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Small Nuclear Power Plants To Dot the Arctic Circle

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the ubiquitous-radioactive-polar-bears dept.

Power 255

Vincent West writes with news of a Russian project currently underway to populate the Arctic Circle with 70-megawatt, floating nuclear power plants. Russia has been planning these nuclear plants for quite some time, with construction beginning on the prototype in 2007. It's due to be finished next year, and an agreement was reached in February to build four more. According to the Guardian: "The 70-megawatt plants, each of which would consist of two reactors on board giant steel platforms, would provide power to Gazprom, the oil firm which is also Russia's biggest company. It would allow Gazprom to power drills needed to exploit some of the remotest oil and gas fields in the world in the Barents and Kara seas. The self-propelled vessels would store their own waste and fuel and would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years."

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255 comments

Only one problem.... (4, Funny)

Aklarr (1463653) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805517)

What if killer penguins decided to attack these floating nuke stations and because of that developed mutant powers? :P

Re:Only one problem.... (5, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805661)

What if killer penguins decided to attack these floating nuke stations and because of that developed mutant powers?

It would be quite a mutation, to allow them to swim 20000km from the Antarctic to the Arctic...

Re:Only one problem.... (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805841)

What if they were liberated from a laboratory by some geographically challenged animal-rights activists? It's not as unlikely as you think.

Re:Only one problem.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27806221)

Oh my god... Prinny squad go!!

Move along citizen (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805521)

Nothing can possibly go wrong.

No maintenance? (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805695)

Of course, TFA may have got it wrong, but "The self-propelled vessels would store their own waste and fuel and would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years" sounds quite impossible. Perhaps they mean it would need to be refueled once every 12 to 14 years.

Other than spacecraft there aren't many systems that can run 12 years unattended. To make things worse, there's the extreme climate conditions. Right, what can possibly go wrong?

Re:No maintenance? (3, Insightful)

erayd (1131355) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805763)

The very fact that there are spacecraft capable of that says it's not an impossibility. Expensive maybe, but certainly possible.

Re:No maintenance? (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805855)

Well, one can explode and wipe out the polar bears for good. :-/

We won't be happy 'til bears don't come in that color anymore I guess.

Re:No maintenance? (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805929)

Seems like the particular extreme (cold) is ideal for something that might need supplemental/emergency cooling, eg, a nuclear reactor.

How is this any less safe than nuclear powered subs/carriers? In fact, if Russia has excess nuclear subs, I wonder why not just drive a few of them out there and use them instead of building something else.

Re:No maintenance? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805935)

Perhaps it's to offload the sent nuclear fuel, to bring to a more populated section of the world?

But the concerns are unfounded. Only one Russian nuclear plant has leaked large amounts of radioactivity, and only one Russian sub has killed all the sailors aboard. (At least those are the only ones in the Western press.)

And these unmanned nukes can't be hijacked because they will have a big "Do not disturb" sign on them. (They will borrow the ones used by the ships off Somalia.)

Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805525)

in 10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... now!

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805593)

In Soviet Russia, evil Russians rant against YOU!

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (4, Insightful)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805641)

To be fair the Russians do not have a spotless record in nuclear health and safety. Or for that matter health and safety in any form.

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (1, Informative)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805773)

Oh really? Who told you that?

The only serious nuclear incident in USSR history, Chernobyl, happened in Ukraine, and was a result of combination of idiocy never seen before or after it anywhere near a nuclear installation. In fact, this amount of mishandling would cause a meltdown of any reactor, even one that is supposed to be completely "meltdown-proof", or a similarly disastrous incident on a non-nuclear facility such as chemical plant or oil refinery.

The rest is pretty much the same as in any other country that did any kind of development related to nuclear weapons or nuclear energy -- US included.

You are horribly misinformed. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805953)

They had a number of nuclear submarine "incidents" that were kept secret by the Soviets - and those are just the ones that were leaked. Considering how secretive communist regimes are, who knows how many nuclear accidents, land or sea, the Soviets had.

Look it up for yourself. I don't do others research, sorry.

Re:You are horribly misinformed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805987)

Er... when you're asserting that your understanding is the correct one, finding supporting evidence is your research, not the person you're trying to enlighten's.

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27806089)

Oh really?

Yes, really.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Karachay
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novaya_Zemlya
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Peninsula
HTH,
HAND

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (1)

Rungi (1098221) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806199)

Don't worry this is a fast track to melting the ice caps, so I'm buying beach front property in the Sahara, Death Valley, and Gobi deserts. =) I'm thinking perhaps they watched too many reruns of Total Recall.

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (3, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805709)

What's so evil about their powering their industry with a carbon-free energy? I think this is awesome! I only wish that the electricity were going to people rather than to digging up more fossil fuels. Yuck!

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (1, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805757)

Like another poster said, oil will be still needed ~300 years from now even if we make our cars run on hydrogen/electricity/solar/etc. to make plastics, etc. Then there is the fact that more oil = lower oil prices = cheaper gas, which we can all agree is a good thing until alternative cars become reliable/affordable. Then there is the fact that oddly enough, Russia is friendlier towards the USA than most middle eastern countries so honestly Russian oil is better then oil from the middle east.

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805879)

If we didn't have any oil, we could simply make it by using energy to combine carbon and hydrogen atoms. We don't do that now, because to get the energy to do so would probably mean burning some sort of fossil fuel. Because the process would be less than 100% efficient, we would burn hydrocarbons to generate a smaller amount of hydrocarbons. It's more efficient to simply use the hydrocarbons that we already have directly.

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806239)

Why not use solar/nuclear power to power this process?

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806361)

Because solar and nuclear power is even more expensive than burning fossil fuels. That's why it's been so hard to switch to alternative sources of energy -- there isn't much of an economic incentive.

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (5, Insightful)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805883)

No, I don't agree that cheap gas is good. Cheap gas = larger cars = more emissions. Also, cheaper gas = lower price point green alternatives have to compete with. You say "until alternative cars become affordable", but the cheaper gas is, the longer that takes.

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (-1, Flamebait)

arfonrg (81735) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806309)

Same could be said for food...

Cheap food = more people = more emissions/pollution.

Also cheaper food = lower price point that organic alternatives have to compete with.

Do you see how dumb your argument is now?

Re:Ranting against "evil Russians" to commence... (2, Informative)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805891)

There's a reason the oil lobby is so against industrial hemp. It makes better plastic AND better fuel.

ahhh (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805535)

lose control of one of those, and Russia owns all of the arctic. Just kidding.

That is not a bad idea. I have thought that the west should be putting up more small reactors to run things like Manufacturing as well as our electric trains. Do some 10-20 MW next to a maglev or just old fashion hi-speed train like Frances, and you have a fairly efficient none polluting train.

The US Had a bunch of these during the Cold War(?) (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805707)

Heard several places that the US had a bunch of small reactors like this (sort of similar?) They were operated by the Army out west and one failed badly, during the Cold War I think. Turned out it was all due to a bad design and several people died.

Re:The US Had a bunch of these during the Cold War (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805897)

Several people died? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5174391/ [msn.com]

If you have a problem with a nuclear facility and you kill 10 people, that says you're doing it correctly (Chernobyl is doing it wrong).

Re:The US Had a bunch of these during the Cold War (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805981)

Several people died? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5174391/ [msn.com]

If you have a problem with a nuclear facility and you kill 10 people, that says you're doing it correctly (Chernobyl is doing it wrong).

Not sure what attitude that you read into my attempt to be factual from memory and limited facts. I think this is the one I was thinking about [wikipedia.org] and it killed three people. Saw some other articles that sounded a bit questionable in that knee-jerk antinuclear way.

Re:The US Had a bunch of these during the Cold War (3, Interesting)

AllynM (600515) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805917)

There was SL-1:
http://www.radiationworks.com/sl1reactor.htm [radiationworks.com]

They learned the hard way that you should not build a reactor so small that it requires *manual* withdrawal of control rods. By manual I mean a guy hunkered over the core with his hands on the rod itself. End result: said man impaled by said rod - to the ceiling.

Re:The US Had a bunch of these during the Cold War (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806065)

There was SL-1: http://www.radiationworks.com/sl1reactor.htm [radiationworks.com]

They learned the hard way that you should not build a reactor so small that it requires *manual* withdrawal of control rods. By manual I mean a guy hunkered over the core with his hands on the rod itself. End result: said man impaled by said rod - to the ceiling.

