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A nuclear-powered shower? Russia tests a climate innovation
The water was hot, steamy and plentiful, and Pavel Rozhkov let it flow over his body, enjoying a shower that is not for the squeamish: On his bare skin, he was feeling the heat produced by an atomic reaction, pumped directly from a nuclear reactor into his home.
“Personally, I’m not worried,” Rozhkov said.
His shower came courtesy of nuclear residential heating, which remains exceedingly rare and was introduced in the remote Siberian town of Pevek only a year ago. The source is not a typical reactor with huge cooling towers but is the first of a new generation of smaller and potentially more versatile nuclear plants — in this case aboard a barge floating nearby in the Arctic Ocean.
As countries from across the globe meet in Scotland this week to try to find new ways to mitigate climate change, Russia has embraced nuclear residential heating as one potential solution, while also hoping it can bring a competitive advantage. Companies in the United States, China and France are considering building the type of small reactors connected now to Pevek’s waterworks.
“It’s very exciting,” Jacopo Buongiorno, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a telephone interview. These small reactors, he said, could also warm greenhouses or provide heat for industrial purposes. In bringing to life the new approach, he said, “the Russians are ahead.”
“这非常令人兴奋，”麻省理工学院(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)核科学与工程教授雅格布·布昂乔诺(Jacopo Buongiorno)在接受电话采访时说。他说，这些小型反应堆还可以为温室供暖或为工业目的提供热量。他说，在实施新策略方面，“俄罗斯人走在了前面。”
Nuclear-powered residential heating is distinct from running space or water heaters with electricity generated from nuclear sources. Direct nuclear heating, tried in small pockets of Russia and Sweden, circulates water between a power plant and homes, transferring heat directly from fissioning uranium atoms to residences.
Warming homes with nuclear power also has environmental benefits, advocates of the idea say. Primarily, it avoids wasting the heat that is typically vented as steam through the conical cooling towers of nuclear plants, and instead captures it for use in residential heating, if customers are fine with it.
Still, some experts are concerned about the potential risks, pointing to the many spills and accidents on Soviet and Russian submarines and icebreakers that used similar small reactors.
“It is nuclear technology, and the starting point needs to be that it is dangerous,” said Andrei Zolotkov, a researcher with Bellona, a Norwegian environmental group. “That is the only way to think about it.”
Rozhkov’s wife, Natalia Rozhkova, was initially skeptical. They can see the new nuclear facility, which is about a mile away, from their kitchen window. She said she “worried for the first two days” after their apartment was connected to one of the cooling loops of the reactors. But the feeling passed.
“Whatever is new is scary,” Rozhkova said. Still, somebody has to be first, she suggested, adding, “We were the closest, so they hooked us up first.”
The experiment in Siberia, Buongiorno said, could play a vital role in convincing countries that using nuclear power to limit climate change will require using it for more than just generating electricity.
“Decarbonizing the electrical grid will only get you one-quarter of the way,” he said. “The rest comes from all these other things.”
Yes, but a nuclear shower? Buongiorno said he would take one — but conceded that “obviously this is not going to work if people don’t feel comfortable with the technology.”
Now, two other sites in Russia besides Pevek use nuclear residential heating; however, in those cases, it is a byproduct of large electrical plants.
Soon, in Pevek, the town’s community steam bath, or banya, will also be nuclear-powered. The Russian state nuclear company, Rosatom, connected the reactors to the heating pipes in one neighborhood in June 2020. It is now expanding the hot water service to the whole town, which has a population of about 4,500.
The plant’s two cores are cooled by a series of water loops. In each reactor, the first loop is contaminated with radioactive particles. But this water never leaves the plant. Through heat exchangers, it transfers heat — but not contaminated water — to other loops.
In Pevek, one of these loops is the system of pipes that leave the plant, branch out and supply hot water to homes.
The company promotes a number of safety features. The plant can withstand a crash by a small airplane. The vessel that holds it doubles as a containment structure. And the water circulating through buildings is at a higher pressure than the cooling loop from which it derives heat within the plant, in theory preventing a radiation leak from spreading into town.
Irina K. Buriyeva, a librarian, said she appreciated the plentiful heat and electricity. Of the risks of a radiation leak or explosion, she said, “We try not to think about it, honestly.”
图书管理员伊琳娜·布里耶娃(Irina K. Buriyeva)说，她很喜欢这里充足的暖气和电力。对于辐射泄漏或爆炸的风险，她说，“老实说，我们只能尽量不去想它。”
Kirill Toropov, deputy director of the floating nuclear plant in Pevek, said its benefits were already visible locally, citing snow that is less sullied with coal soot. “We need to note this positive ecological moment,” he said.
Rozhkov, 41, an accountant, who has been showering and bathing three children in nuclear-warmed water for a year now, said Russia’s use of small reactors in icebreakers gave him confidence in the technology.
“We aren’t worried,” he said, “that the details are still being worked out.”
His wife said they were “believers,” and added, “There are things we cannot control. I can only pray for our safety, for the safety of our town.”
11月17日，新闻记者联络了小区房地产商及其物业管理责任人，另一方表明，小区车库“南进北出”的制定和整体规划，是依据小区附近道路情况及其车库内行车安全性综合性考虑到制订的。由于现阶段一部分住户对于此事拥有不一样建议，从达到大部分小区业主的出行必须考虑，可以在小区内采用网络投票的方法，由物业管理公司实行、小区业主意味着全过程监管，大伙儿一同参加一起处理进出家门口的难题。最后假如允许“北进南出”计划方案的住户总数超出70%，房地产商会协同物业管理公司及其小区业主再次探讨设计方案小区车子的出行计划方案，若网络投票总数不够70%，则依照原计划方案执行。文/图 首席记者 龚伟芳。
Gebreselassie condemns mixing sports with politics******
ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia's multiple Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebreselassie has strongly opposed attempts of some Western politicians and countries to disrupt the 2022 Winter Olympics with calls for a boycott.。
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Gebreselassie said the ongoing provocation by some Western politicians and countries to shun the upcoming Winter Olympics should be met seriously by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).。
"I see the move as unimportant and meaningless," said Gebreselassie, who has won two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 meters and four World Championship titles, among others.。
The veteran long-distance runner, who has also served as president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, underscored that recent boycott attempts would not have any meaningful impact on the Beijing Winter Olympics.。
"Do not get bothered," said Gebreselassie in his message to the organizers of the Beijing Winter Olympics.。
"The attempts [will] in no way affect the organizers, the people and the government of China.。
"The only way to bring the world together is [through] sport, especially the Olympics. I want to tell the politicians that they have to think twice, not once, before making such decisions, because this is sport," he added.。
Recalling the "amazing" 2008 Summer Olympics, Gebreselassie expressed his optimism that Beijing will host the upcoming Winter Olympics "in the most spectacular manner."
"As to my experience, I do not see many officials going to the Olympic Games. The Olympics need athletes, not officials," said Gebreselassie.。
Considered by many as one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time, Gebreselassie referred to the ongoing attempts to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics as "old style."
"They would have succeeded had they been made during the previous era when there were Eastern and Western blocs," Gebreselassie said.。
He stressed that the Olympics should not be politicized and that Western countries must not mix sporting events with politics.。
"Water and oil do not mix, so sport and politics should not," Gebreselassie said, adding that the world should not give attention to such kinds of "silly activities" by the West.。
"Failing to do so will not be good for the international Olympic body," he warned.。
Noting the motto of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has been set as "Together for a Shared Future," Gebreselassie commended the commitment of China in working together with the rest of the world for a better future. Enditem。
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