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Underwater Nuclear Power Plant Proposed In France

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the precooked-seafood dept.

Power 314

nicomede writes "The French state-owned DCNS (French military shipyard) announced today a concept study for an underwater nuclear reactor dedicated to power coastal communities in remote places. It is derived from nuclear submarine power plants, and its generator would be able to produce between 50 MWe and 250MWe. Such a plant would be fabricated and maintained in France, and dispatched for the different customers, thus reducing the risk for proliferation."

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heat generated would dissipate into the ocean (3, Interesting)

jsepeta (412566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947468)

i'm not sure that this is the best location for a nuclear plant, but it may lead to a cool james bond flick.

Re:heat generated would dissipate into the ocean (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947568)

france has a long history of nuclear underwater. Look at all the south pacific atolls that theyve nuked as testing nuclear weapons wasnt considered safe to do in france.... warning warning....

Re:heat generated would dissipate into the ocean (4, Insightful)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947624)

And? The heat for every nuclear plant dissipates into a nearby body of water, and they all flow into the sea. There's no other way to efficiently move that much waste heat.

Re:heat generated would dissipate into the ocean (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947746)

And? The heat for every nuclear plant dissipates into a nearby body of water, and they all flow into the sea. There's no other way to efficiently move that much waste heat.

Then why do they have cooling towers?

Re:heat generated would dissipate into the ocean (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947848)

The cooling towers just make the whole thing cooler. Like the way Saruman's tower made him cooler.

Re:heat generated would dissipate into the ocean (4, Informative)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947888)

Not every location that needs power has a body of water that can be used as a heat sink. Some power plants have cooling lakes built just for them. Some have cooling towers for the same reason. The most efficient is to be able to use the water of a running river or ocean, but they aren't always availible. Note that this is not just nuclear power plants but fossil fuel as well.

Re:heat generated would dissipate into the ocean (3, Funny)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948222)

And here I thought it was just for the manatees....

Re:heat generated would dissipate into the ocean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947734)

That's kinda the point of a heat engine, bro. Or wouldya prefer the nuke plant to keep getting hotter and hotter?

Underwater nuclear power plant (1)

caston81 (1881520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947482)

What could possibly go wrong? Just watch out for those sharks with frickin lazer beams!

Re:Underwater nuclear power plant (2)

dsmithhfx (1772254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947518)

You need to be more afraid of Goldfinger's bimbos with radioactive warhead spear guns!

Re:Underwater nuclear power plant (3, Funny)

Delarth799 (1839672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947736)

Just sharks with lazer beams is out of touch with the times and very misleading. See this is nuclear power plants as as the mass public known that means deformed animals, toxic waste, and death clouds of such massive proportions they could cover half of Russia. There won't be any sharks with lazer beams if this reactor gets launched, no instead it will be two, three, and four headed mutant sharks with lazer beams that shoot mutant miniature sharks with lazer beams and sludge balls of toxic waste.

Re:Underwater nuclear power plant (-1, Offtopic)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947766)

> What could possibly go wrong?

For the sake of going OT: everytime I hear about nuclear and water I recall the wormwood=chernobyl reference and the fact that a star is basically a nuclear reactor.

Rev 8:10-11 "And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."

- It Doesn't really apply to a star that is already under the sea. River and fountain of waters is well related to land nuclear sites though.
- A single plant can't do damage to 1/3rd of the waters. If the damage was systemic (lots of incidents covered up for convenience) it could happen.
And, leaving religion aside, if the writer wrote down a vision and there were a way to "dream about the future", the symbolism would fit enough.

Re:Underwater nuclear power plant (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947796)

1. A star is a fusion reactor. These reactors are fission powered.
2. If you are willing to play this name changing game you can find these sorts of things in damn near everything.
3. Fictional tales no matter how long ago they were written are not good predictors of future occurrences.

Re:Underwater nuclear power plant (-1, Troll)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948214)

1. A star is a fusion reactor. These reactors are fission powered.
2. If you are willing to play this name changing game you can find these sorts of things in damn near everything.
3. Fictional tales no matter how long ago they were written are not good predictors of future occurrences.

