Russia has launched the world’s first floating nuclear power plant from the Baltiyskiy Zavod territory in St Petersburg, on a voyage to a base in Chukotka.
The ‘Akademik Lomonosov’ has been under construction since 2009 in St. Petersburg and will now be towed through the Baltic Sea, around Norway, to Murmansk for fuelling.
Once it has been loaded with nuclear fuel and tested, it will then continue the second phase of its journey in the summer of 2019 — being towed to the Russian arctic port of Pevek.
The towing operations will be undertaken by the Marine Rescue Service of Rosmorrechflot, the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport of Russia, with expected speeds of 3.5-4.5 knots in favourable conditions — arriving in Murmansk in autumn.
The power station features two KLT-40s reactor units that are capable of producing 70 MW of electricity and 50 Gcal an hour of heat energy, which will provide power to Chukota’s port, coal mines and population of 5000.
It will replace the Bilibino nuclear power plant and Chaunskaya TPP, which are considered ‘outdated’, and will become the most northerly nuclear power plant in the world.
It has been designed specifically for operation in areas of the extreme north and the Russian Far East, providing power to remote industrial plants, port cities and offshore gas and oil platforms — with consideration and measures for maintaining safety during tsunamis and other natural disasters.
However, the movement of the plant has drawn criticism from Greenpeace — who called for action against Russia’s plan to fuel and test the plant in St. Petersburg and tow it while loaded with irradiated fuel.
Over 11,000 signatures in a petition against the transport of the loaded reactors, which prompted the change in fuelling location.
Greenpeace has dubbed the Akademik Lomonosov “Chernobyl on Ice”, citing the development of floating nuclear power plants as a potential for the next nuclear catastrophe.