The world’s first floating nuclear power plant has begun supplying electric power to a remote corner of Russia amid criticisms from environmental activists, the state nuclear company Rosatom announced Thursday.
The Akademik Lomonosov arrived in Russia’s northernmost town of Pevek in September, three weeks after setting off on a 5,000-kilometer journey through Arctic waters. Greenpeace has voiced safety concerns with Russia’s seaborne nuclear plant, calling it the “Chernobyl on ice” and “nuclear Titanic.”
“This day became symbolic for residents: The floating nuclear power plant lit the city’s New Year tree,” Rosatom said.
The Akademik Lomonosov nuclear plant’s next step is to enter commercial operation in 2020, said Andrei Popov, the head of Rosatom’s energy division Rosenergoatom.
The Akademik Lomonosov becomes Russia’s 11th nuclear power plant and is the third in the world to be located north of the Arctic Circle, Rosatom said. Its two 35-megawatt reactors are set to eventually replace the Chukotka autonomous district’s aging nuclear plant and a coal-fired plant, it added. The older nuclear plant has shut down the first of its four reactors, The Barents Observer reported.
The Akademik Lomonosov is set to supply Pevek’s estimated population of 100,000 people with energy, Rosatom said. The floating plant's construction costs are unknown, although media reports have estimated its price tag at around $450 million.
Rosatom said it is working on a second floating nuclear-power plant with two 50-megawatt reactors.