Construction of second Arctic floating nuclear power plant started

Keel laying ceremony for the first of Russia’s new generation floating nuclear power plants took place at China’s Wison Heavy Industries Co yard in Nantong on August 30. (Rosatom)

Three years after “Akademik Lomonosov” started to produce electricity for the remote Siberian community of Pevek, the first of four in a new generation of up-scaled floating nuclear power plants for the Arctic is now officially under construction at a yard in China.

The hull to the first two new floating NPPs will be built in China. This is unlike the “Akademik Lomonosov” whose hull was built in Severodvinsk by the White Sea before being towed to St. Petersburg where reactors and other gear were built.

Atomenergomash, a sub-company of Russia’s Rosatom state nuclear corporation, took part in the keel laying ceremony via a video-link from Moscow to the yard in Nantong in the southeastern Jiangsu province.

The barge will be 140 meters long and 30 meters wide and will have a weight of nearly 10,000 tons, Atomenergomash informs.

By the end of 2023, the barge will be towed to Russia where installation of the reactors, auxiliary equipment, control room and accommodation area will take place.

The company doesn’t say which shipyard in Russia will do the job; the Baltiskiy Yard in St. Petersburg or the Zvezda Yard in Bolshoy Kamen in the Far East of the country. Severodvinsk in the northwest is likely too busy with building military nuclear submarines.

By the end of 2022, a decision will be taken on where to build the hulls for the third and fourth floating NPP.

Contract signed last year 

As previously reported by the Barents Observer, the contract to supply four floating nuclear power plants to Chukotka Autonomous Okrug was signed with Rosatom last year.

Each of the plants will have an installed electric capacity of 106 MW.

While the “Akademik Lomonosov” has two KLT-40 reactors similar to those powering the former Arktika-class of nuclear-powered icebreakers, the new generation now being built will get an upgraded version of the RITM-200 reactors producing more steam to the generators.

RITM-200 is the reactor type being used onboard the new icebreakers of Project 22220, of which “Arktika” and “Sibir” are already sailing northern waters, while three more currently are under construction in St. Petersburg.

Russia hopes the floating NPPs in the Arctic will trigger interest from other countries.

Atomenergomash Director, Andrey Nikipelov, said this new family of NPPs can have different power and purposes; for the Arctic or the tropics.

“Atomenergomash is ready to offer it to the market,” he said underlining that floating NPPs have a “serious potential for exports.”

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: MLA worried hydro expansion in Northern Canada is ‘subsidy’ for mining project, CBC News

Finland: Nuclear waste company plans major investment at disposal site in southwest Finland, Yle News

Norway: Traces of radioactive iodine detected near Norway-Russia border, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Floating nuclear power plant near destination in Russian eastern Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Environmentalists praise ruling on nuclear waste site in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: Russia’s floating nuclear power plant worries Alaskans, Alaska Public Media

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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