The concept of floating nuclear power plants recently resurfaced. It is under review in Siberia, led by Russia, and a potential fleet is under consideration for the South China Sea by China. Sounds like something from science fiction except that it was contemplated almost 50 years in the past. PSE&G contracted to have two nuclear power plants built at a shipyard in Florida and then floated up to the New Jersey coast. The project was cancelled in 1978 in part because the 1970s energy crisis caused local power demand to fall off.
Pictured below is Russia’s Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power station as it was being readied in St. Petersburg earlier in 2017 (photo: Peter Kovalev/Tass/Zuma Press).
Strong interest exists in emission-free energy sources. Energy demand remains high among developing countries pushing electrification across their nation to better serve their citizens. If floating nuclear plants can find a deep-pocketed visionary (e.g., Elon Musk with electric cars or Jeff Bezos with space travel), then the idea of floating nuclear plants may have potential and could warrant private sector re-examination.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Floating Nuclear Power Plants: China is Far from First
Power Magazine: China Starts Building Floating Nuclear Power Plant
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required): The Idea of Floating Nuclear Power Plants Gets a New Look
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