After reviewing your post, we've requested you turn in your physics badge.

fusion [wikipedia.org]
fission [wikipedia.org]

Re:Underwater nuclear power plant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948232)

Yeah... tell that to Jules Verne's fans!

spooky prophecy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948158)

My pet starfish is called Wormwood. He is reddish orange, like the fire from a lamp. I'm not sure if he fell from heaven or not, I didn't witness that one.

Re:Underwater nuclear power plant (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948244)

everytime I hear about nuclear and water I recall the wormwood=chernobyl reference

This reference is spurious at best.

In the Bible (that is, in Revelation) the Greek word is apsinthos, referring to the common wormwood plant (artemisia absinthium). Ukrainian chornobyl, on the other hand, does not mean "wormwood", but "mugwort" (artemisia vulgaris), which is a related, but different plant. The Ukrainian for "wormwood" is polyn hirky, the Russian is polyn' gor'kaya. No resemblance to Chernobyl there.

This is exactly the kind of reference constructed by people insistent on reading references to the present into fictional texts of the past. As soon as you look at things in detail, these references tend to break down.

Man up! (4, Insightful)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947502)

I wonder when will people stop wasting time with wind/solar and man up to nuclear energy.

Re:Man up! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947514)

Because those are mutually exclusive, huh?

Re:Man up! (4, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947634)

Yeah, that always struck me as the fallacy of the nukes vs. passive power collection debate. Pursuing both options and using them in different applications and climates, as their strengths and weaknesses dictate, seems to be the most logical approach by far.

My take would be to build wind turbines, geothermal plants, hydroelectric dams and solar collectors (especially solar heat engines as opposed to photoelectric cells) in locations where the respective climate and geography dictates, and supplement those with rooftop photoelectric solar and other distributed systems wherever local homeowners want to use them.

This will leave a power deficit, as those means of power generation don't provide enough energy to meet our needs, so you solve that deficit with nuclear power for the time being, and fusion power when it becomes available, which realistically might not be for many decades. Add in non fossil fuel options for vehicles (biofuel, battery or hydrogen) and we might actually break our dependency on coal and oil entirely.

Re:Man up! (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947804)

Syngas might be a better solution for car power. It can be made via many CO2 negative methods.

Re:Man up! (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947814)

That would be the logical thing to do, but noooooh the world is full of simpletons who can't FATHOM several things working at the same time.

Re:Man up! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947520)

Wind power is still cheaper, still requires a lot less technology and if it can be used, why not?

Re:Man up! (2)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948154)

something to do with one superpower currently controlling almost the entire supply of the metals needed to make the special magnets that allow efficient wind turbines?

Re:Man up! (1)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948184)

Because the wind doesn't blow all the time.

Re:Man up! (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947564)

Wind and solar are renewable and don't generate toxic waste, so there's that.

Re:Man up! (2)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947704)

Until you dispose of the panels after they fail.

Re:Man up! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947816)

You recycle those. Sure they make a little bit a waste, but no where near what a coal plant dumps into the air constantly.

Re:Man up! (-1, Troll)

Shark (78448) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948110)

And my bet is that that requires more energy than they ever produced... Then you need roughly that much power to make new ones out of the recycled materials. Overall they're still a net loss. Won't always be and I certainly commend all the science that goes into their improvement... But by that standard, cold fusion is also a viable solution.

Re:Man up! (4, Insightful)

iroll (717924) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947724)

Really? You must not have gotten the memo about all of the semiconductor fabs that are Superfund sites. They don't generate toxic waste when they're being operated, but they generate a boat load when they're being manufactured. And they don't last forever, so you're going to keep on generating that waste.

All sources of power have waste associated with them, and some of that waste is toxic. Nuclear power generates *very* toxic waste, but that waste can also be condensed into a tinier volume (per joule of energy produced) than any other source of power. So, you can--realistically, through reprocessing--have all of the waste for an entire generation from an entire country fit into a very dangerous house, or you can have stadiums and stadiums of 'less' toxic (but still deadly) waste. That's what we deal with every day.

It's all about optimizing. I'm a huge fan of mixed power generation. Solar and wind should be in the mix, but we shouldn't kid ourselves and pretend they're a panacea.

