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Russia Unveils Floating Nuclear Plant

Thursday, May 3, 2018

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At the end of April, the world’s only operational floating nuclear power plant, built by Russia, started making its way toward Chukotka, a Russian Arctic port. There, the facility will provide power to remote industrial plants and port cities, as well as offshore gas and oil platforms.

The floating power plant—known as Akademik Lomonosov—was built over the last nine years in St. Petersburg. In the fall, its two nuclear reactors will be loaded with nuclear fuel and started up.

Floating Nuclear Power Plant

Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom—which launched the craft over the weekend—noted that the power plant will be online in 2019, and was designed with a significant margin of safety. As the move slowly progresses, the plant will be moved over two stages: from St. Petersburg to Murmansk, and then from Murmansk to Pevek.

“At the first stage, the [floating nuclear power unit] with no nuclear fuel on board will be towed from the territory of Baltiyskiy Zavod to the landing of Atomflot FSUE in Murmansk,” said Deputy Head of the Directorate for the Floating NPP Construction and Operation Dmitriy Alekseenko. “Then, at the second stage (roughly in the summer of 2019) it will be sent from Murmansk to the seaport of Pevek, loaded with nuclear fuel and with the crew on board.”

When the FPU is pulled into the Arctic port of Pevek, it will be wired into the infrastructure to replace a nuclear power installment on land.

According to Rosatom, the [floating nuclear power unit [FPU] has two KLT-40S reactor units that are capable of generating up to 70 MW of electric energy and 50 Gcal/hr of heat energy during normal operation, enough to “keep the activity of the town populated with 100,000 people.”

Baltiyskiy Zavod Shipbuilding provided part of the contractor work to date. Towing and shunting services related to the unit haul will be provided by the Marine Rescue Service of Rosmorrechflot. In Pevek, all necessary construction work for onshore infrastructure is underway, including a pier, hydraulic engineering structures and other buildings.

The original plan had called for the for fueling the floating plant before it began the journey to its home port, but that was scrapped last summer when concerns were raised in Russia and in countries along the towing route.

Project Criticism

Greenpeace, one of the entities that criticized the idea of the floating power plant, collected more than 11,000 signatures against the original plan. When the plan was adjusted, Rashid Alimov, coordinator of the Greenpeace Russia anti-nuclear project, said that Greenpeace still considers the concept of a floating nuclear power plant too dangerous.

"The [FPU] ‘Akademik Lomonosov’ of project 20870 is the main project of the series of mobile transportable power units of low power,” Rosatom notes on its website. “It is designed to work as a part of the Floating Nuclear Thermal Power Plant (FNPP) and is of a new class of power sources on the basis of Russian technologies of nuclear shipbuilding.”

While the Lomonosov is reportedly the only such vessel in operation today, another floating nuclear powership, the Sturgis, preceded it: The converted WWII Liberty ship, with a 10MW capacity, provided power in Panama from 1968 through 1976.

Editor's Note: The second instance of "fall" was corrected to fuel.

   

Tagged categories: AS; Asia Pacific; Government; Infrastructure; Nuclear Power Plants; Offshore; Program/Project Management

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (5/3/2018, 10:37 AM)

Perhaps the first floating civilian nuclear power plant. There are already many floating military nuclear power plants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_navy


Comment from Tony Rangus, (5/3/2018, 12:29 PM)

When the unit completes its mission & is decommissioned, they will just sink it in the Artic ocean like they have done with their decommissioned nuclear submarines & submarine reactor cores.


Comment from Lou Lyras, (5/6/2018, 8:34 AM)

The Russians, the Chinese, the French, and others are building nuclear power plants - even this floating one. Only the US is ignoring the the clean and safest supply of energy that is needed to combat the alarming rise in CO2 emissions.


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