Floating nuclear plant seized in bankruptcy proceedings


The shipyard in St. Petersburg that is building Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant to be used in the Arctic appears on the brink of bankruptcy.


The Court of Arbitration seized the half-ready floating nuclear power plant after a request from Rosenergoatom, the state owned company that will operate the plant on the coast of the Russian Arctic, reports Kommersant.

The construction of the floating nuclear power plant is said to continue despite the economical troubles at the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard. The last info published on the shipyards portal is dated August 3rd and informs that the steam-turbine plant that will provide electricity and heat to onshore is installed onboard the barge.

88 percent of the shares in the shipyard are owned by United Industrial Corporation, owned by Sergei Pugachev. These shares are pledged to the Russian Central Bank as collateral for an unreturned loan to the International Industrial Bank, also controlled by Pugachev. The International Industrial Bank declared itself bankrupt in November last year. 

Baltiysky Zavod says they will challenge the court decision.

The floating nuclear power plant, named “Akademik Lomonosov” is a huge barge with a reactor similar to the ones that are onboard Russia’s nuclear powered icebreakers. The two 35 MW KLT-40S type reactors have already been assembled and are ready to be installed onboard the barge. The plant was originally scheduled for delivery next autumn. The plan is to tow the floating nuclear power plant from St. Petersburg around the coast of Norway, across the Barents Sea towards the eastern northern coast of Siberia.

This is not the first time the floating nuclear power plant project is sailing through troubled waters. The first construction idea was launched back in the early 90ties, but delayed for a decade due to lack of financing. Then, the construction started at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, but Rosenergoatom cancelled the contract with Sevmash due to long-lasting delays in the construction and transfered the contract to Baltiysky Zavod.

Ecologists, both in Russia and abroad claims the reactor technology is outdated and that the idea of having a floating nuclear power plant is a potential high-risk project in itself.

BarentsObserver has earlier reported that Rosatom is planning to construct seven further floating nuclear power plants.

Baltiysky Zavod is the same shipyard that has built all of Russia’s Arktika-class nuclear powered icebreakers and the Northern Fleet’s nuclear powered battle cruiser “Peter the Great