Underwater Nuclear Pros and Cons

by Matthew Formby


  1. Room for growth, more reactors facilities
  2. More inexpensive than regular, full sized reactors
    • The disparity between output and cost can be made up
  3. Out of sight, out of mind
  4. Protection by Navy
    • Reduced risk of enemy attack i.e. terrorist, enemy nation, rogue state etc
  5. Away from population centers
    • Major hindrance to nuclear growth is public opinion and proximity to people
  6. Underwater
    • Much less volatile environment
      • Conditions are steady at ocean floor
      • Unaffected by surface conditions
      • No risk of collision with ships, given surface stations
      • Easily defensible, more so than land
      • Passive cooling - Infinite amount of water, heat sink--if designed properly
  7. Navy affiliated -- quality training, discipline, safety etc
  8. Generates fresh water, desalination
    • Used for social programs: limitless possibilities
    • If desalinated water stored, could be used for scramming
  9. With most electricity production in ocean, more room on land
    • Reduce "eye sores"
    • Open up previously occupied land
  10. Hydrolyze and electrolyze water
    • Generate hydrogen and oxygen
    • Can be used to supplement other renewable resource electricity production
    • Hydrogen production for fuel could offset petroleum
  11. Fast/Breeder reactors
    • Severely reduce waste
    • Allow for longer availability of fissionable material
  12. With this plan, majority of electricity produced by nuclear
    • Severe cut to greenhouse gas emissions
    • Huge step towards energy independence
  13. When in full scale, electricity would be in surplus
    • Electricity exportation
    • Cheap electricity
    • Excess electricity used for social programs: all options included
  14. Mass production reduces construction complications
    • More reliable level of safety
    • Faster production
    • Less costs
  15. Dry dock facilities have experienced personnel with building submersibles and installing reactors
  16. Controlled environment for building, repair, and refit
    • Low threat of proliferation or safety breach
  17. Entire station can be produced in same location
  18. Cost of electrical transmission cable is insignificant to everything else, therefore, distance and depth of station largely irrelevant
  19. All technology is either developed or is being developed currently
    • Only slight modifications to designs would be necessary, if any
    • By the time this plan got off and running, reactor issue could be solved
  20. Social Programs Possible
    • Electrify land transportation
    • Use desalinated water to generate new livable environments in arid climates
    • Better hydrogen fuel availability for industry, transportation, and more
  21. Standard maintenance
    • Reduce size of station
      • Less storage: fuel, waste, crew supplies, etc
    • Minimize risk of anything bad happening: engine malfunction, radiation leak, etc
    • Offload dangerous waste
    • Rotate crews, increased morale and increased safety
  22. Can be rapidly deployed to support humanitarian crises
    • Tsunami of 2005
    • Hurricane/Typhoon relief
    • Other natural/unnatural disasters
  23. Can be used to support military expeditionary efforts
    • Submerged idea clearly superior over floating stations: i.e. see MH1A Sturgis and Russian created Akademic Lomonosov
    • Safety: weather, proliferation, destruction,
    • Smaller crew and construction size comparatively (Russian vessel uses about 70 crew members, so original estimate of 120 crew on Navy Tech version likely an overestimation)
    • Submerged idea already being heavily pursued by French
    • FlexBlue by DCNS (slightly different in output, among other things)
    • Therefore, demonstrates large amounts of merit (France a leader in nuclear technology and utilization)
  24. Great item for exportation
    • Especially if costs can be minimized
  25. Especially useful for island nations or territories


  1. Expensive
    • Construction, training, wages, insurance, security, fuel, maintenance, etc
  2. Time
    • Would take a lot of time to implement, fully or partially
    • Training
    • Construction/maintenance
  3. Change around electrical grid and infrastructure to support majority of electricity coming from coast
  4. May be economic repercussions due to change over from fossil fuels
    • Power companies would likely fight tooth and nail to not lose their stake
  5. Difficult to get American populace on board with nuclear power as primary source of energy
    • Nuclear already viewed quite negatively by general population
  6. Likely a big battle with environmentalists, especially marine oriented
    • Radiation leaks
    • Heat from reactors would disturb natural ocean life
  7. Potential for contamination on ocean floor: multiple sources
    • Man: Terrorism, rogue state, enemy attack
    • Nature: flora/fauna, earthquake, other natural disasters
    • Would be difficult, if not impossible, to contain
  8. Need to be protected from dangers
    • More cost dedicated to protection
    • Likely pay for own specialized security force
  9. Nuclear fuel may be strained, depending on type of reactor used, with such an increase in nuclear power
    • Possibly would have to develop/implement new reactors IF uranium ran out
  10. Nuclear waste storage
    • With more fuel being used, there will be more waste
    • Waste is big concern  to store safely
    • US may need to develop a reprocessing center similar to La Hague, salvage some waste without relying on France