Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Have Ridden the Atomic Bus

Behold the zero-carbon public transit of the future. From the past. And the USSR.

The "trolleybus" (Russian: троллейбус) is a trackless electric vehicle powered by overhead wires. They're quite ubiquitous in Russia, and have been for many decades. This particular example is a ZiU 682B, produced in Engels (in the Saratov Oblast') in 1973. The picture, however, was taken in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg.)

In St. Petersburg in particular (although in a fair number of other Russian cities as well), these homey conveyances are powered by nuclear energy, thanks to the proximity of nuclear power plants. In St. Petersburg, the primary source of electric power is the Leningrad Atomic Power Plant (Ленинградская Атомная Электростанция). The first unit as the LAES entered service in 1973. The plant consists of four one-gigawatt RBMK reactors, the last of which entered service in 1981.

If the Soviets could do in 35 years ago, why can't we?

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