The Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power plant is planned to commence operations by the end of 2019


Image: The Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power station escorted by an ice boat and tow boats (Cedit: Rosenergoatom, Joint-Stock Company)

Russian state corporation Rosatom says the Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power plant (NPP) has docked at its permanent location in the Arctic port town of Pevek, Chukotka, in the country’s Far East.

The floating power unit will commence operations by the end of this year and become the world’s first operational nuclear power plant based on small modular reactors (SMRs) technology.

Rosatom CEO Alexey Likhachev said: “It’s maybe one small step for sustainable development in the Arctic, but it’s a giant leap for the decarbonisation of remote off-grid areas, and a watershed in the development of small modular nuclear power plants in the world.”

Akademik Lomonosov vessel features

Said to be a ‘working prototype’ for a reliable source of low-carbon energy supply, the 144m-long Akademik Lomonosov floating NPP features two KLT-40C reactor systems, each with a capacity of 35MW. It has a displacement capacity of 21,000t.

The vessel will be deployed for operations in the areas of the Extreme North and the Russian Far East.

World Nuclear Association director general Agneta Rising said: “To meet the nuclear industry’s Harmony goal of supplying at least 25% of the world’s electricity by 2050, we will need to bring the benefits of nuclear energy to more people in a wider range of locations.

“The Akademik Lomonosov is the first of a new class of small, mobile and versatile nuclear power plant that will supply clean and reliable electricity, heat and water, helping meet the UN’s sustainable development goals.”

With an operational life of 40 years, the vessel will be capable of 70MW generation capacity and 50 Gcal/hr of heat energy each during its normal operation.

The floating nuclear power unit was delivered by the Baltic Shipyard to Rosenergoatom Joint-Stock Company, a part of the electric power division of Rosatom in July 2019.

Rosatom spokesman said: “Once we begin to manufacture small reactors in series, SMR-based plants for remote areas have a good chance to produce electricity cheaper than diesel, saving money and preventing harmful emissions.”