Succulent Reactor, Tokyo 2050 Independent Project - eVolo Skyscraper Competition (2014)
Japan has faced countless earthquakes and tsunamis throughout its history. Each time, its inhabitants rebuild and recover while fully aware that it may happen again. The most recent of these disasters, the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011, killed 19,000 people and left over half-million others displaced. Not only was Fukushima levelled out by the tsunami, but the nuclear meltdowns at the Daiichi plant has forced entire cities and towns within the region to evacuate indefinitely.
Before the meltdowns, Japan relied heavily on conventional uranium-fueled powerplants, making 29% of the country’s electricity. The complete shutdown of nuclear plants is not a viable option as there are no alternative energy sources currently available to fully replace the energy output for Japan’s cities.
The general public’s skepticism for nuclear energy is of the possiblity of a core reactor meltdown leading to radiation exposure to the environment. The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) is a safe alternative to traditional nuclear reactors, as it does not produce radioactive waste in the forms of uranium or plutonium.
Succulent Reactors are the new source of energy and water for urban Japan. Standing at 1024m, these skyscrapers are the infrastructure for the Thorium reactor located at the the core and a desalination plant which encloses the turbine. Surrounding the reactor’s turbine are three shells which inflate with seawater brought in from the ocean through the Grid. The excess heat produced by the reactors are used in desalinating the sea water into a potable water source and fed back into the city.
The Grid is Japan’s new artifical ground infrastructure which consists of city-block modules which can be aggregated. The new ground plane at 50m allows tsunami’s to pass under without devastating the city. The natural ground which the old city was built upon is returned back to its natural state.