Russia considers nuclear power for sub-sea minerals exploration

24 August 2016

The Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering, based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is reviving plans from the 1980s to establish a system for the underwater exploration of mineral resources. The Russian Nuclear Community reports on its website today that federal agencies are considering the use of a nuclear reactor to power this proposed system.

The project, named Iceberg, will use a nuclear power unit that meets all the safety requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to the report. A new entity involving Rosatom, the Russian Defence Ministry, Gazprom, the United Shipbuilding Corporation, will be created to manage the project.

The report adds: "The project envisages the creation of technologies and the means of ensuring a fully autonomous underwater (subglacial) development of hydrocarbon deposits in the northern seas with heavy ice conditions. The Iceberg program will also include establishment of an underwater rig for submarine seismic survey work, as well as an installation and service complex that will operate on the sea-bed."

The required level of design and technology for the project will put the project on a par with the country's space industry, according to the report.

The proposed underwater nuclear power unit will have a capacity of 24 MWe, be fully automated and in operation for up to 30 years.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News