builds floating nuclear power plant
Moscow, Sep 7 (RIA Novosti) In a couple of years, a new kind
of vessel will appear on the sea - the floating nuclear power
plant (FNPP). The Academician Lomonosov, currently under construction
in Russia, is only one project of the several FNPP being developed.
The formal keel laying ceremony took place in April 2007 at
the Sevmash shipyard of the Russian State Centre for Nuclear
Shipbuilding in Severodvinsk. After about a year and a half,
the state-owned corporation Rosatom revoked the general contract,
handing it over to the Baltiysky Zavod (Baltic Plant) Shipyard
in St. Petersburg.
So now the birthplace of the first floating nuclear power
plant will be the Baltic Sea instead of the White Sea. The
FNPP is expected to be ready by 2010.
The FNPP will be a barge able to move with the help of a tugboat
and transportation will be done without nuclear fuel. It will
look like a small island with an area of between 7.4 and 12.4
acres. It resembles a "symbiosis" of a nuclear-powered
vessel and a standard land-based nuclear plant.
It could well arouse amazement and fear, as radiophobia is
widespread. Nevertheless, according to Sergei Kirienko, chief
of Russia's Federal Nuclear Power Agency, "the floating
nuclear power plant with several levels of protection will
be much safer than a land-based one".
The reactor type to be used on the FNPP proved its efficiency
during the tragedy of the sinking Kursk submarine in the Barents
Sea in 2000.
When a powerful explosion disabled the submarine's electricity
supply and its hull filled with water, the nuclear reactor
was turned off automatically by a signal from the security
system. When the submarine was later raised, it still contained
a safe and sound reactor, ready to operate.
Both physical parameters and a potential terrorist threat
were taken into account while developing the security system.
The latest advances in science and technology, including fingerprint
and iris identification, are used to prevent unauthorised
access to the FNPP nuclear material. Provision is also made
for protecting the reactor from underwater sabotage.
The barge hosting the power unit will drop anchor off the
coast near a production facility. The crew of up to 140 men
would work on a four-month shift rotation.
The transformer plants will be situated on shore. Although
the FNPP is around 15 times less powerful than a standard
land-based nuclear power plant, it would still be able to
supply energy to a city with a population of 100,000 people.
Used for desalination, it could produce 240,000 cubic meters
of fresh water a day. An FNPP would save up to 200,000 tonnes
of coal and 100,000 tonnes of furnace oil per year. It would
have a service life of between 10 and 12 years, after which
it would weigh anchor to undergo maintenance and refuelling,
while another FNPP arrives to replace it.
The mobile nuclear plant was developed to meet energy demand
in Russia's remote regions. A flotilla of such vessels is
needed to resolve the energy crisis in the country's Far East
and extreme North. Although the FNPP is still under development,
an investment agreement has already been signed with the Republic
of Sakha (Yakutia) to build FNPPs to supply energy to the
northern parts of the region.
Upon the first vessel's completion, its reactors will start
generating energy for
Russia's northwestern region. Potential foreign customers
will have the opportunity to see the FNPP in action. Experts
say demand will outstrip supply.