Yep, that is the one I was thinking of [slashdot.org] , bad design and all. You beat my by a few :)

Re:The US Had a bunch of these during the Cold War (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806301)

The reactor was not operated by "a guy hunkered over the core with his hands on the rod itself." The rod was manually withdrawn to reconnect it to its control mechanism [wikipedia.org] during a maintenance procedure.

It seems to me they learned the hard way that you shouldn't be yanking on a control rod during a maintenance procedure without having some kind of temporary mechanical stop in place to limit travel.

Re:The US Had a bunch of these during the Cold War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27806413)

Toshiba has automated truck-transportable nuclear reactors they are planning to offer to small towns in Alaska.

Nuclear Power (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805539)

As much as I support the idea of expanding nuclear power something tells me that superheating the water near the ice caps is just going to cause them to melt faster (assuming they are light water reactors which would be the most economical, and that storing their own waste refers to the nuclear kind)... but what do I know I'm a /.'er not a nuclear physicist... oh wait.

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805625)

However you produce it, 70 MW of electrical power is going to have a lot of heat associated with it.

Re:Nuclear Power (4, Informative)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805703)

oh wait what?

The power plant produces 70MW.

Assume that the equivalent of this energy is dissipated as heat.

Sunlight on the Earth surface is on average 164W/m^2, though at polar circle this drops to 80-100W/m^2. Snow at best reflects 90%, absorbing 10%.

70,000,000/(80*0.1)=8,750,000m^2=8.75km^2

So one power plant is an equivalent of sunlight collected over 8.76km^2 area. Arctic ocean is 14,056,000km^2. Power plant increases the amount of heat absorbed in the area by .00006%

Alternatively the same amount of power would have to be produced by the same Gazprom using -- guess what? -- things that Gazprom happens to produce, namely fuel.

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805809)

The thermal efficiency of nuclear power plants is (from what I gather searching on Google) closer to 35% than it is to 100%, so these things are probably dissipating 200 megawatts of heat, at a minimum. There could be design compromises (saving space, things like that) that make them less efficient than that.

The thermal efficiency doesn't really impact the comparison you are making though, even if it were 10% or whatever.

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805895)

I assumed that produced power will be eventually dissipated as heat anyway (even if the source is different, such electricity delivered from somewhere else in a rather unrealistic best case scenario). So that would correspond to 50% efficiency, not 100%. I guess, too optimistic but still close enough.

If the argument was that any energy-consuming development in that area is bad, this would be invalid. However then I would have to compare its impact with similar industrial development elsewhere or other means of obtaining energy that would be produced by fuel extracted in those areas. I doubt that any alternatives would end up being friendlier to environment.

Re:Nuclear Power (4, Insightful)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806143)

More interesting is the fact that Gazprom, firm that has all the fossil fuel at its disposal has opted for this kind of power.

Re:Nuclear Power (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806255)

If the price of fossil fuel keeps going up, there comes a point where nuclear becomes cheaper, even on very small scales such as these. They'd be crazy not to sell the fossil fuel to paying customers, especially the crazy ones like us Brits who are scared of nuclear power.

Nuclear submarines (5, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805553)

"The 70-megawatt plants, each of which would consist of two reactors on board giant steel platforms, would provide power to Gazprom, the oil firm which is also Russia's biggest company. It would allow Gazprom to power drills needed to exploit some of the remotest oil and gas fields in the world in the Barents and Kara seas. The self-propelled vessels would store their own waste and fuel and would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years."

This probably sounds like a serious potential problem to some of the nuclearphobes, but the basic description sounds like they're using nuclear submarine power plants with electrical generators attached to the turbines instead of a screw.

In other words, this sort of thing has been operating safely for about 50 years now.

Re:Nuclear submarines (4, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805601)

That is pretty much the gist of it. Russia has had a few accidents with their reactors, but that was long ago. I have been surprised that Western shipbuilders are not designing new cargo ships with nuclear power. I would think that at this time, it would be considered the cheapest form of shipping down the road. America built a convertable (half cargo-half passenger), and that was ok EXCEPT for several issues.
  1. The price of oil turned cheap.
  2. Captains were insisting on more pay than the nuclear engineer.
  3. It wasted space on passengers.

The west needs some all nuclear ships to ply the route between America and EU (no real chance of pirates) and perhaps across the pacific. This would drop CO2 emissions a great deal.

Re:Nuclear submarines (1)

guy5000 (1211440) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805961)

except that the consequences of a hijacking or attack on the vessel could be a disaster. attacks not a problem for a military vessel but for a boat filled with civilians and maybe some guards bad idea.

