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Russia has put a floating nuclear power plant into operation this weekend



On Saturday, the world's first floating power plant left St. Petersburg, Russia, pulled by two boats. The floating two-reactor 70 MW power plant will be routed through the Baltic Sea and north of Norway to a Russian city called Murmansk, where the boat will receive its fuel.

After some time in Murmansk, the power plant will be towed to a small Arctic town called Pevek Deutsche Welle . The floating nuclear power plant, called Akademik Lomonsov has no own drive hardware, so it is necessary to be slowly dragged to its destination. The company, which has built the state-owned Rosatom Corporation, said in a press release that the second leg of the journey from Murmansk to Pevek in 2019 will begin with fuel and crew aboard the boat / power plant.

Once the facility reaches Pevek, it will be used to supply the 100,000-person city, a desalination plant and oil rigs. Rosatom says that Lomonsov will replace the Bilibino nuclear power plant with a 48 MW nuclear power plant, built in 1974, and the Chaunskaya thermal power plant, now 70 years old. Bilibino was once the northernmost nuclear power plant in the world, but after Lomonsov is in operation, it will inherit that title.

The project was not without the kind of delays that nuclear projects seem to inevitably face: in 2015, the Norwegian website Barents Observer wrote that Lomonsov should be put into service by October 2016.

Meanwhile, critics are concerned that a floating nuclear power plant is ripe for disaster when the boat encounters extreme weather. In a statement, the Greenpeace comet expert Jan Haverkamp quoted concerns over the flat-bottomed fuselage Lomonsov and its lack of propulsion, despite the fact that it should be anchored in relatively shallow water. [19659008] The Rosatom press release states: "In Pevek, all the necessary construction work is under way to create a land infrastructure: the pier, the hydraulic structures and other buildings crucial to the fortification of the FPU [floating power unit] and the operation of an FNPP [floating nuclear power plant] will be operational after Akademik Lomonosov arrival. "

A probable reason why Russia wants a floating power plant? The area in which it will be stationed is quite remote, and moving land-based machinery is much more expensive than moving by sea. Deutsche Welle points out that climate change has made it easier for Russia to use North Sea routes for transport between the west and east of the country.

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