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Russia designs nuclear train

Sounds like a chapter in a science fiction book? Well,it’s not. Rosatom and Russian Railways are seriously developing a nuclear powered train.

Vice-president of Russian Railways (RZhD) Valentin Gapanovich says they will present the layout of the train by the end of this year. The train will consist of 11 wagons.

The engine of the train will be a small fast breeder reactor, and in its initial stage, the train will be a scientific exhibition complex.

The design is made by Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom.

- I looked at the design of the train, I liked it and I support the idea originally presented by Rosatom since it is a innovative way of develop nuclear energy, Gapanivich told Interfax.

The estimated cost of construction is still unclear, and nothing is yet said about the safety of such train.

This is not the first time the idea of a nuclear powered train is presented. Back in 1956, the Ministry of Transport of the USSR first time announced nuclear propulsion as a possibility for locomotives that could operate autonomously, without electricity or large amount of fuel. The Ministry then said such locomotives could be used in the High North and remote areas of Siberia, according to a back-ground article posted on the magazine Popularnaja Mehanika.

Another feature with the proposed nuclear powered train is that it can easily be converted to a mobile nuclear power plant, supplying energy to remote areas and industrial sites.

Russia is currently building the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. The barge to hold the reactors was set afloat in June last year at the yard in St. Petersburg.

The floating nuclear power plant is scheduled to be towed from St. Petersburg to the remote Russian Arctic region of Chukotka by the end of 2012, as previously reported by BarentsObserver.