Pevek, a small Russian town near the Bering Strait above the Arctic Circle, will get the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. Construction of infrastructure has started in the beginning of October with a ceremony that put the first pile into Pevek’s waterfront.
With a ceremony representatives of the Russian state nuclear power company Rosenergoatom and regional authorities have marked the historical start of infrastructure construction for the Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. The project will have a major impact on Chukotka, regional Governor Roman Kopin said in the ceremony. It will not only provide stable energy supplies to the town, it will also help develop the rich mineral resources of the region, he underlines.
Ships loaded with construction materials are now shuttling to the far eastern town in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Over the next couple of weeks, up to 15,000 tons of goods will be loaded off at the Pevek seaside. Shipments must be completed before the quickly approaching winter season makes waters in the area inaccessible for regular vessels.
Meanwhile, the Akademik Lomonosov is under construction at the Baltic Yard in St. Petersburg. Dock trials started in July this year and will continue until fall 2017. By the end of 2017, the plant is to be ready for transportation to Pevek. The energy block will be connected with local infrastructure in September 2019 and test production started that same fall, the company says. “What we have seen in Pevek over many years and decades must be improved, we now try to help the town to get rid of its aging technology and solve the issue of energy replacement”, says company representative Sergey Zavyalov. The Akademik Lomonosov will be the world’s first floating Nuclear Power Plant. It will have a production capacity of 70 MW of electric power and 300 MW of heating power, enough to power a city with 200,000 people. In Pevek, however, there are only about 4700 people. In recent years, many of the mines in the region became unprofitable and have closed, causing many residents to move to more central regions in Russia.
Russian authorities believe that the floating installation ultimately could replace the Bilibino nuclear power plant in Russia’s Far East which is gradually been taken out of service. More than 300 people will find jobs during the construction, with 42 employed on a permanent basis.
Source: Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer