This article elaborates the advantages of underground nuclear parks over conventional nuclear power plant designs. Locating the reactors a few hundred feet underground in bedrock at a suitable site eliminates the need for containment structures, and the site would be largely impervious to physical attack from terrorists. (Indeed, it would be far easier to secure the few access points to an underground nuclear park than it is to protect the large perimeter of an isolated nuclear power plant.) A properly constructed underground facility would also be less subject to weather-related construction delays or the effects of hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, or heat waves. Also, if designers were careful in the site selection, an underground nuclear park could virtually eliminate the transportation of hazardous nuclear waste material. Spent nuclear fuel could be moved via tunnel from the reactors to an array of storage tunnels; high-level waste could be permanently stored in another set of tunnels. When the reactors reach the end of their productive life, they can be decommissioned in place.
Below the Horizon
Kellen M. Giraud is a nuclear engineer for Babcock and Wilcox and a Ph.D. student at Idaho State University.
Jay F. Kunze, a licensed professional engineer and an ASME Fellow, is professor and chair of nuclear engineering at Idaho State University.
James M. Mahar is a geotechnical engineer and licensed geologist, and professor of civil engineering at Idaho State University.
Carl W. Myers is an affiliate at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was the director of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division before his retirement.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Giraud, K. M., Kunze, J. F., Mahar, J. M., and Myers, C. W. (December 1, 2010). "Below the Horizon." ASME. Mechanical Engineering. December 2010; 132(12): 30–34. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2010-Dec-2
Download citation file: