Floating nuclear plants→
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, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station — that caused most of the harm.
A new design for nuclear plants built on floating platforms, modeled after those used for offshore oil drilling, could help avoid such consequences in the future. Such floating plants would be designed to be automatically cooled by the surrounding seawater in a worst-case scenario, which would indefinitely prevent any melting of fuel rods, or escape of radioactive material.
It shouldn’t be too hard to build this, it was one of the first applications of nuclear power, after all, and remains one of the most popular – look at how many nuclear submarines we’ve got, and that’s ignoring our aircraft carriers which are, for all intents and purposes, floating cities with their own onboard nuclear power plants.1
Fun fact, I did the math once and the nuclear reactor on a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, paired with some godawful amount of ‘EmDrive’ thrusters operating at their peak theoretical capacity, would be capable of lifting about 10% more than the displacement weight of said Nimitz-class carrier.
Or, in simple terms, if those EmDrive thrusters perform at any more than 90% of their theoretical maximum, I can build a helicarrier. ↩