Re:Man up! (2)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947838)

Have you read on the work some people are doing into reducing radioactive elements to less dangerous ones with high strength lasers? It's great stuff. If we expand on that technology we could further minimize the toxic footprint of the nuclear power plants.

Re:Man up! (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947928)

The biggest thing that can be done to reduce the bad nuclear waste is fuel reprocessing. Take spent fuel refine it and remove the poisons then re-burn it. We'd be doing it today but Carter was afraid of terrorist attacks on recycling plants, so we still recycle fuel domestically just not fuel from the US.

Re:Man up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948196)

Economically, it makes more sense to just mine more uranium. We don't need to re-process for hundreds of years.

Re:Man up! (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947926)

To be fair, if you're looking at the setup cost of a solar farm, you'd also have to consider the considerable energy & waste required to build the nuclear power plant too. Then there's operation, maintenance costs and lifespan of each to consider as well. Total cost of any system can difficult to measure accurately, especially when considering indirect effects, and can often iceberg unexpectedly.

I tend to feel that renewable (as much as possible) is the best long-term solution, but there are many short-term practical reasons to consider nuclear power as a viable option too. I wonder if there are any really comprehensive cost studies that compare solar, wind, geothermal, coal, nuclear, gas, wave, biomass etc, and that go into significant depth about indirect costs.

Re:Man up! (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948062)

Solar and wind should be in the mix, but we shouldn't kid ourselves and pretend they're a panacea.

If you covered around two percent of the uninhabited portions of the Sahara with currently available photovoltaic cells, you could supply 100% of the world's energy needs. They could very well be a panacea.

Re:Man up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948096)

This would be perfect if energy transmission was 100% efficient. This is impossible.

Re:Man up! (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948168)

I'm not recommending that we actually do it, although with HVDC you could make a respectable effort at it, its an example that underlines the point - we are swimming in renewable energy, there are plenty of localised sites that can provide similar benefits.

Re:Man up! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948108)

Some greenpeace twit will find a cute specie of whatever, living in that 2% you propose... This is why we cant have nice things.

What semiconductors? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948270)

You can do solar with a steam-driven turbine. I'm not sure what the efficiency is compared to a semiconductor approach though.

Wind power doesn't require any semiconductors.

Re:Man up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947786)

Wind and solar are renewable and don't generate toxic waste, so there's that.

Well, technically neither does nuclear. We get radioactive ore from mining. This stuff is already "toxic waste" by your standards. It will be radioactive for thousands of years. We do some fission and get back some more radioactive stuff (with usually a little less useful uranium) and energy. We put the still radioactive, less useful stuff back into the ground.

So, when you think about it, radioactive is pretty "toxic waste" neutral.

Re:Man up! (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947968)

there's a toxicity threshold though. A glass of water in every room in your city is OK, your room filled with all that water is not.

Re:Man up! (1)

doublebackslash (702979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948216)

Actually there have been some studies on the feasibility of solar and wind to not only power the world as is, but to keep up with demand and the need to bring the entirety of the world to at LEAST the level of western europe in terms of energy per capita (a critical metric in the evaluation of quality of life).

I don't have the study handy, but this video quotes it a href=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1518007279479871760#>http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1518007279479871760#

for those of you without the time to watch it the short of it is that we would have to increase the production amount of things like steel, glass and aluminum to levels never before seen (low integer multiples of current levels). It would have to be a concerted worldwide effort just to keep up with the growing demand, let alone get to a stable state where we can use those raw materials for other things, like building houses or cars.

Nuclear is, for now, the only option. Fusion after that I hope.

Re:Man up! (2)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947960)

I wonder why I must be searched at the airport for some explosive in shoes while somebody else plans to produce radioactive waste that will still be dangerous when the grand-grandson of osama bin laden will need to check his prostate.

If anybody has some unbiased cost projection for atomic energy that comprises the cost of storing and keeping an eye on waste till it's not dangerous anymore with the same attention that we have in the increasing surveillance towards average citizens, I'll be willing to reconsider my opinion.

