At a recent symposium on small modular reactors, a team of researchers presented a design that effectively combines a nuclear plant with elements from an offshore oil platform.The result is a facility five to seven miles offshore – where earthquakes and tsunamis would not pose a threat – that can draw from an infinite heat sink in emergencies. This video provides a rundown of the plant's basic design, as envisioned by experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin and Chicago Bridge and Iron.The concept of operating a power reactor from a floating platform is not new. What sets this nuclear plant apart is its use of existing technology from oil and gas equipment tethered to the seafloor. It would be connected to the grid via an underwater transmission line.
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the US Navy has lots of experience. Ask them the cost schedule for hull and tank maintenance. Also, there are very few nuclear rated shipyards and facilities to maintain this concept. They may need to create an industrial base to do this work. The USA, England, and Russia have nuclear capable shipyards at this time.
Another thing to consider is who will want to work on these kinds of offshore platforms? My understanding is that on oil rigs the workers fly out to them and stay for a week or weeks at a time. That is OK for relatively low skilled oil workers but how about the kinds of highly skilled/highly trained workers needed to run a nuclear plant? You will have to pay them a lot to buy into such a system. Also, the perception hat they will likely have is that they will be working on a "nuclear island" (pun intended) with no where to run in case there is an accident. That will likely contrinute to difficulties in finding workers willing to take on such an assignment.
Oil platforms can be hundreds of miles from shore. At 5-7 miles, there's no reason a fairly small boat can't run employees back and forth to town for normal shifts.
How naive these comments are. The concept is interesting and I'm sure those low skilled Navy Nuke bubble-heads who can't "run away" would from their ships may actually think it good duty. Think through what you post.
Extremely interesting concept. I was thinking: With the great undersea tunnel and and structure technologies at our disposal, one could easily construct it on a seabed and connect it with the land via a maglev train in a vacuum tube. Similarly the transmission lines can also run in undersea pipelines.
A new trend in industry supplying vertical turbines and generating units could reduce the footprint and thus the pressure vessel shell diameter, since the entire structure would be underwater concrete cylinder. Thus it need not be floating, unless in a seismically very active zone. I suppose one could design it with neutral buoyancy and separate it from the seabed only a couple of meters, to provide a seismic raft.
As with existing NPP's outer and inner shell may be required, since the world is under constant threat of terrorism.
Of course it need not be a vertical plant but can easily be laid out as horizontal, opening up other avenues. Sea currents can be used for natural cooling flow, even when pumps become non-operational
Contrary to what one called "low skilled Navy Nuke bubble-heads," submarine sailors are some of the most technically skilled and dedicated individuals I've ever worked with. I do agree that they would have no problem with the concept of working on a floating platform anchored a few miles off shore assuming the incentives (pay and benefits) were attractive. The questions is not whether the concept is technically feasable, it is whether it is economically feasable.
That is a good point about ferrying workers to and from the rig daily as it will be only a few miles offshore.
Regarding the comment "...low skilled Navy Nuke bubble-heads who can't "run away" would from their ships may actually think it good duty..." If you read what I wrote I said that the workers would need to be highly skilled. And are you really trying to compare shipmen in the US Navy who sign up for several years of duty in the armed forces and are stationed on nuclear subs with workers in the civilian nuclear industry?. Unless you are proposing that the potential workers at these kinds of NPPs will be 100% ex-navy nukes apparently you are the one who needs to think through your posts...
I am not implying that these are insurmountable obstacles, just practical considerations when thinking about such a concept.
Low skilled Navy Nuke bubbleheads? Wow, whoever said that wears their ignorance like a personal cloak. Most of the best operators and engineers in the industry today are Navy Nukes. As for running away... why would you? We couldn't run from a Submarine, nor would we want to.
I'm a chemist with 25 years of Nuclear Experience, where do I sign up?
Properly designed (Important) -Nuclear Power Plants. Are a safe method of producing power but there are three major problems
1. People to operate them that are highly skilled and can manage problems/emergencies.
2. Automatic emergency equipment that can kick-in and operate when people fail.
2. What to do with the nuclear waste from the process left over after some time has passed .