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Underwater nuclear power stations for the English Channel?

 
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Aurora



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:46 pm    Post subject: Underwater nuclear power stations for the English Channel? Reply with quote

Quote:
The Ecologist - 17/02/11



Plans for undersea nuclear power reactors around the coast of France could see a boom in uptake of the technology - but serious questions about costs and waste disposal remain unanswered.

Since the oil shocks of the 1970’s the French government has invested heavily in nuclear power. At that time, most of the electricity in France came from oil fired power stations, and the oil was imported mostly from the Middle East. With no oil or gas fields of its own and coal fields almost exhausted, it began a large-scale nuclear energy programme.

There are now 58 nuclear reactors in France, which provide nearly 80 per cent of the country’s electricity supply. Now, in a bid to bring dependable energy to remote coastal communities, the French government has decided to give the green light to a different kind of nuclear power programme - smaller nuclear reactors to be based on the ocean floor.

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clv101
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could be a pretty neat idea. Marine reactors build by the 10s or 100s and deployed like this or the Russian floating model change the economics of nuclear power considerably.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read that this morning and couldn't immediately see the point of it. Handy supply of cooling water of course.

Why bother putting them somewhere really awkward to get at? If small nukes are so smart why not put them in city centres and anywhere else close to market?
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess it would be to get around planning objections?

Personally I'd prefer a land-based unit to an underwater one.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
Why bother putting them somewhere really awkward to get at?
You don't need to get at them, that's basically the whole point. The US aircraft carriers run for 20-25 years on a single fuel load. 10s of MW can be delivered with very little on going maintenance. The economics of these designs get really interesting if deployed in the commercial sector in volume.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reactor may be pretty maintenance free but surely the turbines and generators will have moving part that need greasing and then replacing. This isn't solid state electricity generation.
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard it said (might be wrong) that there can be as little as 6 feet of clearance between an oil tanker and the bottom of the English Channel/LaManche. So, erm, you have to hope they get their sums right...
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adam2
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
The reactor may be pretty maintenance free but surely the turbines and generators will have moving part that need greasing and then replacing. This isn't solid state electricity generation.


Agree entirely, the nuclear reactors used on ships and in submarines do indeed run for many years without refueling, but the related equipment needs regular attention from a number of skilled engineers, certainly not fit and forget.

If nuclear power is to be used at all it should be where we can easily get at it for maintenance and repair. Since a lot of cooling water is required this suggests a coastal location but not too low lying owing the likely increase in sea level.
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