In three years, Russia will have the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, capable of providing energy and heat to hard-to-get areas as well as drinking water to arid regions.
The unique vessel should be operational by 2016, the general director of Russia’s biggest shipbuilders, the Baltic Plant, Aleksandr Voznesensky told reporters at the 6th International Naval Show in St. Petersburg.
The Akademik Lomonosov is to become the spearhead of a series of floating nuclear power plants, which Russia plans to put into mass-production.
The floating power-generating unit, aimed at providing energy to large industrial enterprises, port cities and offshore gas and oil-extracting platforms, was designed on the basis of nuclear reactors which are equipped on the icebreakers ships. The technology has proved itself for over 50 years of successful operation in extreme Arctic conditions.
The floating power plant is a vessel with a displacement of 21,500 tons and a crew of 69 people. It’s non-self-propelled and therefore has to be towed to the desired destination.
Each ship will have two modified KLT-40 naval propulsion reactors together providing up to 70 MW of electricity or 300 MW of heat, which is enough for a city with a population of 200,000 people.
The floating nuclear power plants are expected to be used in remote regions of Russia’s high north and Far East, which currently see economic growth suffering from a lack of energy.
For export purposes, the floating power plant can also be modified as a desalination plant able to produce 240,000 cubic meters of fresh water on a daily basis.
15 countries, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria, Namibia, Cape Verde and Argentina, have previously expressed interest in acquiring such power stations.
The manufacturer stresses that the process of fuel enrichment on the vessels complies with the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) dealing with nonproliferation of nuclear arms.
Like every atomic station the floating power plant is designed with a safety margin, exceeding any possible threats, which makes the reactors invulnerable to tsunami waves or crashes with other ships or on-land structures.
The power-generating unit is to be replaced by a new one after 40 years, with the used reactor returned to a specialized facility for re-utilization.
The vessels are said to be safe for the environment as they don’t release any hazardous substances during operation.