Russia's floating plant reaches final destination

16 September 2019

Akademik Lomonosov, which Rosatom describes as the world's first floating nuclear power plant and the world's northernmost nuclear power installation, completed its 4700 km journey to its final destination of Pevek on 14 September.

Akademik Lomonosov will become a central part of the Chukotka region's power supply (Image: Rosatom)

It is being docked in Pevek, in the Chukotka region of Russian, to start operations by the end of this year. Once commissioned, it will become the world's first operational nuclear power plant based on small modular reactor technology, state nuclear corporation Rosatom said, and a "working prototype" for the reliable source of low-carbon energy supply in remote areas.

Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov said: "It may be 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."

Agneta Rising, director general of World Nuclear Association, said: "To meet the nuclear industry's Harmony goal of supplying at least 25% 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, helping 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 Russian-made small modular reactors, Rosatom said. 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, it added.

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

Akademik Lomonosov will become a central part of the Chukotka region's power supply, replacing the Bilibino nuclear power plant and the Chaunskaya combined heat and power plant.

Floating nuclear power units can operate non-stop without the need for refuelling for three to five years, thereby considerably reducing the cost of electricity generation, Rosatom has said.The reactors have the potential to work particularly well in regions with extended coastlines, power supply shortages and limited access to electricity grids, it said. Akademik Lomonosov is 144 metres in length, 30 metres wide and has a displacement of 21,000 tonnes. It has a twin KLT-40 reactor system.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News