Small nuclear power plants (SNPP) is one of promising areas of ROSATOM’s activities. JSC Rusatom Overseas is in charge of its development as the sectoral integrator.
SNPPs are intended for use in remote regions with undeveloped power grid infrastructure where more powerful NPPs are not reasonable to build. Small nuclear power plants have a wide range of evident advantages connected directly with the energy constituent: ensuring energy independence of hard-to-reach territories as well as environment-friendly energy generation. The availability of an energy source capable of 24/7 operation gives advantages for development of local businesses and meets the needs of users of mineral resources that could ensure a synergetic effect for development of hard-to-reach territories. Also, SNPP is capable of producing heat that is important for regions with cold climate. Considering all these factors, SNPPs have a large export potential.
Current SNPP projects with reactors of RITM series (designer – OKBM Africantov, a ROSATOM’s company) have high level of safety which is achieved through multiple systems and barrier-envelopes. A combination of active (power sources are needed for their operation) and passive (no energy sources are needed) safety systems allows achieving maximum safety level of the plant. The said systems prevent likelihood of an accident and several levels of barriers built-in in the design of the plant exclude a release of radioactive substances in the environment. SNPPs allow ensuring energy independence of a region, stable supply of clean heat and electricity (including energy-intensive production), reduction of releases of noxious substances in the atmosphere due to replacement of existing generation sources (diesels, in particular).
At the present time, ROSATOM operates the world’s only floating co-generation nuclear power plant (FNPP) based on a floating power unit the Akademik Lomonosov with two KLT-40 reactors. The plant is hosted by the city of Pevek in Chukotka Autonomous District (CAD). The KLT-40 reactor plants used in FNPP have successfully proven themselves by many years of fault-free operation in the Russian nuclear icebreaker fleet. The plant electric power capacity is 70 MW. FNPP was built in JSC PA Sevmash and JSC Baltijskiy zavod in Saint-Petersburg. In September 2019, FPU the Akademik Lomonosov was moored in Pevek. In December 2019, FNPP released first electricity to the isolated power grid of Chaun-Bilibino hub of CAD. In May, the plant was commissioned for commercial operation.
Now, ROSATOM implements a construction project of the world’s first on-ground SNPP in Ust-Yansk Region of Yakutia. It is economically justified: it is very difficult to bring fuel to the north of Yakutia because of severe conditions of the Arctic. With that, the industry development and prospects of mining mineral deposits in the region require stable and clean energy source. At the present time, the preparation for conduct of the main environmental expert review is being completed, the engineering surveys of the pre-project phase are completed, and the public hearings of the project documentation have been held. According to the plan, the construction of the plant will be completed in 2028.