Do you know about world’s first floating nuclear reactor?

What is the name of the world’s first floating nuclear reactor? What are its features, how it will work? From where it will operate, etc.? Let us find out!
Jan 11, 2020 13:34 IST
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World's First Floating nuclear Power Plant
World's First Floating nuclear Power Plant

On 23 August, Russia’s first floating nuclear reactor began its voyage to the Arctic. It had set up on a 5000 km journey to northeastern Siberia from Arctic port of Murmansk (north Arctic region) and the trip was expected to last between 4-6 weeks and depends upon the ice amounts and weather.

What is the name of the world’s first floating nuclear reactor?

It is named as Akademik Lomonosov. On 14 September 2019, it arrived at its final destination. Let us tell you that after about a decade of construction, the plant travelled around 3100 miles across the Arctic Ocean to a remote area in northern Russia. It is said that it will provide electricity for around 100,000 homes. It is important to note here is that according to environmentalists the concept of this nuclear plant at sea is not good. Further, they said that in an emergency situation it could be difficult to reach if an accident were to occur and provide a response to teams.

Akademik Lomonosov was painted with signature red, white and blue colours of the nation's flag at its exterior.

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Facts about world's first floating nuclear reactor, Akademik Lomonosov

  • Akademik Lomonosov was named after 18th-century Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov.
  • It is owned by Rosatom, a Russian state nuclear energy corporation. In 2006, the work for the nuclear reactor began in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
  • It had accommodated around 69 crew members. It has 2 KLT-40 naval propulsion reactors with a capacity of 35 megawatts each and can travel at a speed of 3.5 to 4.5 knots.
  • The weight of the vessel is 21,000 tons.
  • After commissioning, it will become the maiden operational nuclear power plant that will be based on some modular reactors (SMRs) technology and a ‘working prototype’ for a reliable source of low-carbon energy supply in remote areas.
  • The Northeast Passage was generated due to global warming and melting ice that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific along Russia’s northern coast more accessible.
  • The mission of this plant is that after reaching Pevek, a town of 5000 in the Siberian region of Chukotka (Russia) it will replace a local nuclear plant and a closed coal plant.

Floating nuclear power reactor

Now we come to know about the place, name, and features of the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. But do you know what is the floating nuclear power plant?

As the name suggests a floating nuclear power plant is located on a platform at sea and is a site with one or more nuclear reactors. Basically, it is an autonomous site that can provide electricity and heat to areas with difficult access like cold Northern territories. Let us tell you that it can provide drinking water to dry areas through desalination techniques.

What are the advantages of a floating nuclear power plant?

According to the experts, it has several advantages;

- There is no need for a special site for the construction of a nuclear power plant as it can be built at a factory or shipyard.

- It is not necessary to study or to do much research about the land and land environment. Therefore, the location is simplified.

- Dismantling can be done in a specialised site and experts also say that it has a very low environmental impact.

We can't forget that due to the sea environment it is necessary to take few factors into account like access for the staff and the equipment, and it is to be taken care of that radioactive material never leaked to the sea.

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Environmentalists concern about world’s first floating nuclear power plant

Environmentalists have warned about the dangers of the project as "Chernobyl on ice" and a "Nuclear Titanic". Rashid Alimov, the head of the energy sector of Greenpeace Russia, said environmental groups had been critical of the idea of a floating reactor since the 1990s. Further, he told to AFP that "Any nuclear power plant produces radioactive waste and can have an accident, but Akademik Lomonosov is additionally vulnerable to storms". He also told that the float is towed by other vessels, making a collision during a storm more likely. As Rosatom plans to store spent fuel onboard, Alimov said: “any accident involving this fuel might have a serious impact on the fragile environment of the Arctic and there is no infrastructure for a nuclear clean up in the region".

So, this is all about the world’s floating nuclear power plant, Akademik Lomonosov which is launched by Russia and owned by Rosatam, Russian state nuclear energy corporation.

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