How Sinking Ships Could Help Detect Nuclear Reactors

French scientists seem to have an idea for locating secret nuclear reactors, which involves loading a supertanker ship with 138,000 tons worth of protons, and sinking it off the coast of any troublemaker nation, like, say, North Korea.

The science behind their idea is nothing new. Antineutrino detection as a form of far-field nuclear reactor monitoring is something that's been discussed for a few years now, a since nuclear fission reactors emit plenty of antineutrinos. But this idea has yet to blossom into a practical, functioning solution.

What the Frenchies are suggesting, according to Technology Review, is that it's possible to take a giant ship and load it with 138,000 tons of linearalkylbenzene, which would yield 10^34 tons of antineutrino-detecting protons. And submerging this ship under 4km of water off the coast of any evil, freedom-hating, possibly satanic nation is not just for cloak-and-dagger effect - it's necessary for the anti-neutrino detection process. Not only would such a rig sniff out nuclear reactors across long distances, but it could offer a general idea of where they're located at.

The only problem? Well there are many, but besides the potential cost of the entire idea, getting the ship off the coast of a hostile nation undetected could be a bit tricky. Still, It'd be entertaining to see a country with enough guile to try and pull this off. [Technology Review]