Four more floating nuke-plants


Rosatom and the Republic of Yakutia signed an agreement last week for implementing investments to build four floating nuclear power plants for use in the northern coastal areas of the Siberian Republic.


The deal was signed on February 24th and is by Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation considered to be a new page in the history of Russian nuclear industry. 

- It will help to preserve Russian leadership in this high-tech sector, writes Irina Tsurina, head of Rosatom’s Analytical Department of Propaganda on the web-site of the state agency.

- FNPP (floating nuclear power plant) is a new abbreviation that will soon come into general use. It is very important for us to make it associable with Russia - as sputnik and cosmonaut were in the Soviet times - as floating NPP is a unique Russian technology, Tsurina writes.

The deal between Yakutia and Rosatom outlines a series of investment projects in addition to the floating nuclear power plants, like uranium mining and a processing combine, reports Interfax.

The construction of Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant started at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk in April 2007, but in August 2008 Rosatom transferred the assignment to the Baltiiskii Yard in Sankt Petersburg. Before Christmas last year BarentsObserver reported that transfering the construction from Severodvinsk to St. Petersburg did not bring progress to the project. Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported thar the Russian plans for a series of floating nuclear power plants is far from being materialized.

However, Rosatom still maintain that the world’s first nuclear electricity production on a floating barge will be ready by May 2010, writes Interfax. BarentsObserver earlier reported that the intention with this first plant is to supply the Severodvinsk region with electricity.

No information is given about where the four new floating nuclear power plants will be built, in Severodvinsk or in St. Petersburg.

If built in St. Petersburg the plants have to be towed out of the Baltic Sea and all the way along the coast of Norway before sailing into the Arctic waters to their ports in Yakutia.

When the plants need maintance and change its highly radioactive spent nuclear, normally after 4-5 years, it will be towed back to Murmansk or Arkhangelsk regions. Today, spent fuel can be transferred either at a naval yard on the Kola Peninsula or in Severodvinsk, but it could take plant at the civilian Atomflot base, outskirts Murmansk. From Atomflot, spent nuclear fuel is shipped by train to the Mayak reprocessing plant in the South-Urals.

Rosatom is planning to construct a total of seven or eight floating nuclear power plants by 2015, writes World Nuclear News.

Each floating nuclear power plant will be equipped with two water cooled reactors of the KLT-40S type. This reactor technology is a slightly modernized version of the reactors today in use onboard Russia’s fleet of civilian nuclear powered icebreakers based in Murmansk.