MIT might have developed a way to prevent a future Fukushima.
To try and prevent another nuclear disaster like the one that occurred in Japan, MIT researchers have come with an idea for a floating nuclear power plant that would be able to use sea water as a way to prevent catastrophic meltdowns. Similar in design to offshore oil rigs, they could be built in a shipyard, and then towed to their destinations five to seven miles offshore.
The floating reactors, which would be moored to the seafloor and connected to land by an underwater electric transmission line, operate in almost the exact same way as onshore power plants. Their capacity would be anywhere between 50 to 1,000-megawatts, which is the same size as the largest onshore facility in existence today.
What makes MIT’s design so promising, is that earthquakes would have absolutely no effect at all on the structure, and even tsunamis would pose very little threat. In addition to the safety benefits, it would be much easier to decommission plants, which involves towing them away to a central facility, a procedure which is already carried out for the Navy’s carrier and submarine reactors.
While the design might seem revolutionary, a similar idea was first proposed first in 1971 by a joint venture known as Offshore Power. Russia is also in the process of building their own reactor located on a barge moored to the shore. The key difference is that MIT’s idea is the only one that might be able to ride out even the most serious of weather conditions.