Like offshore oil drilling platforms, a configuration of a floating offshore nuclear plant could provide enhanced safety, easier siting, and centralized construction. Illustration courtesy of Jake Jurewicz/MIT-NSE
Based on design work by Jacopo Buongiorno and others at MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, the floating nuclear plant structure, would include living quarters and a helipad for transportation to the site.
“When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused most of the damage and contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects — specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores and spent fuel, due to a shutdown of outside power — that caused most of the harm.
Such floating plants would be designed to be automatically flooded by the surrounding seawater in a worst-case scenario, providing sufficient cooling to indefinitely prevent any melting of fuel rods, or escape of radioactive material.”
The concept is being presented this week at the Small Modular Reactors Symposium, hosted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, by MIT associate professor of nuclear science and engineering (NSE) Jacopo Buongiorno along with others from MIT, the University of Wisconsin, and Chicago Bridge and Iron, a major nuclear plant and offshore platform construction company.
source MIT news