date with regards to Gregtech; any designs including Thorium or Plutonium are not accurately simulated! In addition to this, the planner does not reflect the changes to EU generation while using a standard reactor setup without a pressure chamber. The heat generation simulations however are close enough to use as a guide to see where components may melt, or if the reactor can make a full cycle without having to be shut down to cool.