Sea-based nuclear power stations

2014-05-04

in Economics, Geek stuff, Politics, Science, The environment

Sea-based nuclear power stations would offer some advantages over the terrestrial sort:

For one thing, they could take advantage of two mature and well-understood technologies: light-water nuclear reactors and the construction of offshore platforms… The structures would be built in shipyards using tried-and-tested techniques and then towed several miles out to sea and moored to the sea floor…

Offshore reactors would help overcome the increasing difficulty of finding sites for new nuclear power stations. They need lots of water, so ideally should be sited beside an ocean, lake or river. Unfortunately, those are just the places where people want to live, so any such plans are likely to be fiercely opposed by locals.

Another benefit of being offshore is that the reactor could use the sea as an “infinite heat sink”… The core of the reactor, lying below the surface, could be cooled passively without relying on pumps driven by electricity, which could fail…

At the end of its service life, a floating nuclear power station could be towed to a specially equipped yard where it could be more easily dismantled and decommissioned. This is what happens to nuclear-powered ships.

The article mentions the Akademik Lomonosov, a Russian ship-based nuclear power system with an output of 70 megawatts. It uses the same kind of reactors that power the Taymyr-class icebreakers. Unfortunately, several such stations are intended to provide power for offshore oil and gas development.

The earliest floating nuclear power station went critical in 1967, inside the hull of a Liberty ship. It provided 10 megawatts to the Panama Canal Zone from 1968 to 1975.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

. May 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm

See also:

Russian floating nuclear power station
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

. November 10, 2016 at 3:58 pm

CGN starts construction of offshore reactor

Construction of China’s first floating nuclear power plant has officially begun, China General Nuclear (CGN) announced. The demonstration unit is expected to be completed by 2020.

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