Floating nightmare

the world's first floating nuclear power plant, already under construction in Russia, will start operating by the year 2001. While Russian engineers are eagerly calculating its export potential, the project has sent alarming signals among environmentalists. They argue that the threat of ecological catastrophe from accidents caused by oil tankers will be nothing as compared to a sea disaster involving a floating power plant.

It has long been on Russia's agenda to build a series of small floating nuclear power plants for use in remote regions which are not connected to the national grid and to replace thermal nuclear power plants that have grown too expensive because of high fuel transportation costs.

However, Western environmentalists are seeing red. According to Antony Froggatt of the Greenpeace nuclear campaign in London, the floating power plants do not even have the kind of protection that the Chernobyl plant had. The float-ing reactors pose an obvious threat to both the marine and land environments.

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