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'Floating Chernobyls' to hit the high seas
Garry White, The Daily Telegraph
China and Russia agreed to expand co-operation over nuclear power, specifically on uranium exploration and safer power plants – but also on floating nuclear reactors.
"It's a case of Homer Simpson meets the Titanic," says Ben Ayliffe, a senior climate campaigner at Greenpeace. "The idea is just mind-boggling."
Unsurprisingly, he is appalled by the idea.
Russia has been planning floating reactors for quite some time, but reached a recent milestone when the hull of the Akademik Lomonosov was launched into the Baltic Sea.
The reactor is not complete, but the barge that will house the plant was launched on June 30 at the Baltyskiy shipyard in St Petersburg – and China has been watching developments very closely indeed.
(6 September 2010)
Hurricane Earl ... and Floating Nuclear Plants
Karl Grossman, Huffington Post
It was supposed to happen off the U.S. Atlantic Coast and was scuttled because of skyrocketing costs, public opposition, and a lack of need. But the concept of floating nuclear power plants is back. Russia, copying the U.S. plan, recently launched the first of what it says will be many floating nuclear plants that it will moor off its coastline and sell to nations around the world.
Consider, with Hurricane Earl moving up the Atlantic Coast, the situation if floating nuclear power plants were, as planned, moored off it.
Consider the Russia program in terms of accident consequences -- the plants are being called "floating Chernobyls" -- and as a terrorist issue. The fuel the plants are to use is weapons-grade uranium. Nations which Russia's state nuclear corporation has been talking to about buying the plants include Malaysia, Algeria and Indonesia.
I ran into the U.S. floating nuclear plant scheme in the Hamptons on Long Island in 1974. Driving down oceanfront Dune Road in Hampton Bays, I came upon what looked like a weather station, but on the chain link fence surrounding the various meteorological devices was the sign: "U.S. Atomic Energy Commission -- Brookhaven National Laboratory." As an investigative reporter for the Long Island Press, I called the laboratory and was told that the government set up the station to study the impact of radioactive discharges from floating nuclear plants to be moored to the south: the first four plants were to go 11 miles northeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. They were given the names Atlantic 1, 2, 3 and 4. I pursued the U.S. program for years.
"Absolutely safe," Sergei Kiriyenko, director general of Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation, told Reuters, as the barge that is to serve as the base for the first floating plant was being launched on June 30 in St. Petersburg...
(3 September 2010)