The world’s first floating nuclear reactor Akademik Lomonosov recently completed its epic 5,000 km Arctic voyage in 22 days, despite environmentalists warning of serious risks to the region. Loaded with nuclear fuel, it set sail from Murmansk and docked at its permanent location in Pevek, in Russia’s Far East. Here’s a closer look at the floating marvel:
1. Akademik Lomonosov was named after 18th century Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov.
2. The 21-tonne, 144-metre (470 ft) long and 30-metre wide platform, which is designed to meet the energy needs of remote communities, was towed into Pevek by a clutch of vessels.
3. Developed by Rosatom nuclear agency, the Akademik Lomonosov is scheduled to start operating by this year-end once connected to the local electricity grid. Once operational, it will become the world’s northern-most nuclear installation.
4. At Pevek, it will operate as part of a floating nuclear power plant. The station houses two 35-megawatt reactors, more in line with the power of nuclear-powered ice breakers boasting around 1,000 MW capacity.
5. Once commissioned, it will also become the maiden operational nuclear power plant based on small modular reactors (SMRs) technology; and a ‘working prototype’ for a reliable source of low-carbon energy supply in remote areas.
6. Nuclear agency Rosatom hopes to design customised floating nuclear reactors available for export, using the Akademik Lomonosov as a sales pitch.
7. The Akademik Lomonosov is expected to provide energy for around 1,00,000 people and power oil platforms as Russia develops extraction of natural resources in a mineral-rich area whose eastern tip is a few kilometres from Alaska.