And if you're Italian recall that here the mafia is already trafficking with radioactive stuff, that Caorso nuclear reactor closed in the 80s has finished disposing of the waste only a year ago and that the reactor itself isn't decommissioned yet. Not that your opinion or mine will matter, since our Great Leader is pushing for nuclear without popular vote (after a popular vote had banned nuclear in the late 80s) so He won't listen anyway.

Re:Man up! (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948026)

Maybe when we can properly dispose of nuclear waste?

I'm not satisfied with just burying the shit and hoping that nothing goes wrong within the next 10,000 years.

Re:Man up! (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948156)

We *can* bury waste like this for 10,000 years. It's called dumping in an abyssal plain (by sinking it into the mud kinetically the same way sediment cores are done) or into an oceanic trench to be recycled sooner by MomNature as it's subducted.

The reasons why we don't already do this is 1, treaties, and 2, the "waste" is actually pretty valuable since it can be reprocessed and reused.

Go ahead, what terrorist has the balls or the friggin' *finances* to go after something under a couple of miles of sea water *and* literally stuck under 60 feet of mud?

The Thresher's nuclear fuel is at the bottom of the ocean. Nobody's gone after it after 50 years even though the resting place is easily found by anyone caring to look in a library and it's pretty unlikely anyone ever will.

--
BMO

Re:Man up! (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948040)

My concern about nuclear is that its pretty expensive. Projects done in the US can come to $9000 per kW, while wind at the outside, after factoring in efficiencies, lands around the $3000 per kW mark. China is building plants equivalent to wind in cost, but they don't bother with all that annoying health and safety, insurance, or capital cost business.

As well as that, in my opinion, if you had to start from scratch with a choice between wind/power cables and say prospecting for, exploring for, drilling for, extracting and refining oil, before shipping it across thousands of miles in huge freighters and/or in sealed pipes, losing more energy when you push it into land based trucks, and then pumping it into fairly inefficient internal combustion engines which create external costs in the form of widespread public pollution, it would be a no-brainer.

Petrofuels have inertia and little else going for them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_new_nuclear_power_plants [wikipedia.org]

Well, I can see the tradeoffs. (3, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947556)

On the one hand, you're introducing corrosive seawater to the mix. And you're putting it in a cramped, high pressure environment, though if it's heavily automated that won't cause as many problems as if it had a large full time crew aboard.

On the positive side, you've now got a handy, high heat capacity, thermally conductive environment to work with, which nuke plants benefit from. And you're making it such that any contamination from a disaster will be limited to irradiated seawater instead of airborne fallout, which is a good trade off as far as limiting both human and environmental damage goes. Not that contaminating the water is a good thing, but airborne fallout is much, much worse.

Plus, when you want to decommission one of these things, you can tow it to wherever it's going, instead of dismantling it on-site and taking it away in pieces.

Re:Well, I can see the tradeoffs. (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947646)

So, the first use of nuclear power plants was in submarines. Which is to say, these engineering concerns have been being addressed for as long as we've been using nuclear power.

Re:Well, I can see the tradeoffs. (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947792)

So, the first use of nuclear power plants was in submarines.

The Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant came on-line about 6 months before the nautilus was launched.

Re:Well, I can see the tradeoffs. (1)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948114)

Other way around. Nautilus was launched in January 21st 1954. Obninsk came on-line in June 26, 1954.

Also, Nautilus was powered by a 2nd generation submarine reactor, the 1st generation prototype was a land-based but built inside a submarine hill and was first used for power operations in May of 1953.

I wonder why underwater? (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947576)

My impression(not speaking as an expert shipwright or anything) is that if you want to take a land-based system and get it going for reliable marine use, you'll be lucky if the cost doubles(Boat. Noun. A hole in the water into which one pours money). That, though, I I can see the benefits of. The art and science of building large floating objects is pretty well established, and then you pretty much plunk the reactor on top of that. Nice and portable, coolant all around, and sure beats trying to make your nuclear reactor a helicopter or something. Float it where you need it, run a glorified extension cable to shore, and away you go.

Underwater, though, just seems like a recipe for making the whole thing even more expensive than on the water, along with harder to monitor and maintain, and likely to be much more exciting if there is a steam leak or something. Is there some advantage that I am not seeing, or is this a case of "when you are a post-cold-war-nuclear-submarine-designer everything looks like it needs an underwater nuclear reactor"?

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

duranaki (776224) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947660)

I'm with you. Now if they were say converting old nuclear submarines into power plants, at least they'd be re-using something people had already thrown money through. Plus they'd be able to return to France to refuel. :)

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947840)

Submarine reactors are measured in tens of kilowatts, much too small to be of practical use for power generation.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

duranaki (776224) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947900)

That's why they'd convert them. Duh. (But thanks for the info, I really had no idea.)

Re:I wonder why underwater? (2)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947978)

Ahem. You are looking at the electrical production of submarines, not the thermal output of the reactor. Electrical production is around 10% and the main engine takes the other 90%, if you remove the main engine and substitute a huge generator set a couple hundred megawatts should be easy.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948050)

Submarine reactors are measured in tens of kilowatts, much too small to be of practical use for power generation.

Akula class sub: 100,000 hp, or 74.6 Mw at the shaft.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948072)

150-165 MW thermal. I'll let you do the conversion...

Re:I wonder why underwater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948132)

You're off by a few orders of magnitude. (granted the exact numbers are hard to come by, but you can get ballpark figures using their claimed driveshaft horsepower. And the occasional 'this reactor could power [specific city]' news article (and then look up the population of that city)). A little digging finds that these things need to be worth a good 30-60 MW. Of course, they'd need some work to convert it from turning propellers to generating electricity. And they'd need refueling every decade or two. And the other maintenance costs of a submarine are pretty high.

Another point of comparison: 10 KW would be enough for a house's backup generator, if you don't run all the appliances at once. (a clothes dryer alone can pull 4 KW. Consider water heaters and dishwashers and central AC too). 10 KW couldn't possibly both run all the internal electronics of a sub AND drive it at a decent speed.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (2)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947676)

The biggest advantage I can see, which I posted just before you did, is containment. A surface nuclear power plant gets the same benefit as a submerged one in terms of cooling and remoteness, but in the event of a catastrophic failure, the underwater one will not send tons of fallout into the stratosphere. You'd still get some contamination making it into the air via the hydrological cycle (think Tritium contaminated rainfall), but not on the same order of magnitude as if the same disaster had occurred on the surface.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948146)

With the realistic risk of catastrophic failure in a modern reactor (i.e. negligible) I'd be doubtful of whether the extra 'safety feature' of immersion is worth the associated difficulties.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (2)

hairyfish (1653411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947686)

There are huge cost savings with not having to buy real estate, deal with local govt, residents, hippies etc. All the uncontrollable costs which add the most to power plant costs. A fully portable unit would have fixed costs every time, and can be built in volume. I wouldn't be surprised if it actually works out cheaper overall once all social/political costs that are normally associated with a regular power plant are factored in

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947756)

Umm, you still have the issue with the residents, hippies, etc. As a beachfront resident, would you feel safe knowing that 5 miles outside your big windows you have a nuclear reactor--as opposed to a wind farm? To add, hippies do like "the sea", fish, and underwater nature, so that doesn't really change. The only thing that would change is that the local government's objections end at the city limits, which may be at the shore...

The Young and the Innocent (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947916)

There are huge cost savings with not having to buy real estate, deal with local govt, residents, hippies etc.

There is nothing in the world more likely to stir up a fuss than water.

Recreational and commercial fisheries. Drilling platforms. Boating and shipping. Beaches and harbors.

You will be hearing from the locals.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947694)

>I wonder why underwater?

Because it reduces the NIMBY factor.

NIMBY (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947696)

Putting it out of sight removes one more thing for the luddites to complain about. Putting it in the ocean is an obvious choice for cooling and for proximity to most of the world's population centers. And the steel used is probably cheaper than the concrete required on land; you can't crash a plane into a reactor under the ocean.

NIMBY != Ludite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947750)

Putting it out of sight removes one more thing for the luddites to complain about

NIMBY != Luddite.

Power plants reduce property values. Power plant proposed to be built by your house. You become NIMBY.

Power plants and other polluting industrial plants are usually built in poor mostly minority neighborhoods. Now in the case of France, doing so would put it in a Muslim area. Now, you really don't want nuclear material anywhere near Muslims because we all know where THAT leads! So, they're putting it into the ocean.

It won't happen, though because Greenpeace will be ramming their asses lickety split!

Re:NIMBY (2)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947774)

you can't crash a plane into a reactor under the ocean.

Did you ever see that footage of a test jet crashing into a containment building?
There wasn't a scratch on the concrete, but the plane was pulverised into fine dust.

Re:NIMBY (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947898)

I'm fascinated by your post and would like to subscribe to your newsletter about the truth behind 9/11.

Re:NIMBY (1)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947776)

No, but some terrorists with scuba training could cause a little bit of a problem... Hell, unless you tell the populace where their underwater nuclear reactor is (you know, to look out for possible trouble), a bunch of divers in the water "over there" wouldn't raise any suspicions...

Re:NIMBY (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948212)

"No, but some terrorists with scuba training could cause a little bit of a problem..."

Ha! You forgot about the mutant bicephalus laser head-mounted sharks awaiting for such a diver!

Re:I wonder why underwater? (5, Insightful)

Dog's_Breakfast (771023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947710)

Putting the powerplant underwater (as opposed to on a floating platform) would have a big advantage in protecting it from storms. Once you submerge about 60 meters, you are pretty much immune to the effects of even the biggest hurricanes or tsunamis.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947720)

It's reasonable to have nuclear subs underwater because they are mobile and the fact that nobody knows where they are going to be at any given time gives them some security. Having such a facility stationary seems like they are just asking for trouble.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948028)

as opposed to having it on land ?

Re:I wonder why underwater? (2)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947762)

Security is probably another advantage to add to those already mentioned. At a depth of 100 meters, it is not easily accessible and it is then probably easier to secure from any unauthorized access.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

dsmithhfx (1772254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947798)

Remind me: how many land-based nukes have been subjected to turrists ?

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948176)

It's not about the fact there was or not, it is about how easier it is to secure it at a lower cost underwater at 100 meters depth. It doesn't matter if there was or not any land-based nuclear plant that have been the aim of any terrorist group successfully or not.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947764)

Yes, well. I take the most comfort from the fact that we've been building and maintaining underwater nuclear power plants for many more man-years than land based, with the number of nuclear subs we have. (At least, I think - I don't have the numbers to run, but that's my impression...)

Putting a nuclear reactor underwater is not anything like a new thing - the new thing is doing so for commercial use, and perhaps doing so unmanned.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947944)

More reactor-years in the Nuclear Navy than commercial reactors for sure.
Interesting to me is that it won't be a bigger plant. Little old S3G plants are right in that 50-200 MW range. Why not take advantage of whatever it is they're taking advantage of by putting it underwater and make it bigger?

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947812)

Well there are some benefits. It's inherently secure against nuclear proliferation or terrorist attack. It is likely to be much safer in an nuclear accident because it is surrounded by a almost limitless heatsink, also because it's surrounded by water it doesn't need anywhere near as much shielding. That's where the benefits end though. It will be completely automated which has been a disaster before in the nuclear industry, it will need to be removed for any maintenance, and it will be transmitting power underwater for extended distances which leads to high losses. Might be cost effective, but it's doubtful. The navy doesn't use nuclear reactors on aircraft carriers and subs because it's cheaper they do it because those ships don't have to refuel or use air for the engines. This looks like a similar pipe dream to the buried reactor design that's supposed to supply neighborhoods with electricity.

Re:I wonder why underwater? (0)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948048)

"secure against nuclear proliferation". i'm not sure that word means what you think it means.
"secure against terrorist attacks". coz terrorists can't swim ! same as they can't fly ! oh, wait ...

Re:I wonder why underwater? (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948126)

Depending on depth it would be incredibly secure. Who is going to dive to 500ft to somehow hurt a big metal tube? How would you hurt it anyway, explosives? So we need an EOD diver/Navy seal who has extreme deepwater training, proper equipment and can find the damn thing. Yup, still secure. Also, what do you think nuclear proliferation means?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_proliferation

Nice troll though.

Happy happy.... (0)

pottymouth (61296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947666)

trying to fix my karma here folks. How 'bout a nice 5!

