Paper: Nuclear meltdown at sea “would have a far more devastating effect” than on land — Thousands of cubic miles of ocean contaminated

Published: February 26th, 2013 at 2:38 pm ET
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Title: The American Plan to Build Nuclear Power Plants in the Ocean
Source: Smithsonian
Author:  Matt Novak
Date: February 26, 2013

[...] Godron P. Selfridge’s 1975 paper “Floating Nuclear Power Plants: A Fleet on the Horizon?” notes the concern over access to water:

Since nuclear power plants have a tremendous impact on the surrounding community, problems and confrontations on land have contributed to the impending move offshore. Physically, the plants consume enormous amounts of water for cooling and steam production and emit low-level radiation. With reference to the “once-through” cooling water necessary for the plants’ operation, one study has projected that the demand for such coolant will encompass over fifty percent of the entire runoff from the continental United States in only twenty-five years unless the plants are moved offshore. The possibile ecological impact of running half our river water through nuclear power pants has led many to conclude that such plants would be better built in the coastal zone. [...]

Selfridge wrote in 1975 (even before Three Mile Island) about the difference between an accident on land and one in the ocean: “A similar accident at sea, however, would have a far more devastating effect. A meltdown at sea would not create its own glazed insulation chamber. The poisonous reactor core would melt through the barge and descend into the hydrosphere where the radioactive core would contaminate thousands of cubic miles of ocean. Some radiation would be released to the atmosphere, the rest would enter the marine food chain. Radioactive contamination of the entire northwest Atlantic food chain for hundreds of years from one meltdown is a conceivable scenario.”

See also: "Chernobyl was much more contained than Fukushima" -- "With Fukushima, there's a much better distribution system, which is the ocean currents" (VIDEO)

Published: February 26th, 2013 at 2:38 pm ET
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25 comments

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25 comments to Paper: Nuclear meltdown at sea “would have a far more devastating effect” than on land — Thousands of cubic miles of ocean contaminated

  • Jay

    We already been there , it's the radioactive Rain that will poison our food around the world ! And then collect in our soil and water .

    One more time , for the record , let me suggest the Foam solution .

    The Concept : A foam like a Hepa filter , sponge-like in microstructure that collects , sticks to particles , and that should cover completely the entire Fukushima Plant ( all buildings ) in a thick layer .

    That should stop all radioactive particles from escaping .

    Among many varieties of foams we should chose one that maybe is expending , strong enough to walk on after curing and resist high winds , light in weight , water proof yet maybe ( ? ) allows the water through , sticks to radioactive particles and collects them , and of course the foam must be radiation resistant .

    Eventually its microstructure will clog enough to plug the entire Fukushima complex and reduce the radioactive emisions to zero particles .

    If needed , the cured foam can be cut , removed and the volume re-sprayed .

    If you speak Japanese please translate it and send it to TEPCO , thanks !


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  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    Considering the coriums have reached the seawater table, and the water being sprayed in is flowing into the ocean, we are pretty close there now.

    And with liquifaction taking the whole place into the sea shortly, we're going to end up with the same scenario.

    On the other hand, the Russians are already three years in on building their own floating NPP. Here's a video guided tour:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11371536

    No one gives a damn about the potential consequences. Good luck finding anyone that gives a damn about the foam, even if it is a good idea.


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    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      As stated above "an accident at sea would have a far more devastating effect, descending into the hydrosphere contaminating thousanda of cubic miles of ocean" So why would they even consider such an insane act as we currently have three coriums on the loose and numerous spent fuel pools hanging like Damocles sword. The plankton in the Pacific is contaminated and ….ahh I'm rendered speechless. Perhaps the only positive.
      lol


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    • We Not They Finally

      Time is short..I agree that we are there now.The pacific ocean is getting more and more contaminated day by day. certain flow charts seem predictive of the entire basin between Japan and the west coast of the USA maybe totally contaminated by 10 yrs… Then we have the nightmare of contaminated rain falling all over North America…


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Only a moron would consider allowing a nuclear plant. Reactors blow, melt, and can't be turned off. And the storage leaks into our drinking water.


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  • Sol Man

    The most hideous of devices have been pushed onto the world for the greatest amount of cash flow for a few, and at the risk to the entire planet. It seems we stand at the threshold.


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  • buzzz buzzz

    The 38 year old knowledge contained in the original article still costs USD 30.

