Murmansk, 19 May 2018 – Akademik Lomonosov, the nuclear floating power unit (FPU), has been moored in Murmansk where it was towed from Saint Petersburg to be loaded with fuel.
Once loaded with fuel Lomonosov will be towed to the town of Pevek in Chukotka (Russian Far East) where, upon connection to the grid, it will become the world’s so far only operational floating nuclear power plant and the northernmost nuclear installation in the world. It will replace a coal-fired power plant and an aging nuclear power plant Bilibino supplying over 50,000 people with electricity and reducing carbon footprint in the Arctic by tens of thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
En route to Murmansk Lomonosov sailed over 4,000 km and travelled four seas: Baltic, Northern, Norwegian and Barents. In the waters off Norway’s west coast Lomonosov was visited by Norwegian media and environmentalists.
A welcome ceremony took place at the pier of Atomflot (Atomfleet, Rosatom’s maritime subsidiary). The ceremony was attended by Director General of ROSATOM Alexey Likhachev, Chukotka region governor Roman Kopin, Murmansk region deputy governor Eugene Nikora, Deputy Director General of ROSATOM Aleхander Lokshin, Rosenergoatom Director General Andrey Petrov and Atomflot Director General Vyacheslav Ruksha.
Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev commented: “We have successfully towed the power unit, not yet loaded with nuclear fuel, to Murmansk and are going to fully launch here this unique project, which was only made possible thanks to cooperation of many companies. Akademic Lomonosov is an unparalleled piece of engineering by Russian scientists. It is a first-of-a-kind, reference project for mobile medium capacity range nuclear power units, a product we expect to be in growing demand in the coming years. For instance, we see great interest from all island nations where it is difficult, for various reasons, to set up a developed centralised power transmission infrastructure.
Despite criticism by anti-nuclear groups, the floating nuclear power plant project has been welcomed by many environmentalists and green groups as the only feasible way to reduce the Arctic’s dependency on coal causing millions of tonnes of CO2 emissions and toxic pollution destroying the region’s fragile ecosystems.
Ben Heard, the Executive Director of Bright New World Organization said: “It’s fair to point out that the Arctic is a vulnerable ecosystem. But it’s greatest vulnerability is to climate change. This power plant is going to replace an existing coal-fired power station and provide zero-carbon electricity generation for 50,000 people. There is literally no prospect of that energy coming from renewable sources in that location. Any organisation citing ‘protection of the Arctic’ to make blunt objections to this or any other nuclear project has the risks back-to-front and upside-down.
“The power plant has approval from the IAEA. There is decades of operational experience for reactors in ship-board conditions. With up-scaled production, the potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions with this application is staggering. Remote communities world-wide need affordable, reliable non-carbon energy and this is a way of getting it to them.
Nuclear fuel will be loaded into Akademik Lomonosov’s reactors in Murmansk in the coming months. In 2019 nuclear FPU Akademik Lomonosov is expected be towed to the sea port of Pevek. Average towing speed is estimated at 3.5-4.5 knots. All necessary construction work s to create on-shore infrastructure are underway in Pevek. The pier, hydraulic engineering structures, and other buildings, crucial for the mooring of FPU and operation of a FNPP will be ready to use upon Akademik Lomonosov arrival.
The nuclear FPU is equipped with two KLT-40C reactor systems (each with a capacity of 35 MW) similar to those used on icebreakers. The vessel is 144 metres long and 30 metres wide, and has a displacement of 21,000 tonnes. Akademik Lomonosov – the first ship of this kind – was named for 18 th century Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov .
The lifecycle of the nuclear FPU is 40 years with the possibility of being extended to up to 50 years. After decommissioning, the FPU will be towed to a special deconstruction and recycling facility. No spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste is planned to be left in the Arctic – spent fuel will be taken to the special storage facilities in the mainland Russia.
The FNPP was designed to made it possible to supply electricity to hard-to-reach areas of the Russian Federation, regardless of transport infrastructure, landscape, and cost of fuel delivery. Up to 40% of the cost of fossil fuel-based electricity generation is attributed to the price of coal, oil or gas, as well as to the cost of their delivery. This figure is even higher for especially remote locations. The small size, light weight, and fixed cost of the FNPP eliminate many such challenges. These small nuclear reactors can operate non-stop without the need for refuelling for three to five years, thereby considerably reducing the cost of electricity generation.
The reactors have the potential to work particularly well in regions with extended coastlines, power supply shortages, and limited access to electrical grids. The plant can be delivered to any point along a coast and connected to existing electrical grids.
ROSATOM is already working on second generation FPUs, or Optimized Floating Power Units (OFPUs), which will be equipped with two RITM-200M reactors (each with a capacity of 50 MW). In additional to having a greater power capacity, OFPUs will be smaller than their predecessors.
ROSATOM is the only company in the world to offer integrated clean energy solutions across the nuclear supply chain and beyond, including the design, build and operation of nuclear power stations, uranium mining, conversion and enrichment, the supply of nuclear fuel, decommissioning, spent fuel storage and transportation and safe nuclear waste disposal. With seventy years’ continuous experience, the company is the world leader in high-performance solutions for all kinds of nuclear power plants. It is also working in the segments of wind generation, nuclear medicine, energy storage and other. Headquartered in Moscow, the company brings together over 300 enterprises and organizations and over 250,000 employees. Globally, the company has the second biggest uranium reserves, has 40% of the world’s enrichment market, and is the world's biggest builder of the latest generation nuclear power stations and US$133 billion 10-years export order book.