双语托福阅读素材:Nuclear energy Putting to sea

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Nuclear energy
Putting to sea
Atomic power stations that float on the ocean or are anchored beneath it may have advantages over those built on land
核能
出海
浮在海面或拴在海底的核电站可能会比陆地上的同类更具优势
AFTER
the events of March 11th 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami led to a meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant in Japan, you might be forgiven for concluding that atomic power and seawater don’t mix. Many engineers, though, do not agree. They would like to see more seawater involved, not less. In fact, they have plans to site nuclear power plants in the ocean rather than on land—either floating on the surface or moored beneath it.2011年3月11日,一场地震和海啸导致日本福岛第一核电站的三座核反应堆熔毁。假如你由此得出结论,称核能和海水不能搅和在一起,那也是情有可原。但许多工程师并不这么想。他们希望掺和进来的海水更多些,而不是更少。实际上,他们已经有各种计划,在海上而非陆地上建造核电站。这些核电站或是漂浮在海面上,或是停泊在海面下。
At first, this sounds a mad idea. It is not. Land-based power stations are bespoke structures, built by the techniques of civil engineering, in which each is slightly different and teams of specialists come and go according to the phase of the project. Marine stations, by contrast, could be mass-produced in factories using, if not the techniques of the assembly line, then at least those of the shipyard, with crews constantly employed.乍一听,这太疯狂了。实则不然。陆上发电站是倚赖土木工程技术建造的定制结构,每座都略有不同,在工程的不同阶段会有各种专家团队来来往往。海上发电站则不同,它们可以在工厂里批量建造,使用的即便不是流水线作业技术,也至少是造船厂的那类技术,而员工是固定的。
That would make power stations at sea cheaper than those on land. Jacopo Buongiorno, a nuclear engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reckons that, when all is done and dusted, electricity from a marine station would cost at least a third less than that from a terrestrial equivalent. It would also make them safer. A reactor anchored on the seabed would never lack emergency cooling, the problem that caused the Fukushima meltdown. Nor would it need to be protected against the risk of terrorists flying an aircraft into it. It would be tsunami-proof, too. Though tsunamis become great and destructive waves when they arrive in shallow water, in the open ocean they are mere ripples. Indeed, were it deep enough (100 metres or so), such a submarine reactor would not even be affected by passing storms.这会让海上发电站比陆上发电站的造价更便宜。麻省理工学院的核电工程师雅各布·布翁焦尔诺(Jacopo Buongiorno)认为,建成后,海上发电站提供的电力价格将比陆上发电站便宜至少三分之一。前者也更安全。一座被锚定在海床上的反应堆永远不缺紧急冷却,而冷却系统失灵正是福岛核电站反应堆熔毁的原因。它也无需防范恐怖分子会驾着飞机撞过来。它还能防海啸——虽然海啸在抵达浅水区时会变成破坏性的巨浪,但在广阔的海域它们只是些微的涟漪。实际上,假如在海面下足够深的地方(100米左右),这样的水下反应堆甚至不会受到过路风暴的影响。
Water power
借助海水
All these reasons, observes Jacques Chénais, an engineer at France’s atomic-energy commission, CEA, make underwater nuclear power stations an idea worth investigating. Dr Chénais is head of small reactors at CEA, and has had experience with one well-established type of underwater reactor—that which powers submarines. He and his team are now assisting Naval Group, a French military contractor, to design reactors that will stay put instead of moving around on a boat. The plan is to encase a reactor and an electricity-generating steam turbine in a steel cylinder the length of a football pitch and with a weight of around 12,000 tonnes.法国原子能和替代能源委员会(CEA)的工程师雅克·舍奈(Jacques
Chénais)认为,所有这些好处使得水下核电站成为一个值得探索的创意。舍奈博士在该委员会主管小型核反应堆部门,在为潜水艇供电这类技术成熟的水下反应堆方面颇有经验。他和团队目前正辅助法国军事承包商海军集团(Naval Group)设计一些反应堆,它们会静止不动,而不是被装在船上四处移动。方法是把一个反应堆和一台发电的蒸汽涡轮机装在一个钢筒里,这个钢筒有一个足球场那么长,重约1.2万吨。
The whole system, dubbed Flexblue, would be anchored to the seabed between five and 15km from the coast—far enough for safety in case of an emergency, but near enough to be serviced easily. The electricity generated (up to 250 megawatts, enough for 1m people) would be transmitted ashore by an undersea cable. For refuelling and maintenance unmanageable from a submarine, the cylinder would be floated to the surface with air injected into its ballast tanks. And, when a station came to the end of its useful life, it could be towed to a specialist facility to be dismantled safely, rather than requiring yet another lot of civil engineers to demolish it.这整套名为Flexblue的系统会被固定在距海岸5至15公里处的海底。它离陆地足够远,可以确保紧急事故时的安全性,但又足够近而方便维护。它产生的电力(可多达250兆瓦,够一百万人使用)会通过一根海底电缆传到岸上。遇到在潜艇内无法完成的更换燃料或维修任务,可以往钢筒的压载舱注入空气,让钢筒浮到海面上。而当一座发电站寿终正寝时,可以将它拖到一个专门的设施里安全拆解,而不需要再找一批土木工程师来拆除它。
