In a scheme straight out of the playbook of a Bond villain, Russia is building eight floating nuclear reactors — the first of their kind in the world — in order to dominate oil and gas exploration in the Arctic ocean. (Now that it’s increasingly ice-free, the Arctic is way easier to float things around in — thanks, global warming!)
Russia also plans to sell the reactors abroad, and has seen interest from China, Algeria and Indonesia. Each will cost $335 million, and has the additional ability to purify seawater into fresh water.
The litany of disasters that could befall one of these floating behemoths is long and fantastical — it’s basically Deepwater Horizon plus Fukushima Daiichi, plus imagine what Somali pirates could do with a floating nuke, if you dare. But its manufacturer says the platforms should be entirely safe, and would they lie to you?
"We have 50 years experience operating a fleet of nuclear powered icebreakers… we've never had any malfunctions," notes a spokesman. Tell that to the melted-down nuclear icebreaker core now entombed at the bottom of Tsivolki Bay.