Nuclear power tries its sea legs
Russia has announced plans to build a floating nuclear power plant by 2016.
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"Academician Lomonosov’s" keel was laid in April 2007 at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk on the White Sea, but the project was subsequently transferred to the Baltiskii Zavod. The "Academician Lomonosov’s" 21,500 ton hull was subsequently launched in 2010, although construction work was frozen in mid-2011because of bankruptcy proceedings against the shipyard. The company was subsequently acquired by state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation and Rosenergoatom signed a new contract with the Baltiskii Zavod for the "Academician Lomonosov’s" completion. The "Academician Lomonosov" has 69 crew and specialists. Ominously, the "Academician Lomonosov" has no engines, so it needs to be towed. The vessel is equipped with two modified KLT-40 reactors.Skip to next paragraph
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But, not to worry.
The Baltiskii Zavod shipyard stressed that The "Academician Lomonosov" and its successors are all designed with a safety margin exceeding all possible threats which makes its nuclear reactors invulnerable to tsunamis and other natural disasters and the ships meet all the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and do not pose a threat to the environment. The factory further states that 15 nations, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria, Namibia and Argentina have already expressed interest in buying floating nuclear power plant. (Related article: Nuclear Energy Innovation is Vital for Slowing Climate Change)
The "Academician Lomonosov"will be sent to Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka for operational testing. Rosatom then aims to construct seven more FNPPs by 2015, with four of them likely to be located on the northern coast of Siberia’s Yakutia. Other Arctic areas provisionally scheduled to receive FNPPs include port cities along the Russian Federation’s arctic coastal Northern Sea Route and Pevek in Chukotka. An added benefit of the FNPP as envisaged in Moscow is that the provision of nuclear power to the Arctic and Far East will free up more oil and natural gas for foreign export, allowing the Russian federation to generate additional hard currency.
Tow cables snap, Arctic conditions can be unpredictable, ships sink. As the ocean is the common heritage of humanity, perhaps the international community might evince a tad more interest in this project.
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