Re:Nuclear submarines (1)

bkpark (1253468) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806133)

except that the consequences of a hijacking or attack on the vessel could be a disaster. attacks not a problem for a military vessel but for a boat filled with civilians and maybe some guards bad idea.

Not really. You have to remember that the kind of uranium (only a few percent U-235) that powers a nuclear reactor is different from weapons grade enriched uranium (more than 90% U-235). Chain reaction cannot be produced with such material, although a meltdown that releases the radioactive material into the environment can happen—but how much fuel is a ship going to carry with it?

Pirates can already hijack an oil tanker (or any oil-powered ship) and beach it on some shore and dump the oil to destroy the coast marine life if they wanted.

In fact, to date the most infamous act of terrorism was performed with a transportation "vessel" filled with fossil fuel, not anything containing anything remotely radioactive.

Re:Nuclear submarines (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806399)

Not really. You have to remember that the kind of uranium (only a few percent U-235) that powers a nuclear reactor is different from weapons grade enriched uranium (more than 90% U-235). Chain reaction cannot be produced with such material, although a meltdown that releases the radioactive material into the environment can happen—but how much fuel is a ship going to carry with it?

If you can't produce a chain reaction with the stuff loaded into the reactor, then it's pretty worthless for producing energy. True, you couldn't take it and make a real nuclear weapon, but it would be great for a dirty bomb.

Any terrorist with an ounce of dedication and engineering knowledge could make a big mess with a reactor if they had full control of the vessel long enough. Once the reactor has been operating for any length of time, there's a lot of nasty stuff in there, and if you really tried and knew what you were doing, you could get it out into the local environment.

And it would last a lot longer than the oil spill.

Re:Nuclear submarines (1, Informative)

bkpark (1253468) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806543)

Once the reactor has been operating for any length of time, there's a lot of nasty stuff in there, and if you really tried and knew what you were doing, you could get it out into the local environment.

And it would last a lot longer than the oil spill.

The harms of a little radioactivity has been greatly exaggerated. I wouldn't want to be around the A-bomb (or its fall-out), but there are so many things in nature that are radioactive, that I doubt contents of a single nuclear reactor, dispersed through the ocean, would cause any noticeable harm.

"Dirty bomb" is good for creating panic in the mindless mob, but not for any kind of actual damage. Did you know that your smoke detector in your home contains radioactive material (americium)? And not too long ago, people used plates painted with paint containing uranium, and played around with radium like it's glow-in-the-dark fluorescent paint. Of course, we don't do these things (except smoke detector) any more because, well, routine exposure to significant radioactivity isn't healthy, after all.

But as far as a single disastrous incident goes, dirty bomb's most destructive effect would be the explosive aspect of it, not the radioactive material in it.

I don't doubt the contents of nuclear reactor can be used to kill a few even tens of people. But, for ecological disasters, I would still stick with oil tankers. Even the most harmful radioactive material did come from nature. The real harm is in the vast quantity we can accumulate these things in one place, and this vast quantity is what a nuclear reactor should lack.

Re:Nuclear submarines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27806003)

I guess you haven't heard what the Bermudians do to ships!!!

Re:Nuclear submarines (1)

qWen71n (1176393) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806073)

I have been surprised that Western shipbuilders are not designing new cargo ships with nuclear power.

It's probably a fine idea unless these ships come anywhere close to the Somalia shores.

Re:Nuclear submarines (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806177)

Uranium ore is getting pricey. There has not been a new uranium source found in some time that is profitable.

Re:Nuclear submarines (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806283)

I have been surprised that Western shipbuilders are not designing new cargo ships with nuclear power. I would think that at this time, it would be considered the cheapest form of shipping down the road.

Well, the problem is that it's only the cheapest considerably down the road. The Pentagon (with it's deep pockets) only considers universal nuclear power to be a good deal when oil rises (and remains) above (IIRC) $125/150 a barrel.
 
 

America built a convertable (half cargo-half passenger), and that was ok EXCEPT for several issues.

      1. The price of oil turned cheap.
      2. Captains were insisting on more pay than the nuclear engineer.
      3. It wasted space on passengers.

1. Oil was cheap when they started the design and stayed cheap.
2. Did little to effect the cost of operations.
3. In that era the virtually complete separation between passengers and cargo hadn't quite happened yet - it was still a few years in the future.

