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The floating nuclear reactors would provide power and heat to Arctic regions

Russia's Atomic Power Agency and an Arctic military shipbuilding plant have both agreed to build the world's first commercial floating nuclear fission reactor, which should be in use in as early as 2010.  The first floating reactor that Rosenergoatom and Sevmash build is estimated to cost around $336 million -- it will be deployed in a remote, sparsely-populated region on Siberia's northern coast, where electric and thermal supply is very limited.  Russian president Vladimir Putin hopes to bump the nation's electricity generated by nuclear reactors from 17 percent to 25 percent.   

Although Russian authorities believe floating nuclear plants are safe, not everyone is as supportive.  Environmentalists like Charles Digges, editor of a Norwegian and Russian arctic nuclear publication, believes that floating nuclear plants are "absolutely unsafe - inherently so."  However, the head of Russia's Federal Atomic Power Agency has dismissed all criticism while saying that there will not be a floating Chernobyl incident.

Nuclear fission isn't the only game in town anymore.  ITER, JT-60 and EAST are all racing to increase the world's knowledge on nuclear fusion as well.

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The waste is the danger
By johnnyMon on 6/19/2006 2:17:26 PM , Rating: 1
Commercial nuclear power shouldn't be expanded until there's a STABLE and LONG-TERM method for dealing with the waste.

First, this method must be put in place, and the existing waste should be transferred there. The meltdown risk is nothing compared to the issue of the waste they generate.

RE: The waste is the danger
By masher2 on 6/19/2006 2:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear waste is an issue solved long ago. The truly high-level waste decays rapidly...six months or less in a cooling pond and its down to a small fraction of its original value. As for mid-level waste, a multiplicity of solutions abound. Storage in any arid region is more than safe enough. The solutions currently on the table are down to one chance in ten million of any serious leak, even over a period exceeding several thousand years. Even then you have to assume a major earthquake, shifting of natural aquifers AND no remedial action taken when it occurs....and STILL the enviro-wackos claim its not safe enough. The truth is, nothing will ever satisfy them. They don't want nuclear power, period.

The simplest solution? Drop it in one of the many deep trenches in the ocean. There are already countless millions of tons of uranium, thorium, radium, and radioactive potassium in the ocean. Essentially that's all natural nuclear waste...left over from when the world was formed. And its far more than we'll ever create on our own.

RE: The waste is the danger
By patentman on 6/19/2006 3:13:28 PM , Rating: 2
There are stabl,e and long term solutions to dealing with the waste.

For example:

1. Large portions of the waste, i.e. isotopes of cobalt, cerium, and iodine, are currently converted to commercial use in smoke detectors, medical tracers, chemotherapy, and other devices.

2. The unusable sludge can be buried easily to cool off over a long period of time, with little risk of leakage.

3. Eventually, though the cost currently is astronomical, it may be possible to build a storage site out in space somewhere.

Nuclear waste is so much less dangeour in my opinion then waste produced at coal fire power plants its not even funny. I worked for an environmental chemist while in undergrad for almost four years. My project focused on re-establishing a fishery in a southwestern virginia lake that had become so acidified due to acid rain and the geology of the bedrock that it could not sustain ANY appreciable life whatsoever. Even blue-green algae had a tough time living in that lake (the pH of the lake was ~3.0 before we stepped in). While some of that acid came from the underlying geology, most of it came from acid rain that was generated by the combination of water with airborne sulfate generated by coal fire power plants in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

At least the waste produced by Nuclear Power is contained and localized, unlike coal-fire, which spews filth into the air and is periodically relieved by congress of its obligations to comply with EPA regulations.

RE: The waste is the danger
By masher2 on 6/19/2006 3:40:13 PM , Rating: 2
> "Nuclear waste is so much less dangeour in my opinion then waste produced at coal fire power plants its not even funny"

Very, very true. I remember years ago, a spokesman for the UK's Generation Board caused quite a stir by telling reporters that a power plant had been releasing into the atmosphere nearly a kilogram of uranium a day for several years.

Turned out he was talking about a coal-fired plant...the uranium was that found naturally in the coal ash.

RE: The waste is the danger
By johnnyMon on 6/19/2006 4:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the responses - they are thought-provoking.

RE: The waste is the danger
By Pirks on 6/19/06, Rating: -1
"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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