In an era of so-called “big power competition” between China and Russia, the Pentagon wants a distributed deployment in the Pacific, spreading its main force across multiple island bases in the Pacific to prevent a “pot of fire” from rivals. It is conceivable, however, that the re-construction of military bases on these islands will be a huge project. To reduce logistical dependence and increase deployment flexibility, the U.S. Army has come up with an ambitious plan to develop mobile nuclear reactors to provide flexible power to these bases.
The old driver’s feeling is that Americans really dare to think… In recent years, the safety of nuclear power plants has become the focus of national controversy, mobile nuclear reactor safety certainly can not be compared with nuclear power plants, not to mention the military base equipped with nuclear reactors once attacked, the consequences can be really unimaginable …
The mobile reactor is small, weighs less than 40 tons and has been in operation for more than three years, providing 5 megawatts of electricity, the Navy Times said on May 1. Nuclear reactors can be transported through the U.S. military’s military shipping system and land tactical vehicles, and can also be loaded into a C-17 transport aircraft for air transport. It provides a stable power supply to U.S. Navy and Air Force facilities in Guam, Kwajalin Atoll and other places.
Americans not only dare to think, but also dare to do.
Reported that the code-named “Bailey Plan” mobile nuclear reactor project concept design by three nuclear reactor companies are responsible for research and development, plans to complete the bidding in 2022, the allocation of $133 million from 2023 to start testing, construction and verification, 2027 into operation.
The Pentagon’s decision could scare several U.S. nuclear scientists. Edwin Lyman, director of the Nuclear Safety Program at the Union of American Scientists, for example, strongly opposes the plan, calling it “naïve.” Alan Cooperman, an expert on the Nuclear Proliferation Program at the University of Texas at Austin, recently released a 21-page report denouncing the program as “extremely disturbing” and “completely based on lies.”
Cooperman cites problems with a range of mobile nuclear reactors.
The first is the high cost. The U.S. Army says nuclear reactors could provide cheaper power to future forward bases, but this is “based on unrealistic assumptions.” The U.S. Army’s vision is that reactors would be low-cost to build and could run for 18 hours a day for 40 years. But the more likely reality is that mobile reactors run for only half the time a day and have to be decommissioned for only 10 years, meaning that the cost of nuclear power is 16 times higher than estimated and seven times higher than diesel power generation.
Vulnerability to missile attack – The report warns that more than 100 U.S. military personnel have been wounded in an Iranian missile attack on Iraq’s Assad air base in 2020, even though it has been warned in advance. It is hard to imagine what would happen if the nuclear reactors deployed at the base were attacked. Even if the U.S. Army plans to bury the reactors underground, the attack could cause the cooling system to fail, which could lead to meltdown, Cooperman said.
Nuclear materials could be lost – radioactive waste from mobile reactors could be used for “dirty bomb” attacks if they are exceeded or abandoned.
Transportation problems – The U.S. Army wants to airlift nuclear reactors to forward bases, but that would create a “regulatory nightmare.” Because the transport of such nuclear reactors in foreign countries requires approval from the countries involved in transit, and the deployment of such reactors is subject to approval, the difficulty is conceivable. And safety issues in transit are equally insurable.
But can the Pentagon accept the scientists’ persuasion? The old driver thought it might be hard. Think of all the toxic waste that the U.S. military dumped near bases in Japan and South Korea, and perhaps in their view, the damage caused by mobile reactors is about the same.
What’s more, in addition to mobile nuclear reactors can meet the U. S. military’s current urgent war readiness needs, it also represents a super military cake ah, as yesterday a netizen in our background message mentioned: “This is a military complex kidnapped by the country.” ”