Re:Nuclear submarines (4, Informative)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806507)

I'm not surprised that nobody uses nuclear for cargo ships. You need to spend a lot more money on your shipboard engineering crew (more people, higher salaries, more training), you need to build and maintain shore facilities to handle nuclear plant maintenance, and nowadays you'd need a respectably-sized security force on board and at the shore facility to make sure you didn't lose control of your nuclear materials to people that want to do something other than push cargo with it.

The US Navy decided to stop using nuclear power on cruisers because it was cheaper to use conventional power for some of the reasons above. Note that the power requirements for a cruiser [wikipedia.org] and a large container ship [wikipedia.org] are about the same.

The ongoing negative public sentiment towards nuclear is probably another big deciding factor.

Engine size (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806539)

Even when you take into account the huge tanks for the diesel or low-quality fuel oil, the nuke plant takes up a collossal amount of space. Theres a good reason that diesels have taken over the shipping industry. Combined cycle plants haven't really made a dent yet, even considering the efficiency is much higher. It just takes up too much room.

Re:Nuclear submarines (1)

mad flyer (589291) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805615)

It's will be even safer as I'm ready to bet they wont be silent underwater and trying to avoid detection. But more floating with light and beacons.

Re:Nuclear submarines (4, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805627)

MOD UP. 70MW is mush LESS than submarines than the Russians have been using for years. For example, the Russian Typhoon class [wikipedia.org] submarine has DUAL 90MW reactors in it. This is nothing new for Russia at all.

Re:Nuclear submarines (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806213)

MOD UP. 70MW is mush LESS than submarines than the Russians have been using for years. For example, the Russian Typhoon class [wikipedia.org] submarine has DUAL 90MW reactors in it. This is nothing new for Russia at all.

as in dual core??

Re:Nuclear submarines (2, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806549)

yes dual core. It is how they operate their underwater 30MW lasers. On their submarines

Re:Nuclear submarines (1)

prisma (1038806) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805685)

Does anyone else see a little irony in using nuclear power to extract oil energy?

More importantly, there's the implication here that nuclear is a more cost effective energy source than oil. This article may be old news for some better informed people, but increasing awareness of how nuclear power is used around the world may be what's needed to improve its perceived image among the general North American population.

Re:Nuclear submarines (2, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805711)

It seems to me that the Russians have realized that oil is something you want to use where replacing it is hard, i.e. in vehicles, not where you can easily replace it with something else (i.e. large stationary installations).

Re:Nuclear submarines (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805769)

In other words, this sort of thing has been operating safely for about 50 years now.

By the US, sure. Decidedly not true of the Russians. If their accident rate has gone down in the last twenty odd years, it's because their operational rate is a small fraction of what it was before that.

Re:Nuclear Portables (1)

ssintercept (843305) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805903)

well, sort of. you are right that it has been 50 years. the US Army had been successful with portable nuclear [tripod.com] power plants. from the 60's to the 70's they have used 2mW and 10mW power plants successfully (about halfway down for [tripod.com] info [findarticles.com] )
the russians are not unfamiliar with [englishrussia.com] the concept it seems.
PBS had a great documentary on how the US Army could set up and safely use portable nuclear power plants in the arctic, however no linkie could be found...

Gonna Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805559)

Looks if everything does go worst-case-scenario with global temperatures northern countries would come out with quite an advantage...

Although the chances of total environmental screw-ups in the arctic is high, accessing resources is too much of an incentive for Russia to give up, with most of it's profits coming from selling resources...this is going to happen.

Re:Gonna Happen (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805591)

Yet another reason why Canada needs a stronger presence in the Arctic, and the US needs to stop undermining Canadian sovereignty up there. Who would you rather have controlling the high Arctic: Canada, or Russia?

Re:Gonna Happen (1)

x78 (1099371) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805607)

Depends who you ask I guess

Re:Gonna Happen (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805861)

Given Canada's environmental history and Russia's environmental history I know which country I would prefer to be in control of the Arctic archipelago and the surrounding ocean.

Re:Gonna Happen (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806435)

Depends who you ask I guess

Exactly. And as a polar bear, I believe that we should be given sovereignty over our future ocean. Also we will require personal submarines with built-in seal-seeking missiles. And a pony.

