Feeds

MIT boffins moot tsunami-proof floating nuke power plants

What could go wrong with that?

Boost IT visibility and business value

Boffins at MIT have mooted a new concept for nuclear power plants which would see the entire facility towed several miles out to sea and moored in a similar way to offshore oil and gas platforms.

The proposals would see nuke power plants built in shipyards and then moored or anchored a few miles off the coast, linked to the electric grid with a "transmission line".

In the video below explaining the concept , associate professor of nuclear science and engineering (NSE) Jacopo Buongiorno, said the design would “revolutionise” the industry in terms both of economics and safety.

The safety benefits include the fact that the plant could use the ocean as an “infinite heat sink” in the event of Fukushima-style problems to avoid a meltdown, he said.

“The decay heat, which is generated by the nuclear fuel even after the reactor is shutdown, can be removed indefinitely,” explained Buongiorno.

Secondly, tsunamis and earthquakes would no longer be a “source of risk” as they were in north-east Japan in 2011 because “essentially the ocean shields the seismic waves, and the tsunami waves in relatively deep water … are not that big”, he argues.

Finally, if the floating nuclear plant did encounter problems its location would ensure that no nearby residents would need to be evacuated from their homes. Any radioactive gases released could also be “vented” underwater to further reduce risk, he claimed.

Japanese officials last year admitted that some of the 160,000 evacuees displaced by the Fukushima nuclear disaster may never be allowed to return home because of high radiation levels.

Buongiorno said that MIT is currently working with other universities and industry to develop the concept.

He referenced the fact that Russia is currently developing a floating nuclear power plant of its own but said it was not designed to be moored miles offshore.

There's also a floating nuclear plant in the US, although the MH-1A reactor was formally deactivated in 1978.

This week it was announced that the Sturgis, the vessel it sits on, will be towed to Galveston, Texas, where the dismantling and decommissioning will begin in earnest.

Buongiorno says offshore platforms used for oil and gas exploration and extraction are a good technology platform for floating reactors. That offshore rigs sink from time time to time isn't discussed. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?