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This is a 'duh' Halfbake.
Today Japan announced that they will soon be permanently
decommissioning the country's sole remaining nuclear power
generator. This saddens me, because, unlike some people, I view
nuclear reactors as relatively 'clean' and see the widespread
them as overly reactionary and based on small
handful of high-profile incidents. This unwarranted public outcry
leads to the elimination of existing reactors and overwhelming
resistance to the development and implementation of emerging
3rd- and 4th-generation technologies, many of which promise
dramatically increased efficiency coupled with the reduction or
elimination of the risk of meltdown or release of harmful
The idea is simply to locate an entire 2nd-generation power plant
on a large floating platform and to tether it (using very strong
elastic mooring lines) at the center of a very wide and deep
artificial reservoir. This tank will be isolated from other bodies of
water and the local water table, preferably by simply locating it
above the water table. It will have walls shielded with the same
components found surrounding fuel rod containment pools. It will
not be a part of the reactor's cooling system except under the
extreme circumstances (see below).
In the event of an earthquake, the floating powerplant rides out
waves like a ship on the open ocean; the tethers are adjusted to
allow some freedom of motion without letting it get near the
or capsize. If the earthquake harms the walls of the reservoir,
water will of course drain out, but the reactor will simply float
down and come to rest on the bottom like a ship sitting in
The wall rupture will be repaired, and the reactor will be re-
In the event of a catastrophic internal failure (the much-dreaded
'China Syndrome'), appropriate emergency measures will be taken
and the plant evacuated while the floating hull is scuttled. It will
sink to the bottom of the reservoir, cooling and shielding the
reactor long enough for a containment dome to be moved into
place overhead and tightly sealed. Robotic submersibles will then
be used to see what can be done to arrest or further contain the
runaway reactor. If need be, the entire pit can even be sealed
with lead-impregnated concrete or what have you.
Floating nuclear plants already exist; they sail the high seas
day, yet nobody seems to mind. Why not simply bring the
technology ashore and stop all this irrational panic that threatens
the use of a valuable transitional power source?
I Got Your Nuclear Reactor Right Here
[theircompetitor, May 05 2012]
||[theircomp], the 'bake in your link turned up in my pre-
bake search (I think I'd seen it before anyway), but I
thought about it for a while and decided that, because
that 'bake and every link attached to it proposed
something moored in the ocean rather than purpose-built
and self-contained, that my own idea was
different enough to stand alone. In retrospect, I do wish I'd
linked to it myself in acknowledgement of prior art.
||<later> Title changed to make the distinction more clear.
||[+] but I think we've discussed this before, possibly in an idea generated right after Japan, ie: use a landlocked body of water as shock absorber.
||There still needs to be redesign to allow for some acceleration forces, for instance if there's a high wind, stuff like that.
||Or they could just make an agreement with canada
to put plants up north. 90% of canadians dwell in
the southernmost areas of our provinces, which
thousands of kms of land going virtually unused. I
imagine one could turn the top half of our country
into a giant nuclear reactor and no one would ever
be the wiser.
||A generous offer, but it raises the issue of transmission
cost. The best place for a power plant is relatively near
where the power will be consumed. This post is a feeble
attempt to address the groundless NIMBYism that is
keeping us from exploiting a lucrative existing technology,
easing a terrible burden whilst developing whatever comes
||I agree that nuclear energy is the only long-term
option available for night-time power generation.
||However, the idea that we have anywhere near the
technology to safely shield a broken reactor for the
lifetime of the fuel rods is simply laughable. We think
100 years is a long time. The half-life of U235 is 704
||I would like to know where you are going to store the nuclear waste in your floating nuclear reactor? Are you going to shuttle out in a rubber dinghy to retrieve it? Also, those underwater nuclear reactors, better known as nuclear submarines, have their detractors, but what can you possibly do about it? The only kind of nuclear reactor that should be built is one that eats nuclear waste. I guess only the nuclear proponents are "rational" (even though we don't know what to do with the waste, and it should be included in the cost per kilowatt hour). Why is concern about nuclear energy considered "irrational" when cancers silently rise around even "correctly" functioning plants? Just because an idea seems like a "duh" idea, future generations may beg to differ. "Hey why did those idiots leave their mess for US to clean up?! Didn't they realize fool-proof, terrorist-proof and cost-effective nuclear energy was a pipe dream?"
||As for storage, it will be handled exactly with a non-
floating plant. This is an entire nuclear power generation
facility, only built on a barge and floating in a giant
radiation-shielded swimming pool. Under non-emergency
circumstances, a large retractable gangway would allow
access; any spent rods that need to be relocated will be
driven off with trucks.
||Yes, a breeder-reactor would be ideal. I'm all for
coprophagic nuke plants.
||My advocacy of nuclear power is as a transitional measure.
It's not a great option, but it's the best one we have right
now, so why not use the hell out of it while we're coming
up with something better, instead of letting a few isolated
incidents that have been blown way out of proportion by
sensationalist press and uninformed NIMBYers put us back
in the petrocarbon stone age? Nuclear waste is nasty shit,
but there's not anywhere near as much of it generated per
Mw as there is soot and CO2 from coal or gas turbines.
Furthermore, it's perfectly containable. I've performed
repairs on a boxcar loaded with spent fuel; I spent 7 hours
within 10' of properly shielded uranium, and there wasn't a
trace on my dosimeter.
||I see nuclear power as a much-maligned and underutilized
means to an end, not as an end itself. This 'bake is just a
proposal for making it a little safer. Maybe.