Russia in mid May formally launched the world's first floating nuclear power plant (FNPP), Akademik Lomonosov, at a ceremony in Murmansk where it will be loaded with nuclear fuel before heading to its final mooring at Pevek in Chukotka in the Arctic northeast. In late April, the vessel left Russia’s Baltic Plant in St Petersburg, where it had been under construction since 2009. Dmitry Alekseenko, deputy head of the Directorate for the construction and operation of the FNPP at nuclear utility Rosenergoatom, said the vessel would be towed to Pevek in two stages - from St Petersburg to Murmansk, and then from Murmansk to Pevek. At Atomflot in Murmansk it will be loaded with fuel and take on board its crew, ready for delivery to Pevek in summer 2019.
Rosenergoatom has contracted the Marine Rescue Service of Rosmorrechflot, to undertake the towing and shunting services. The estimated average speed of the towing caravan along the planned route, given favourable hydro-meteorological and ice conditions, and assuming no delays, will be 3.5 knots. In Pevek construction work is continuing on necessary infrastructure, including a mole-pier, a complex of buildings, hydraulic structures, a coastal platform designed to provide safe parking of the FNPP, and an energy transmission system. The FNPP will replace the ageing Bilibino NPP and Chaunskaya thermal power plant, which are already technologically obsolete, and will be the world’s most northerly NPP. Bilibino currently generates 80% of electricity in the region, but unit 1 is scheduled to be permanently shut down in December 2018 followed by units 2-4 in December 2021.
FNPP Akademik Lomonosov (Project 20870) is the main project of a series of mobile transportable low-power units and represents "a new class" of mobile energy sources based on Russian nuclear shipbuilding technologies. The station is equipped with two KLT-40S reactors capable of generating up to 70MWe and 50 Gcal/h of thermal energy in nominal operating mode. OKB Afrikantov is the chief designer, manufacturer and complete equipment supplier of these reactor units.
Rosatom is now developing a new optimised floating nuclear plant which, if ordered, can be built in five years, according to Pavel Ipatov Rosenergoatom deputy general director responsible for special projects. "Today, Rosatom is developing a new optimised power unit using a new generation of the Ritm-200 reactor, which has more power, efficiency and better characteristics." He said a number of Russian northern territories and several foreign countries have expressed interest in FNPPs. "We are expecting orders not only within the Russian Federation, but also from abroad, after launching this first unit. He noted that equatorial countries are interested in FNPPs not only for power generating, but also for desalination.
Photo: Floating nuclear power plant in Murmansk (Credit: Rosenergoatom)