If space runs out on land to build more nuclear power plants, we can always move operations to the oceans. At least that’s the plan in Russia, where a floating plant is being developed.
The ship, called Akademik Lomonosov, is the first of its kind and will hold two nuclear reactors, according to a news release from Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, the plant’s developer. “It can be used to generate electric power and heat, and also to desalinate seawater,” reports news site Russia Beyond the Headlines. “Its service life is estimated at least 36 years — three cycles of 12 years each, with reactor reloading in between. The crew, including replacement and reserve headcounts, numbers around 140.”
Originally the plant was scheduled for completion in 2010. Now some news outlets report a projected 2016 end, while still others say 2019.
Although Russia may be the first country to take a project like this to completion, it’s not the first to think of it, reports National Geographic. The United States contemplated it back in the 1970s. And more than a dozen countries have expressed interest in such a plant, according to Russian news site RT.
What about the environmental concerns of putting nuclear reactors in the middle of the ocean? “Instead of using highly enriched uranium like traditional Russian icebreakers’ reactors, the Akademik Lomonosov’s units will be modified to run on lightly enriched uranium that conform to the International Atomic Energy Commission rules aimed at preventing fuel from being stolen and diverted for use in nuclear weapons,” Inhabitat states. “The ship’s owner has also said that the reactors would be ‘resilient in a disaster,’ though they don’t cite what these disasters would be.”
In September, two nuclear reactors were installed in the vessel’s hull, a Rosatom news release reported. “Work on the project has intensified in the past months,” notes Sergey Zavyalov of Rosatom, “which gives us strong confidence that the floating unit will be ready in time.” But will the world be ready?
July was the 4th warmest such since 1880 according to NOAA and the 11th warmest according to NASA data (the difference in assessments is due to several factors which I’ll discuss in a future blog). It was unusually cool in the central portion of the U.S. while record warmth was observed in parts of the U.S. Northwest, Scandinavia and the Baltic nations. Several powerful typhoons made landfall in East Asia and Hurricane Arthur took a swipe at North Carolina.
A tropical wave located in the Central Atlantic near 10°N 50.5°W, about 800 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, was designated Invest 96L by NHC on Tuesday afternoon, and is headed westwards to west-northwestwards at about 10 - 15 mph. Two of our three reliable models for predicting tropical cyclone genesis, the UKMET and GFS models, predicted that 96L would develop into a tropical storm after passing through the Lesser Antilles. When both of these models show development, the odds increase that development will occur.
This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.
Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.
Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.