Environmental Engineering Reference
Considering the Alternatives
Solar power, wind power, geothermal power, and water power
are clean and renewable. Currently, the i rst three supply only a
tiny portion of the world's electricity—approximately 2 percent
in the year 2005. Water power supplies slightly more than the
amount produced by nuclear power. Water power, however, is
available only in certain areas.
Many people would like to see solar and wind power largely
replace fossil fuels as primary sources for electricity. For that to
happen, solar and wind power would have to become cheaper
A fl oating nuclear power plant would be a handy thing. Such a plant
could be assembled at a factory and then towed to wherever it was
needed. Russia has plans to make several fl oating plants. The fi rst,
being built in St. Petersburg, may be ready for use by the year 2012.
The plant will have two reactors, each with an electricity capacity of
35 megawatts. The U.S. Army did something similar years ago when
it put a small reactor on an old cargo ship. From 1968 to 1975,
the ship supplied power and water for a shore base in the Panama
Some people worry about the safety of fl oating nuclear plants.
They say that such plants could sink, which would pose a danger to
the surrounding area, since radioactivity could be released. Critics
also state that such plants would be more prone to terrorist
attacks than land-based plants.