Naval Group has not, as yet, attracted any customers for its designs. But a slightly less ambitious approach to marine reactors—anchoring them on the surface rather than below it—is about to come to fruition in Russia.The first such, Akademik Lomonosov, is under construction at the Baltic Shipyard, in St Petersburg (see picture). According to Andrey Bukhovtsev of Rosatom, the agency that runs Russia’s civil nuclear programme, it is 96% complete. It will be launched later this year,
towed to Murmansk, and thence transported to Pevek, a port in Russia’s Far East, where it will begin generating power in 2019.海军集团的这一设计目前尚未吸引到客户。但一个略微保守些的海上反应堆设计方式即将在俄罗斯见到成效——将它们固定在水面之上而非之下。首个此类反应堆“罗蒙诺索夫院士号”(AkademikLomonosov)正在圣彼得堡的波罗的海造船厂(Baltic Shipyard)内建造(见图)。据运营俄罗斯民用核能项目的俄罗斯国家原子能公司(Rosatom)的安德雷·布霍夫采夫(Andrey Bukhovtsev)称,该反应堆已经完成了96%。它将在今年稍晚些时候下水,被拖至摩尔曼斯克,从那里再被运到俄罗斯远东区的佩韦克港口,自2019年起开始发电。
Akademik Lomonosov consists of two 35MW reactors mounted on a barge. The reactors are modified versions of those used to power Taymyr-class icebreakers. As such, they are designed to be able to take quite a battering, so the storms of the Arctic Ocean should not trouble them. To add to their safety, the barge bearing them will be moored, about 200 metres from shore, behind a storm-and-tsunami-resistant breakwater.“罗蒙诺索夫院士号”由装载在一艘驳船上的两座35兆瓦反应堆组成。它们是那些用来为泰梅尔(Taymyr)级破冰船供电的反应堆的改版,其设计令它们能够承受住相当大的撞击,因而北冰洋上的风暴应该不是问题。为增加安全性,承载它们的驳船会被锚定在一座可抗风暴和海啸的防波堤的后方,距海岸约200米远。
Altogether,Akademik Lomonosov will cost $480m to build and install—far less than would have to be spent constructing an equivalent power station on land in such a remote and hostile environment. And, on the presumption that the whole thing will work, plans for a second, similar plant are being laid.建造并安装“罗蒙诺索夫院士号”总共将花费4.8亿美元,远少于在偏远陆地上建造一座能抵抗同等恶劣环境、规模相当的核电站的费用。人们认为整个项目能够行得通,已经在规划第二座类似的核电站。
Nor is Russia alone in planning floating reactors. China has similar ambitions—though the destinations of the devices concerned are more controversial than those of Russia’s. Specifically, the Chinese government intends, during the 2020s, to build up to 20 floating nuclear plants, with reactors as powerful as 200MW, to supply artificial islands it is building as part of its plan to enforce the country’s claim to much of the South China Sea—a claim disputed by every other country in the
area.俄罗斯也不是唯一一个筹建浮动反应堆的国家。中国也有类似的抱负——不过相关设备的目的地比俄罗斯的更具争议。具体来说,中国政府计划在本世纪20年代建造多达20座浮动核电站,反应堆功率可达200兆瓦,为该国正在南海上建造的人工岛屿供电。这些岛屿是中国计划对南海大部分海域行使主权主张的一部分,虽然这一主张遭到区域内所有其他国家的反对。
The firms involved in this project intend to tsunami-proof some of their reactors in the same way as the French, by stationing them in water too deep for massive tsunami waves to form. Because they are at the surface,though, that will not save them from storms—and locating them far from shore means the Russian approach of building sheltering breakwaters will not work either. That matters. Typhoons in the South China Sea can whip up waves with an amplitude exceeding 20
metres.参与这一项目的公司计划也用法国人那种方式来让部分反应堆防范海啸,即把它们固定在海水深到无法形成巨大海啸波的地方。但因为它们是漂浮在水面上,这并不能帮助它们防范风暴。而且把它们建在远离海岸的地点,还意味着无法使用像俄罗斯那样建造庇护用的防波堤。这并非无关紧要。南海的台风掀起的海浪可超过20米。
To withstand such storms, the barges will have anchors that are attached to swivelling “mooring turrets” under their bows. These will cause a barge to behave like a weather vane, always pointing into the wind. Since that is the direction waves come from, it will remain bow-on to those waves, giving it the best chance of riding out any storm that nature cares to throw at it. The barges’ bows will also be built high, in order to cut through waves. This way, claims Mark Tipping of Lloyd’s Register, a British firm that is advising on the plants’ design, they will be able to survive a “10,000-year storm”.
