When the Russian-Ukraine War broke out in February last year, the global energy sector faced a massive shockwave, particularly to those highly relying on Russian energy. As one of the most important exporters of traditional energy, such as coals and oils, Russia had control over most of the European continents and misused such advantages throughout the war, forcing the Europeans to seek energy alternatives, due November 2022, the EU’s import of Russian energy has significantly dropped to 12.1%, from 41.2% in December 2021, before the war broke out. Meanwhile, other countries in the Global South like Japan also faced similar energy challenges, balancing between following the western bloc and reducing Russian imports, versus inner energy security challenges. As a result, different countries have attempted to reconstruct their energy structure, adjusting imports from different global regions, and rediscovering green energy possibilities. Japan, though facing strong opposition, recently have allowed reusing nuclear energy for its own energy security, despite the devastating disaster of Fukushima in 2011, when a great tsunami induced by the earthquake severely damaged the power plant, causing the plant to overheat and a hydrogen explosion is resulted, with the leakage of radioactive wastes.
After the Fukushima disaster, the usage of nuclear energy has become more controversial. While it is undoubted to be cleaner than the traditional burning of fossil fuels and ismore efficient, it must be treated with great caution for nuclear materials and waste. Traditional nuclear plants are built on land with their highly recognizable appearance, normally with easy access to coolant water.
Yet a British energy technology startup, Core Power, has provided a brand new idea for energy nuclear energy production, instead of having nuclear plants near shore
The idea was born in consideration of how island states seek advanced clean power production, the company came up with the new design of having several floating power stations on ships offshore, including nuclear power plants. With the ship designs, it will be easier to scale the size of production, equipped with up-to-date technologies like molten chloride reactors that can help remove extra procedures to pressurize equipment in traditional solid-fuel nuclear power plants, aiming to achieve zero-carbon emission power production, with other side benefits like incorporating desalination plants that can help provide more fresh water.
Most importantly, with plants located on ships, unlike traditional plants that are fixed, and directly exposed to natural hazards like tsunamis induced by earthquakes, these ships are more flexible and have greater immunity towards these dangers, an essential for island countries that are greatly exposed to frequent earthquakes.
The project has recently gained more attention, including from Japan, an island country that islooking to re-pick up nuclear energy expansion. Japanese ship producers like Onomochi Dockyard, has announced on May 22, 2023, that with 12 other Japanese companies, they will invest a total of 80 million ($USD) in its floating nuclear power plant project, in seek of smaller, safer, and more efficient energy alternative. The new investment, including a new allocation of shares of the company, has turned the company to be majorly owned by Japanese companies. Despite still facing great challenges in realization, the concept of over-sea plants may provide a solution needed in the era where countries are actively seeking energy transitions, and with the new round of support from the Japanese, new alternative energy options might be possible in soon future.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in