, I agree with that interpretation of how the power systems were intended to work, but too many people seem to prefer putting a "warp core" into the old ships. The energy released from the matter/antimatter reactions was so powerful that it shown through the otherwise opaque endcaps like Christmas lights through plastic. Or the endcaps were made of a material that shifted dangerous, high frequency electromagnetic radiation down to visible light to reduce the reactor's risk to crew in the primary hull. And the intention seems obvious when you look at the refit. The reactor is now housed in the belly of the ship itself, and those glowing domes are gone. Instead, the closest thing to them is now located on the primary hull, at the top of the linear intermix shaft. And suddenly engineering crew are running around with radiation suits on!
Honestly, right up until Star Trek: The Motion Picture
, I think the intent was the original ship put the reactors out on the pods until the refit. But some time after that movie, probably around the time of The Next Generation
, the idea crept in that those domes were Bussard collectors and every starship, including those from the 23rd century, had to have a warp core in the ship's bowels. All the later artwork shows the domes as Bussard collectors -- including the upcoming Haynes
You're gonna have a tough time arguing for that these days. I support you, but you'll have a better chance convincing folks the last Star Trek
film was a lousy movie. The only place I'd argue is that dilithium crystals were obviously needed to use warp drive, too. Your diagram would indicate that even without crystals, the ship could initiate warp, but I believe the original show directly contradicts that in several episodes.