Ingenious design to prevent proliferation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947742)

Any attempts to disassemble the generator to extract the fissile material results in a nuclear explosion, instantly stopping any further tampering.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947820)

Did these people not see Godzilla?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948012)

Only a danger near Tokyo.

Did you not pay attention to the movie?

They can hedge their bets by re-interring Raymond Burr in the foundation of the reactor. (They already have Rin-Tin-Tin, dammit.)

I wonder what would happen... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947828)

If they ever got a leak.

It'll be like Deepwater Horizon all over again. But with radioactive stuff. This sounds like disaster-film material!

Re:I wonder what would happen... (1)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948022)

Don't be absurd.

If the reactor were to suffer a total catastrophic failure, it would be moderately bad. Not Chernobyl bad, and not Windscale bad either - it's smaller for one thing, and less likely to endanger human lives. The human cost would be low, the environmental cost would be non-trivial and difficult to estimate, and the economic cost would be high. I'd put the scale of a worst case disaster on par with Deepwater Horizon, albeit different enough that it's apples to oranges.

But the key phrase there is "catastrophic failure". Not "leak". The difference between a leak and a catastrophe is like the difference between a house fire and the Chicago fire. There have been nuclear leaks at sea before, given the number of nuclear vessels in service, and particularly given the former Soviet Union's track record. They weren't even close to the disaster you're imagining.

Re:I wonder what would happen... (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948060)

Great plot for a Michael Bay film, but pretty boring reality. In the unlikely (very unlikely considering the whole thing is a pressure vessel and heat sink) event of a leak to the environment the actual fallout would be minimal. Nuclear submarines have been lost before under bad circumstances and you don't see huge amounts of wildlife killed or huge amounts of contamination. Some contamination would settle out within a couple hundred feet of the leak and the rest would be diluted so quickly it would be undetectable a quarter mile away. But hey, truth never stopped a good movie plot.

Movie plot or reality? (1)

Nkwe (604125) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947832)

From the TFA:

It is transported to sea on a heavy lift ship which lowers itself to allow Flexblue to maneuvre under its own power.

So if someone hacks the control systems can they pilot it away?

But who will operate it underwater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947868)

Oh, of course - FROGS.

In spaaaace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34947932)

Build it in space. No harm, no foul, next bond flick, eject all waste away from earth.

obv. Total Annihilation question (1)

alex4point0 (179152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947940)

... but are they cloaked [strategywiki.org] ?

greenpeace... (0)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 3 years ago | (#34947998)

This is sounds like their wet dream (excuse the pun) of protests waiting to happen.

I liked this movie the first time I saw it ... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948084)

When it was called "Godzilla".

MWe (2)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948138)

MWe, is that a French megawatt? Une megawatte?

yay mutant killer whales! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948174)

I, for one, will welcome our new irradiated mutant Orca overlords.
Free Willy!

ZOMG BBW SAUCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34948198)

It's time to nuke the whales!

Considering land-based reactors are 1 gigawatts.. (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948252)

Considering land-based reactors can be >1 gigawatts per unit.. I guess it's a good start.

New, strange take on an old idea (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948266)

This is VERY old idea, directly stolen from Russians. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_floating_nuclear_power_station [wikipedia.org]

The idea there was essentially the same - you mount reactor derived from other naval reactors and mount it on a large, specialized barge. Part about it being submarine rather then marine is most likely a gimmick designed to attract attention to the project, seeing how unfeasible such a construction actually seems - the maintenance alone becomes far more difficult. In a nutshell, it's a simple submarine reactor, just without the submarine. Doesn't make much sense financially, seeing how expensive such a unit would be in comparison to a surface unit, and how much easier it would be to maintain a manned, surface unit.

Unless, of course, that's the whole point, because the company producing the plants plans to charge a massive premium on maintenance. Russian design is far more usable, as it has most of advantages of a normal nuclear power plant, as well as mobility granted by the barge.

Wow, lots of questions. (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34948274)

I wonder if it could be modified to desalinate seawater and/or produce H2 in off peak hours? I wonder how much security would be needed to protect it from terrorists with depth charges? I wonder what angle the tree-huggers (coral-huggers?) would use to argue against it?
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