为扛住这样的风暴,驳船上会有锚系在船头下方可旋转的“系泊转塔”上。这会使得驳船像风向标一般,永远朝向风吹来的方向。因为这是海浪扑来的方向,所以船会一直正面迎击海浪,让它能有最大可能征服大自然掀起的任何风暴。驳船的船头也会建得很高,有助于它乘风破浪。如此一来,这些核电站将能扛过“万年一遇的风暴”,英国劳氏船级社(Lloyd’s
Register)的马克·蒂平(Mark Tipping)说。该组织为这些核电站的设计提供咨询。
The South China Sea is also a busy area for shipping, so any floating power stations there will need to be able to withstand a direct hit by a heavy-laden cargo vessel travelling at a speed of, say, 20 knots—whether that collision be accidental or the result of hostile action. One way to do this, says Chen Haibo, a naval architect working on the problem at Lloyd’s Register’s Beijing office, is to fit the barges with crumple zones packed with materials such as corrugated steel and wood.南海也是一个繁忙的航运海域,因此任何漂浮在那里的发电站都需要能承受高负载货船(比如以20海里的速度行驶)的直接撞击,无论是因为纯粹的事故还是由敌对行为所引发。在劳氏北京办事处研究相关问题的造船工程师陈海波说,一个解决办法是在驳船上设置填充波形钢板和木头这类材料的防撞缓冲区。
Not everyone is delighted with the idea of marine nuclear power. Rashid Alimov, head of energy projects at Greenpeace Russia, an environmental charity, argues that offshore plants could be boarded by pirates or terrorists, be struck by an iceberg or might evade safety rules that are hard to enforce at sea. On July 21st Greenpeace scored a victory when Rosatom said that Akademik Lomonosov’s nuclear fuel would be loaded in an unpopulated area away from St Petersburg.不是所有人都对海上核电站这个主意感到欣喜。环保慈善组织“绿色和平”俄罗斯分部能源项目主管拉希德·阿利莫夫(Rashid Alimov)表示,海上核电站可能会遭遇海盗或恐怖份子登船,可能被冰山撞击,也可能会违反难以在海洋上执行的安全条例。7月21日,“绿色和平”取得了一项胜利——俄罗斯国家原子能公司称,将在远离圣彼得堡的一个无人区域为“罗蒙诺索夫院士号”装载核燃料。
That,though, is a pinprick. The future of marine nuclear power stations is more likely to depend on the future of nuclear power itself than on the actions of pressure groups such as Greenpeace. If, as many who worry about the climate-changing potential of fossil-fuel power stations think, uranium has an important part to play in generating electricity over coming decades, then many new nuclear plants will be needed. And if that does turn out to be the case, siting such plants out at sea may well prove a good idea.不过这只是个小波澜。海上核电站的未来将更多地系于核电站自身的前景,而不是靠“绿色和平”等组织施压。假如,就像许多担心化石燃料发电站会改变气候的人所预期的那样,未来几十年铀将在发电中发挥重要作用,那么就需要兴建大量的核电站。果真如此,那么把这类发电站投放到茫茫大海中很可能是个好主意。
以上就是Atomic power stations that float on the ocean or are anchored beneath it may have advantages over those built on land双语托福阅读素材分享的内容,希望各位TOEFLer在备考托福过程中合理利用这些素材,实现托福阅读和托福写作双能力的提升。

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