April 8, 2009 at 1:09 am #878
It occurs to me: We already have nuclear-powered subs. These are already capable of nearly eternal power and maintenance shouldn’t be a problem (Seasteaders can go through the same training seamen go through to operate the subs. As they don’t have to become fully trained marines, this should be doable.) Furthermore, subs are already designed to sink or float at will. Modify the sub to sink or float selectively to counterbalance any waves, and you have a stable platform.
I can already think of some complaints. First: Nuclear power. Main problems: It’s expensive to research and develop (or even buy), and countries don’t like to share their atom splitting. However, I suggest buying an old, to-be-decommisioned sub that’s already built and headed for the scrap-yard. Whatever country it belongs to will already have harvested the missiles and whatever other tech they can; we just need the engine and the balance system. Plus, these engines are already designed to be sea-stable and safe. Granted, that is by standards probably fifty years old or more, but still, a little renovation can go a long way. Furthermore, with a nuclear reactor you get the ultimate defense: Nobody will sink your seastead for fear of causing a worldwide contamination of the oceans.
Now the problem is actually buying the sub and retrofitting it. I’m no engineer, architect, etc., so I can’t say for sure how compatible a tight, enclosed sub is with a wide, open platform. I’m guessing not very; again, I’m betting the engine and balance system can be incorporated into another design. While only the US, Russia, France, UK, and China have these subs, they’re all in economic recession so probably happy to sell military equipment under the table. Again, I’m just guessing, so please shoot me down for any ideas pulled out of Wile. E Coyote.
I hope this helps. In all probability, a different design that efficiently incorporates energy from a variety of sources (including old fashioned oil) will be more practical for invention. Still, please take from this whatever ideas you can. Thanks.April 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm #5488
I´m usually extremely positive with regard to nuclear power, although there clearly are plenty of political issues and problems that must be addressed, even with civilian proliferation-resistant and passively safe reactor types.
But buying a military nuclear submarine really seems quite unlikely. I don´t think any government could do this and remain in power. The public opinion of the country in question would be that their government is selling nuclear submarines to potential terrorists, which is clearly politically incorrect. Or that it would be an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Or probably both. And given the safety record of military nuclear submarines of certain countries such a reaction would probably be a lot less irrational than the usual nuclear phobia.
It is quite possible that simply the idea of civilian owned submarines (nuclear or otherwise) would make some countries exceedingly nervous. Seasteading on surface vessels is already going to be perceived as a provocation by most nation states.
Besides, military subs are, as far as I know, extremely small on the inside. Taking out the armaments could probably free up some space, but I still think it would end up very much money for very little living space. Could work for an excentric millionaire as a submarine yacht perhaps, but hardly as an economical homestead for more normal people.
It is good to see that there are more nuclear-positive people here :-).April 9, 2009 at 1:57 am #5502
I was thinking of modifying the sub to no longer be fully submersible- only keep the system for maintaining balance, and basically stick a big, wide lightweight platform on a semi-submersible base. Still, you make a great point about the political consequences of selling high-profile military equipment to private civiliants. To do so is a sign of weakness, of losing military strengh, of selling sovereignty. Most places only do that for the UN.
This does bring up an interesting question, though: Where will seasteads get military equipment for self defense? I’m not thinking of attacking any land countries or getting city-destroying missiles; just a couple RPG launchers and a mounted machine gun to take care of pirates. You’d probably have to establish seasteads’ viability and peaceful intentions first, then get guns. Pirates usually follow specific routes, so seasteads should be able to avoid them in the beginning. Still, self-defense is a cornerstone of self-rule….
It’s a shame about the widespread anti-nuclear sentiment. Seasteads are meant in part to prove the world wrong in their assumption of the power to meddle. Maybe they can prove the world wrong on the atom, too. Here’s to hoping.
Thank you for your input. All criticism helps.April 9, 2009 at 9:24 am #5506
I was thinking of modifying the sub to no longer be fully submersible- only keep the system for maintaining balance, and basically stick a big, wide lightweight platform on a semi-submersible base.
There’s no system for maintaining balance, subs stay upright just because of the weight distribution, heavy batteries etc. near the bottom.cthulhujunior wrote:
This does bring up an interesting question, though: Where will seasteads get military equipment for self defense? I’m not thinking of attacking any land countries or getting city-destroying missiles; just a couple RPG launchers and a mounted machine gun to take care of pirates.
In a gun shop in US. Machineguns are possible, though for a high price, with permits. RPG launchers – why would you need that against pirates? Their boats have no armor, and a gun works just as well. Or better, because it can actually hit.April 9, 2009 at 3:58 pm #5509
Using the hulls from two submarines to construct a semisub seems somewhat more realistic. Keeping the reactors still seems like a bit of a stretch to me. Couldn´t hurt to ask, I guess…
Weapons is a good question. Assuming that seasteads will be convenience-flagged, what are the legal situation regarding this, for the various flagging states, and would they mind if we sort of “forgot” to fully comply with whatever gun laws they have? Assuming that we are talking only about small arms suitable for defense, of course.
In general though I think just handguns, semi-auto rifles and some long/sniper rifles makes a pretty good defense, with adequate training. Bigger guns might not yield a whole lot more effect, but increase the appearance of militancy too much (in a bad way for PR).
As long as there are plenty of completely unarmed mariners the choice of the pirates regarding who they are going to attack is pretty easy. Hijacking people who shoot back at you isn´t really that much fun.April 9, 2009 at 9:20 pm #5517
HTDC- Thanks for checking my assumptions on sub capabilities and the need for heavy artillery. I’d assumed modern pirate ships are bullet proof. Their deficiency in this area helps to save time (researching and finding heavy weapons) and money, which is always great.
Carl Pålsson- Thanks again for your input. I’d forgotten the “flags of convenience” part of Seasteading- to claim to be part of a nation requires following that nation’s laws, and most countries aren’t heavy-weapons friendly. I’d also forgotten the need to “sell” seasteading to the rest of the world. I’m willing to bet they don’t like the thought of running around with a rocket launcher on a floating nuclear generator. Though it seems a shame to lose the bazookas…
Thank you both for your time and input.
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