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2018-08-26. The Nuclear Power Plant of the Future May Be Floating Near Russia.

posted Aug 29, 2018, 4:11 PM by Alan Gould
By Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/26/business/energy-environment/russia-floating-nuclear-power.html] For GSS Energy Use chapter 4. Excerpt: Offshore reactors could be cheaper, safer and more flexible, proponents say, making them a useful weapon against climate change. Critics are incredulous. ...Along the shore of Kola Bay in the far northwest of Russia lie bases for the country’s nuclear submarines and icebreakers. ...Here, Russia is conducting an experiment with nuclear power, one that backers say is a leading-edge feat of engineering but that critics call reckless. ...Tied to a wharf in the city of Murmansk, the Akademik Lomonosov ...facility, made of two miniature reactors of a type used previously on submarines, is for now the only one of its kind. ...Moscow, while leading the trend, is far from alone in seeing potential in floating nuclear plants. ...Proponents say they are cheaper, greener and, perhaps counterintuitively, safer. They envision a future when nuclear power stations bob off the coasts of major cities around the world. ...smaller reactors effectively placed on floats can be assembled more quickly, be put in a wider range of locations and respond more nimbly to fluctuating supply on power grids that increasingly rely on wind and solar. ..China wants to build 20 floating nuclear plants, the first of which will start within two years. A French company has designed a reactor called Flexblue that would not float but rather be submerged on the ocean floor. But some environmental groups — even those open to a role for nuclear power as a substitute for traditional power plants — are skeptical. ...Critics worry that during a tsunami, the 21,000-ton steel structure might not ride out the wave. In a worst-case scenario, they say, it would instead be torn from its moorings and sent barreling inland, plowing through buildings until it landed, steaming and dented and with two active reactors on board, well away from its source of coolant....