Re:Gonna Happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27806465)

Yet another reason why Canada needs a stronger presence in the Arctic, and the US needs to stop undermining Canadian sovereignty up there.

If it's in our (the US) national interest to be up there, why should we handle the Canadians with kid gloves? And come on, you think the Canadians can handle the Russians?

I really get so tired of "oh, they're taking our lumber" or "without our drinking water your screwed" or "you need us for oil" or even "we'll turn off the electricity we develop from hydro and screw you guys".

Seriously, the Canadians should get no special treatment whatsoever. At this point they're not even an ally, and as such should be treated with all due suspicion. I have more respect for the French. At least the French are in your face about it instead of skulking around in the background bitching.

Why? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805597)

If we're going to use nuclear power, why use small nuclear power plants to drill for oil, instead of using it directly? Isn't this the worst of both worlds?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805671)

While I agree with your premise that it is an ironic situation, there are some uses of oil that nuclear power can not provide. Plastics, lubrication, jet fuel, etc... It takes X amount of energy to retrieve the oil, and if this nuclear power is cheaper than using the same oil they are mining for then it is a net gain.

Re:Why? (1)

Hanyin (1301045) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805791)

If we're going to use nuclear power, why use small nuclear power plants to drill for oil, instead of using it directly? Isn't this the worst of both worlds?

Perhaps because the potential gains were calculated and are considerably greater than just using the reactors for power? Don't forget that the ever-increasing price of oil is probably only going to make this venture even more profitable.

Jiffy-lubed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805643)

"The self-propelled vessels would store their own waste and fuel and would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years."

Whew! Every 12 to 14 years for the brothel barge to swing by. And you thought seamen had it rough.

Nothing new (3, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805681)

The Russians have been operating nuclear-powered icebreakers in that area for decades. This seems to be a similar design, just with a big generator attached.

That's a record (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805747)

...The self-propelled vessels would store their own waste and fuel and would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years...

That's a record in my opinion. For those concerned about hijacking, Russians have the technology and will to keep these monsters safe. They (the Russians), are almost always concerned about the results and not the means to get to the required results.

This is unlike we in the USA who have to be mindful of what the world will think about our actions.

Re:That's a record (1)

wlt (1367531) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805843)

yeah, when I read this:

would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years

I was also wondering, "what's the track record of the people making these predictions"?

Re:That's a record (1)

Hanyin (1301045) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805845)

This is unlike we in the USA who have to be mindful of what the world will think about our actions.

I don't know about that, the US government (at least the highest levels of it) seemed quite willing to turn a blind eye to all the protests against the invasion of a sovereign country, torture, invasions of privacy and who knows what else from both domestic sources and foreign without any trouble.

Pot and kettle indeed.

Not the Arctic Circle (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805761)

The Arctic Circle is not a good place to dot with floating nuclear power plants. Check the map [wikipedia.org] to see why.

sub-stantially different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805785)

How are these substantailly different than their submerged nuclear power plants such as the Alfa, Oscar and Typhoon classes?

I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27805821)

welcome our newclear Russian masters

This is a great idea. (2, Funny)

Viceroy Potatohead (954845) | more than 4 years ago | (#27805923)

I don't care what anyone says, this is a great idea. Hopefully, in the near future, a radioactive snowflake will come dive-bombing from the sky and bite me. I always wanted to be ICEMAN [wikipedia.org] !!!

That would be cool.

whatcouldpossiblygowrong! (1, Insightful)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 4 years ago | (#27806323)

IMHO, This is a terrible idea. Russia isn't exactly sitting at the top with regards to success rates with their nuclear power plants - whether they're ship-borne or land based. Russia has a whole shipyard full of nuclear relics from the cold war that are simply rusting away in a harbor. Some of these ships still highly radioactive. Dangerously so! Not very eco-friendly, is it? Dare I even mention Chernobyl?

Aren't we losing the arctic and antarctic ice sheets due to global warming? Now we want to cool nuclear power plants with frigid arctic water? Let me phrase that another way. Now we want to warm the arctic waters with the nuclear power plant cooling towers?

Let's not forget the fragility of the ecosystem there, either. I can practically guaranty when it comes time to dispose of nuclear cores they'll take shortcuts - as Russians always do - and some of these cores are going to wind up at the bottom of the ocean. It's not a questions of 'if', but 'when.'

Not News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27806557)

hey used to call them Typhoons ;-)

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