    "Purchase Short-Term Access to HeinOnline
    Prices starting as low as $29.95"
    (http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/envlnw6&div=36&id=&page=)

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?


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  • nedlifromvermont

    imagine it … in 1975, with a clever Carter, we could have aborted the march toward nuclear …

    instead we face this evil music together … we fight the evil genius of profiting from uranium fission … instead of working together as mutual, vulnerable humans, to rid the world, best we can, of this marauding specter of annihilation through invisible radiation insult …

    peace …


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    • We Not They Finally

      Someone would have had to have been clever long before Carter. Go all the way back to Eisenhower and his "atoms for peace." He had not even a CLUE that this was a handmaiden to the defense industry? That it was all about building nuclear bombs? And this was the great hero warning about the military industrial complex? Not a single U.S. leader has put themselves on the line over this. Not a single U.S. leader has ever put humanity to the forefront over this. Shame and disgracce on all of them. (Though I don't actually know whether Carter even tried. He's done good things since he left office.)


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  • We Not They Finally

    Why do these people (or anyone) think that one can un-do crimes by COMPOUNDING them? People want to build nuclear reactors over the ocean? O.k. Let them LIVE there. Let them BREATHE it. Let them have no life raft for escape even, if/when it does south. Let them turn THEIR OWN lives into guinea pigs. The CRIMINALITY of people even THINKING of plotting this at this late date.


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Ah yes! The good old days!

    A time not very long ago when we actually had people that could accomplish the skill we once called "Critical Thinking".

    Only problem was that no one ever paid attention to what they actually had to say!

    Has anything changed?


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  • Johnny Blade

    IMO they are just so stubborn & stupid to have "plotted" anything if they're too fucking blind to what their poisons are doing to themselves & their own bloodlines & renders their valuables as worthless as "the person they're printed on"! They're much more worried about losing investors than losing the working stiffs who won't be around much longer at the rate things are going now and probably actually believe their own lies after hearing themselves spewing BS for so long and are just too stupid & morally bankrupt for us to expect they will ever come around to making the shift to sensible alternatives other than evenly distributing death & corruption per "business as usual" or maybe the "big secret" is that they HAVE developed the technology to "neutralize" or "undo" enough of the harm their spewing death traps have caused,but want to hold out until they can "maximize profit" by billing the public for the clean-up of the messes THEY created the same way the bank industry "nuked" themselves nearly into oblivion on the chance that they'd be bailed out by the taxpaying public,but this time a few million deaths to "scare the bejeebers outta us" into gladly paying through the nose at "100+K per barrel,pre-Fuku-D,nuke-waste treatment rates-while pocketing the post-"breakthrough"fraction of the cost difference??!! Still utterly STUPID,but slightly better than "stupid & F'ing hopeless"!! TPTB are narrow-minded imbeciles in ANY case!! :| ~**


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    • We Not They Finally

      If profit is the motive. Their thinking must be damn the torpedoes full steam ahead just like DR Stangelove and the doomsday bomb.When a sparse population is left they might try to change in the last of the last days but by then it will be far too late….The human experiment will have failed.If we do continue to exist in the infinite universes it will be as something else other than human….


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  • razzz razzz

    Wouldn't this be considered as part of global warming? NPP are only about 30% efficient, the remaining 70% is waste heat that either goes up into the atmosphere via cooling towers or heats the nearby waters through discharge pipes.

    Notice the article never says heating up the local waters besides I bet the outfalls are rich in tritium.

    "…With reference to the “once-through” cooling water necessary for the plants’ operation, one study has projected that the demand for such coolant will encompass over fifty percent of the entire runoff from the continental United States in only twenty-five years unless the plants are moved offshore. The possibile ecological impact of running half our river water through nuclear power pants has led many to conclude that such plants would be better built in the coastal zone…"


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  • Johnny Blade

    Seems like the answer to questions about the risks posed by ANY nuke plants even near an ocean can be answered even without the long MIA radiation testing results and the connection can be made by the [WARNING!]-GRAPHIC & DISTURBING-images found in this file! http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/mmm/walrus/pdf/Q&A_June2012.pdf SAD! :(


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  • We Not They Finally

    Yes things have definitely changed from bad to catastrophic.
    Without a doubt we are finally engaged in the last days determined to make earth a planet without atmospere or life.But the "elite" will be counting their cash prior to the end of the end….At least our alien friends wont eat us our meat will be to contaminated…. i think highly evolved beings will leave humanity to their fate….


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