MIT Researchers Say Floating Nuclear Plants Could Ride Out Tsunamis

Posted on April 18, 2014

Floating Nuclear Plant Design

MIT researchers have presented a design for a floating nuclear plant. The researchers say the floating plant could survive earthquakes and tsunamis and avoid disasters like the tsunami that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2011. The reactor concept is being presented this week at the Small Modular Reactors Symposium.

Interior view of Floating Nuclear Plant Design concept

Jacopo Buongiorno, Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, explains the concept in this video. He note that Russia is already building a floating nuclear plant. An underwater electric transmission line would deliver power to the plant. Buongiorno says the ocean could be used as an infinite heat sink for the reactor. Concerns about the reactor would be that if there is a leak it could contaminate the coastline and the water close to the shore. Buongiorno says the plant would be far enough away that people inland would not have to evacuate if there was an accident. Take a look:

Photo: Jake Jurewicz/MIT-NSE