World's first floating nuclear power plant to begin operations
Akademik Lomonosov, the world's only floating nuclear power unit is ready to start commercial operations in Russia. The plant was launched by Russia on May 19, 2018 at the St Petersburg shipyard.
The power plant is ready to start generating power after a series of comprehensive and successful tests on its twin KLT-40 reactor system. The power generation at both of the 35-MW KLT-40C reactors achieved 100 percent of capacity on March 31, with subsequent tests confirming that both the main and the auxiliary equipment of the units, as well as the process control systems, were operating normally.
The power plant is expected to receive its operating license by July, subject to the test results.
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.
• It is expected to operate for 40 years, with the possibility of the operating life being extended to 50 years and the two reactors will be refueled once every three years.
The floating reactor can help save 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
The facility is designed to replace the ageing four-unit Bilibino plant, with an aggregate 48 MW capacity and become the key power generation source in Chukotka Autonomous District.
• 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