Russia’s floating nuclear power station, named Akademik Lomonosov, has departed the Arctic port of Murmansk to begin its 5,000 km voyage to the Russian Far East.
The vessel’s destination is Pevek, Chukotka in northeastern Siberia and the journey is expected to take four to six weeks depending on the weather conditions and the amount of ice on the way. The vessel is due to go into operation by the end of year and will replace the Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant serving the region.
Akademik Lomonosov has come under widespread criticism from environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Bellona Foundation. Greenpeace criticized the project as one that may cause harm to a “fragile environment”, as well as calling it a “nuclear Titanic” and a “Chernobyl on Ice”.
Akademik Lomonosov is a non-self-propelled powership, named after Academician Mikhail Lomonosov, to be operated as the first Russian floating nuclear power station by the state nuclear power company, Rosatom.
The vessel has length of 144.4 metres, width of 30 metres, height of 10 metres, and draught of 5.6 metres. It has a displacement of 21,500 tonnes and a crew of 69 people.
The powership is equipped with two modified KLT-40 naval propulsion reactors together providing up to 70 MW of electricity or 300 MW of heat. The reactors are designed by OKBM Afrikantov and assembled by Nizhniy Novgorod Research and Development Institute Atomenergoproekt (both part of Atomenergoprom). The reactor vessels were produced by Izhorskiye Zavody and the turbo-generators were supplied by Kaluga Turbine Plant.
The keel of Akademik Lomonosov was laid on 15 April 2007 at the Sevmash Submarine-Building Plant in Severodvinsk. The work was transferred from Sevmash to the Baltic Shipyard in Saint Petersburg in August 2008 and the vessel was launched on 30 June 2010 at a cost of around 6 billion rubles (USD232 million).
On April 28 last year, the vessel left St. Petersburg under tow to a Rosatomflot facility in Murmansk, where it received nuclear fuel for the first time. The Akademik Lomonosov power station was officially handed over to the Russian state nuclear power company, Rosatom, on July 4 this year.
The reactors of the station are to be refueled every three years and the vessel should be overhauled every 12 years. The reactors have a lifespan of 40 years.