Offshore floating nuclear plant group to crowdsource ideas for new reactor design

Jun 03, 2014
The illustration shows a 3-D cut view of MIT Offshore Floating Nuclear Plant. Credit: Jake Jurewicz/MIT-NSE

A team led by Jacopo Buongiorno, an associate professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, is developing a new concept for an offshore nuclear power plant on a floating platform, much like the ones commonly used for oil and gas production.

The concept proposes a plant that can be built in a shipyard and towed on a to a site where it can be anchored a few miles off the coast in relatively . There, it can be connected to the grid via an underwater transmission line. The plant would be unaffected by earthquakes and would also "ride out" tsunamis, which have low wave heights in deep water.

In addition to centralized construction these plants would provide easier siting and enhanced safety: Proximity to the ocean heat sink assures that reactor cooling can be maintained reliably and without external intervention, even during hypothetical accidents.

The group has launched an MIT wiki webpage to crowdsource design ideas for the new nuclear plant concept. The webpage describes the current design along with areas the researchers would like to address through crowdsourcing. These areas include any aspect of the design, strategies for dealing with ship collisions and possible underwater attacks, and proposals for any aspect that may not have been addressed by the current concept.

This illustration shows a possible configuration of a floating offshore nuclear plant, based on design work by Jacopo Buongiorno and others at MIT's Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Like offshore oil drilling platforms, the structure would include living quarters and a helipad for transportation to the site. Credit: Jake Jurewicz/MIT-NSE

The group has announced a call for proposals and is encouraging students to contribute individually or in teams, and is offering prizes for winning ideas.

The illustration shows a 2-D lateral view of the offshore floating plant platform showing the reactor pressure vessel (RPV), the containment, the flooded chamber, and the spent fuel pool. Credit: Jake Jurewicz/MIT-NSE


Explore further: Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

Apr 16, 2014

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

Russians to deploy floating nuclear power plant

Jul 10, 2013

(Phys.org) —The general director of one of Russia's largest shipbuilders, Aleksandr Voznesensky, has announced to reporters that a floating nuclear power plant is currently under construction at one of ...

Wind power—even without the wind

Apr 26, 2013

Offshore wind could provide abundant electricity—but as with solar energy, this power supply can be intermittent and unpredictable. But a new approach from researchers at MIT could mitigate that problem, ...

Finding the keys to boiling heat transfer

Jul 16, 2013

A team of MIT researchers has succeeded in carrying out the first systematic investigation of the factors that control boiling heat transfer from a surface to a liquid. This process is crucial to the efficiency of power plants ...

Recommended for you

Cool roofs in China can save energy and reduce emissions

2 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Working with Chinese researchers, the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has conducted the first comprehensive study of cool roofs in China and concluded ...

Indonesia passes law to tap volcano power

Aug 26, 2014

The Indonesian parliament on Tuesday passed a long-awaited law to bolster the geothermal energy industry and tap the power of the vast archipelago's scores of volcanoes.

Expert calls for nuke plant closure (Update)

Aug 25, 2014

A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California's last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility's twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Osiris1
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
The thing will do fine! Underwater based cooling a good idea in a perfect world. That is, er, until the North Koreans, Pakistani ultras, Taliban, or al-Quada or maybe even the 'South Moluccan Liberation Organization or Symbionese Liberation Army or whatever idiots in possession by however means of a submarine, ship, craft or whatever decide to torpedo and sink it.
Modernmystic
5 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
Yeah because they've had SUCH good luck on land doing that and that's...like...ten times easier than doing it at sea.
WillieWard
1 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
I still think that a fusion power plant would be much safer than a fission because the reaction can be very well controlled and a shutdown considerably easier in case of critical situations.
http://www.youtub...7j5k-_G8
HTK
5 / 5 (1) Jun 03, 2014
yes and when it explodes the sea doesn't move and the radiation will not spread across the globe. And marine life is immune to radiation too.
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2014
I still think that a fusion power plant would be much safer than a fission because the reaction can be very well controlled and a shutdown considerably easier in case of critical situations.
http://www.youtub...7j5k-_G8


Perhaps you are not aware that fusion power plants do not exist yet?

So in that regard you're correct in the same sense that unicorns are safer than horses.