Russia on May 19, 2018 launched 'Akademik Lomonosov', the world's first floating nuclear power plant at the St Petersburg shipyard.
The plant is currently towed to a port town called Murmansk in northwest Russia, where it will be loaded up with fuel. The plant would be then taken to a town in the Arctic Circle called Pevek, where it will begin generating power in mid-2019.
Objective: Russia’s main objective behind the development is to meet its growing electricity needs in its drive to develop oil resources in remote Arctic regions.
• The ‘Akademik Lomonosov’ is to be the first of a fleet of floating nuclear power stations to be stationed in the Russian Arctic.
• The 144-by-30-metre (472-by-98-foot) power plant holds two reactors with two 35 megawatt nuclear reactors that are similar to those used to power icebreaker ships.
• The power plant has no propulsion of its own. It will be towed up North to avoid the steep cost of shipping it by land piece by piece to remote areas.
• The plant is capable of producing enough electricity to power a town of 200,000 residents, far more than the 5,000 living in Pevek.
The floating reactor can help save 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
It is set to replace an ageing nuclear reactor and a coal-fired power plant, both of which are both located in Chukotka.
• While, according to project in-charge Vitaly Trutnev, the power plant has the latest security systems and should be one of the safest nuclear installations in the world, environmental activists think otherwise.
• Activists at the environmental group Greenpeace have called for international monitoring on the issue.
• The activists fear that the nuclear plant could become a ‘nuclear Titanic’ or a ‘Chernobyl on ice’ 32 years after the Soviet nuclear disaster.
• Besides Russia, China is also building a floating nuclear power plant.
About Soviet Nuclear Disaster