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floating nuclear power plants

An offshore nuclear power plant is a vessel designed as a nuclear power station that floats on water away from land for improved safety and reduced development costs. The floating plants are usually mass-built at shipbuilding facilities and then towed to destination points in coastal waters near a city, a town or an industrial enterprise. The floating concept is not entirely new and similar designs were developed in the 1960s. Modern floating nuclear power plants added more safety enhancements by locating the plants far offshore and with reactor cores fully submerged.

Floating nuclear power plants are increasingly becoming viable as the cost of land-based nuclear stations skyrocket due to increased costs of land acquisition and insurance. Land-based nuclear power facilities are often built close to bodies of water, which typically support higher real estate prices and larger populations, therefore making insurance costs exorbitantly high. A floating nuclear power plant towed offshore and surrounded by inexpensive real estate in the open ocean would not face the same problems. Additionally, in the event of an accident the nuclear core could easily be flooded with an endless supply of cold seawater. Decommissioning would also be much easier since reactors could be towed to a centralized remote location -- restoring the natural environment to normal nearly instantly.

In addition to increased safety, there's substantially more ocean available for nuclear power development than land. That's potentially good news for the planet, which needs an expedited build-out of its atomic energy capacity to make the nearly immediate changes required to stem climate change and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It's been projected that the world offshore nuclear will be the norm for energy generation by 2050.

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  • Industry/Domain: Energy
  • Category: Nuclear energy
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