Officially, the contract with Sevmash is cancelled because the shipyard is inundated with military orders from the navy, Russian nuclear state company, Rosatom, writes in a press-release.
Several nuclear powered submarines and other naval vessels are in line of construction at enormous shipyard on the banks of the White Sea. No other shipyard world-wide has built more nuclear powered submarines than Sevmash, and with the renewed focus on naval power in Russia more will come.
The construction work on the floating nuclear power plant started at Sevmash in April 2007. So far, a third of the plant’s hull and central section is built. This will be moved to the St. Petersburg shipyard.
Unclear destination The unanswered question now is the final destination of the plant. Originally it should be located in Severodvinsk and supply electric power to the two naval yards in the city.
If the idea still is to transfer it to Severodvinsk after it’s built in St. Petersburg, the floating nuclear power plant will be towed all the way around the coast of Norway and the Kola Peninsula before sailing into the White Sea.
Nuclear icebreaker experience The Baltiysky shipyard has long-time experience in nuclear engineering. All of Russia’s Arktika-class nuclear powered icebreakers are built at the Baltiysky yard. The newest icebreaker, the 50-years anniversary was delivered last year and operates in Arctic waters with Murmansk as its home port.
The reactors to be used in the floeating nuclear power plant are more or less of the same type (KLT-40) as the reactors onboard Russia’s fleet of nuclear powered icebreakers.
Several years construction period As BarentsObserver has reported before, the construction of the floating nuclear power plant has been delayed several times. Earlier this year BarentsObserver reported that the construction will be completed in mid-2011. How the transfer of the construction from Severodvinsk to St. Petersburg will effect this time-frame is unclear.
The steel keel to be transferred now is for the first floating nuclear power plant to be named Akademik Lomonsov. Rosatom is also planning to construct seven further floating nuclear power plants. According to World Nuclear News the plants will be used by Gazprom for offshore oil and gas field development and for operations on the Kola and Yamal peninsulas.
Vanished contracts When Sevmash now lose the construction contract with Rosatom it’s the third huge civilian contract to vanish from the yard recently. Sevmash was hoping to get the contract for the Shtokman gas field platforms, instead the Shtokman platforms are under construction at the Vyborg shipyard.
In February this year, the Norwegian shipping major Odfjell has cancelled its contract with Sevmash over the construction of a series of chemical tankers. The reason is serious delays and cost overruns with the construction of the vessels.