Russia relocates construction of floating power plant

11 August 2008

The Russian government has approved a decision by Rosatom to cancel the general contract with Sevmash for the construction of the first floating nuclear power plant and to move production to Baltiysky Zavod.

Floating NPP 
How the floating plant could look (Image: Rosatom)
According to Rosatom, the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk is inundated with orders and must concentrate its efforts on fulfilling federal military contracts. The floating nuclear power plant project, together with unused funds, will be returned to Rosenergoatom, the customer for the floating plant.

Rosatom said that the government has approved the transfer of work from Sevmash to Baltiysky Zavod, based in St Petersburg. Rosenergoatom and Baltiysky Zavod have already agreed the preliminary terms of a contract, which Rosatom expects to sign in the "near future."

The keel was laid for the world's first floating nuclear power plant - the Akademik Lomonosov - at the Sevmash shipyard on 15 April 2007. So far some 3 tonnes of steel, out of a total 9 tonnes, has been used in constructing the plant's hull and central section, which will accommodate two small reactors.

The plant will house two 35 MW KLT-40S nuclear reactors, similar to those used in Russia's nuclear powered ice breakers, and two generators, and will be capable of supplying a city of 200,000 people. Originally destined for the Archangelsk industrial shipyard in northwest Russia, the Akademik Lomonosov will cost an estimated six billion roubles ($232 million) to build. OKBM will design and supply the reactors, while Kaluga Turbine Plant will supply the turbo-generators. With the move of construction from Severodvinsk to St Petersburg, the destination of the first floating plant is now uncertain. However, Rosenergoatom said a decision would be made before October.

Rosatom is also planning to construct seven further floating nuclear power plants in addition to the one now under construction. Five of these will be used by Gazprom for offshore oil and gas field development and for operations on the Kola and Yamal peninsulas. One is planned for 2012 commissioning at Pevek on the Chukotka peninsula, another for Kamchatka region, both in the far east of the country. Further far east sites being considered are Yakutia and Taimyr. In 2007 an agreement was signed with the Sakha Republic (Yakutia region) to build a floating plant for its northern parts, using smaller ABV reactors.

Russia also hopes to export the floating units to other countries for electricity and seawater desalination, operating for 15 years before returning to Russia for defuelling and maintenance. Countries including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria, Namibia, Cape Verde and Argentina are reported to have expressed interest in buying the plants.