Russia’s floating nuclear plant commissioned

June 1, 2020, 7:30AMNuclear News

The Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s only floating nuclear power plant, has been fully commissioned, reports Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation.

Statement: "Today, we can consider the floating nuclear power plant construction project successfully completed,” said Andrei Petrov, director of Rosenergoatom, the electric energy division of Rosatom, in a May 22 press release. “Today, it officially becomes the eleventh nuclear power plant in Russia and the northernmost one in the world.”

Rosatom also noted that Rostechnadzor, Russia’s technical, nuclear, and environmental watchdog, has carried out an inspection of the Lomonosov project, and that based on the results, has issued a “statement of conformity,” according to the press release, verifying that the Lomonosov was built “in accordance with all project documentation requirements.”

Stats: The plant, deployed at Pevek, in the Chukotka region of Russia's Far East, was connected to the grid on December 19, 2019 (NN, Jan. 2020, p. 67). The Lomonosov is equipped with two KLT-40C reactor systems, each with a capacity of 35 MWe, similar to those used on icebreakers. According to Rosatom, it has generated over 47.3 million kWh of electricity since being connected to the grid, currently provides 20 percent of the Chaun-Bilibino energy center demand, and will become the main energy source for the Chukotka region following the shutdown of the Bilibino nuclear plant. With a service life of 40 years, the Lomonsov is 140 meters (about 460 feet) long, 30 meters (about 98 feet) wide, and has a displacement of 21,500 tons.

Nota bene: Despite some headlines to the contrary, the Lomonosov is not the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. That title goes to the USS Sturgis, a mothballed Liberty ship that was converted into a barge and outfitted with a 45-MWt, 10-MWe, low-enriched uranium pressurized water reactor. The Sturgis operated in the Panama Canal Zone from 1968 to 1976, providing electricity for military and civilian use.

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