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Published on July 9th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

10

Russians to Drill Melting Arctic with Nukes

July 9th, 2009 by  


Whats even dumber and more shortsighted than drilling the melting arctic for the last drops of oil? Drilling the melting Arctic for those last drops of oil using nuclear power.

In a cavalier act of ecological vandalism, and driven by frank Russian acknowledgement of imminent peak oil in heartland Siberia, the imposingly named The United Industrial Corporation, is planning to build a series of floating power stations to circle the arctic with nuclear-powered oil drilling capability.

According to nuclear experts, oil mining companies like Gazprom; Russia’s biggest company – will use the Russian-built floating nuclear reactors to extract oil and gas offshore in some of the remotest oil and gas fields in the world in the Barents and Kara seas.

Officials said this week that the world’s first floating nuclear power plant The FNPS will go into operation on Russia’s eastern coast by the end of 2012. The United Industrial Corporation O.P.K. is building the plant on a ship 472 feet long and 98 feet wide to accommodate a pair of 35 megawatt reactors.

While rendering land-based NIMBY objections moot, putting reactors at sea is likely to raise questions about safety under the extreme weather conditions found at sea, vulnerability to terrorism, and disposal of radioactive waste.

It’s unlikely the Russians give a damn about NIMBYs:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation dumped radioactive waste from more than 160 decommissioned nuclear submarines into the arctic. In 1993, per Nuclear Power Daily 16 nuclear reactors and 10,000 containers of nuclear waste were dumped in the Kara and Barents sea.

During the Cold War, the Soviet arctic was a nuclear test zone with pollution from the Soviet military program leaving a “slow-motion Chernobyl” in excess of 3 billion curies of radioactivity. (By comparison, Chernobyl itself released only 100 million curies)

Image via Svetlana Bogdanova

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



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