Floating plant arrives at Murmansk for fueling

21 May 2018

A ceremony has been held to welcome the Akademik Lomonosov, Russia's first floating nuclear power plant, following its arrival at Atomflot's berth in the port city of Murmansk in the far northwest part of the country. Fuel will be loaded in to the vessel's two reactors prior to its delivery to Russia's northernmost city of Pevek next year.

Akademik Lomonosov at Murmansk - 460 (Rosenergoatom)
The Akademik Lomonosov moored in Murmansk (Image: Rosenergoatom)

The Akademik Lomonosov - 144 metres in length, 30 metres wide and having a displacement of 21,000 tonnes - left the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard in Saint Petersburg on 28 April. It arrived in Murmansk on 17 May after having been towed over 4000 kilometres and travelling through four seas: the Baltic, Northern, Norwegian and Barents.

On its arrival at Murmansk, a welcome ceremony took place during which the plant was handed over to the customer, Rosenergoatom, the nuclear power plant operator subsidiary of state nuclear corporation Rosatom. The ceremony was attended by Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov, Rosatom Deputy Director General Alexander Lokshin, Rosenergoatom Director General Andrey Petrov, Atomflot Director General Vyacheslav Ruksha, Chukotka regional governor Roman Kopin and Murmansk regional deputy director Eugene Nikora.

Likhachov said: "We have successfully towed the power unit, not yet loaded with fuel, to Murmansk and are here going to fully launch this unique project, which was only made possible thanks to cooperation of many companies." He added, "Akademik Lomonosov is an unparalleled piece of engineering by Russian scientists. It is a first-of-a-kind, reference project for mobile medium capacity range nuclear power units, a product we expect to be growing in demand in the coming years. For instance, we see great interest from all island nations where it is difficult, for various reasons, to set up a developed centralised power transmission infrastructure."

Rosatom said fuel will be loaded into the two reactors on Akademik Lomonosov in the coming months. The vessel is expected to be towed to its permanent base at Pevek in Russia's Chukotka region in the summer of 2019. It noted construction work is under way in Pevek to create all the necessary on-shore infrastructure. Rosatom said that once in operation the facility will both the world's only operational floating nuclear power plant and the northernmost nuclear installation. Akademik Lomonosov will replace the Bilibino nuclear power plant and the Chaunskaya thermal power plant. The first Bilibino unit is scheduled to be shut down next year and the whole plant will be shut down in 2021.

The keel of Akademik Lomonosov was laid in April 2007 at Sevmash in Severodvinsk, but in August 2008 Rosatom cancelled the contract - apparently due to the military workload at Sevmash - and transferred it to the Baltic Shipyard in Saint Petersburg, which has experience in building nuclear icebreakers. New keel-laying took place in May 2009 and the hull was launched at the end of June 2010. The two 35 MWe KLT-40S reactors were installed in October 2013.

Rosatom said it is already working on a second generation of floating nuclear power unit which will be equipped with two RITM-200M reactors, each having a capacity of 50 MWe. It noted that although having a greater generating capacity, the new "optimised" units will be smaller in size.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News