Nuclear future mapped out for Murmansk

11 June 2008

Northwestern Russia is set for a boost in nuclear investment after an agreement between Rosatom and the government of Murmansk region. The deal should facilitate a new nuclear power plant, used nuclear fuel processing and storage facilities and submarine dismantling.


The cooperation deal was signed on 9 June by Sergey Kiriyenko, director general of the Rosatom corporation, and Yuri Yevdokimov, governor of the Murmansk region.


Chief among the actions the deal describes is a new nuclear power site alongside the existing Kola site. According to previously published plans, the new Kola II site is to host four small reactors of 300 MWe each. Using either the VK-300 or VBER-300s design, they would be the first such small boiling water reactors to be built and would supply their power to the local heavy industry region and forthcoming oil and gas projects in the Barents Sea. The units are pencilled in to begin operation one by one between 2017 and 2020.


Kola (RIA Novosti) 
Kola (Image: RIA Novosti)


The northwestern Murmansk region is home to a large portion of Russia's fleet of nuclear submarines and icebreakers and many await decommissioning. This work is to be boosted by fresh efforts to involve credit companies and foreign contractors, which would work on a tax-exempt basis.


Rosatom said facilities for storing the relatively small naval reactors would be created, as would infrastructure to treat and dispose of the used nuclear fuel removed from them. There will also be a regional centre for processing solid radioactive waste, and a regional storage facility.


The Kola site already hosts four VVER pressurized water reactors which each output 411 MWe. On current schedules these are expected to close between 2011 and 2019, although work to extend their operation is underway. The remote Arctic site was constructed at the same time as the workers' town of Polyarnye Zori, which boasts a trout farm warmed by heat from the power plant.


At the Sevmash shipyard, about 500 km away from Kola, the Akademik Lomonosov is under construction. The floating nuclear power plant will feature two KLT-40S power reactors and will power the local area on completion.

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