World’s first floating nuclear power plant reaches its home

Published: September 15, 2019 16:25:20 | Updated: September 16, 2019 16:14:36

Akademik Lomonosov, world’s first floating nuclear power unit, has reached its permanent destination-- the Pevek town in Chukotka region of Russia’s Far East on Saturday (September 14, 2019).

The floating plant is being docked there to start operations by the end of the current year. Once commissioned, it will become the world’s first operational nuclear power plant based on small modular reactors (SMRs) technology; and a ‘working prototype’ for reliable source of low-carbon energy supply in remote areas. The plant is an initiative of Russia’s state atomic energy corporation-Rosatom, says a press release.

“It maybe one small step for sustainable development in the Arctic, but it’s a giant leap for the decarbonisation of remote off-grid areas, and a watershed in the development of small modular nuclear power plants in the world,” said Rosatom CEO Alexey Likhachev.

The project has been welcomed by scientists, nuclear energy experts and environmentalists across the world.

Commenting on the occasion, Agneta Rising, director general of the World Nuclear Association, said, “To meet the nuclear industry’s harmony goal of supplying at least 25 per cent of the world’s electricity by 2050, we will need to bring the benefits of nuclear energy to more people in a wider range of locations. The Akademik Lomonosov is the first of a new class of small, mobile and versatile nuclear power plant that will supply clean and reliable electricity, heat and water to help meet the UN’s sustainable development goals.”

Akademik Lomonosov is a pilot project and a ‘working prototype’ for a future fleet of floating nuclear power plants and on-shore installations based on Russia-made small modular reactors. The small power units will be available for deployment to hard-to-reach areas of the Russia’s north and Far-East, as well as for export.

The total cost of the Pevek installation will not be disclosed until the project is complete but Rosatom’s spokesman said, “The technology is very competitive. Once we begin manufacture in series, SMR-based plants for remote areas have a good chance to produce electricity at a cheaper cost than diesel, saving money and preventing harmful emissions.”

Akademik Lomonosov is equipped with two KLT-40C reactor systems (each with a capacity of 35 megawatt (MW). It is designed by Rosatom to work as part of the Floating Nuclear Thermal Power Plant (FNPP).

The vessel is 144 metres long and 30 metres wide, and has a displacement of 21,000 tonnes. The floating power unit has been  named after Mikhail Lomonosov, a legendary Russian scientist of the 18th century.

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