Earth’s final frontier: Russia's floating nuclear power plant leaves for new Arctic home
The world’s first floating nuclear power plant (NPP), designed and built by Russia, is set to start its trip across the Arctic to its ‘workplace’ in the Chukotka Region and will provide Russia’s remote areas with heat and energy.
During a special ceremony on Friday the unique vessel, called the ‘Akademik Lomonosov,’ will leave the city of Murmansk to float thousands of kilometers, all the way to the small far-eastern port of Pevek, which sits on the Arctic coast of Chukotka. Two tug boats and one reserve vessel will tow the floating nuclear power plant.
“There are no analogues to it in the world,” said Dmitry Alekseenko, a branch deputy director of Rosenergoatom, the builder of the floating nuclear power plant.
The Akademik Lomonosov and its assisting vessels are scheduled to reach their destination by the end of September, their exact arrival time depending on weather conditions. The facility is set to become operational by the end of the year.
Chukotka is one of the most isolated regions of Russia, with harsh climate conditions impeding massive construction and the region in need of replacing its aging energy infrastructure. The new nuclear power facility can provide the necessary energy for the local population and plants located in the remote region, as well as for oil and gas rigs.
“This project was created based on the fact that there are a lot of regions in our country which are hard to reach for conventional construction works. It is difficult to build anything there, therefore this power plant unit can be quickly transported to the location where it is needed for delivering energy to residents and industrial facilities,” Alekseenko said.
‘Akademic Lomonosov’ has two KLT-40S reactors on board, that have a special security system allowing them shut down if necessary, even if the crew were absent or the power supply down.
The reactors are capable of producing up to 70 megawatts of electricity and 50 gigacalories-an-hour of heat energy.The 140-meter long vessel itself was designed to meet high safety standards, ensuring that any kind of collision, including with another ship or with a rock, or a natural disaster, would not damage the reactors. The floating power plant’s operational lifespan is 40 years.
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