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Rosatom’s floating nuclear plant produces power at remote port

Rosatom says the floating nuclear power plant is suited to remote areas and “island states” which need stable and in its own words, “green,” sources of energy

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Floating nuclear, Rosatom

Russia’s floating nuclear power station has begun supplying electricity to a remote port in Siberia, despite widespread environmental and safety concerns, the state nuclear corporation Rosatom has said.

In a statement, Rosatom reported that the Akademik Lomonosov had plugged into the “isolated Chaun-Bilibino network” in the port of Pevek, Chukotka, which is located in the Far East area of Russia.

As a symbolic gesture, the first volts of electricity pumped out by the plant lighted up a Christmas tree on the icebound village’s central square.

Described by Rosatom as the world’s “only floating power unit,” it’s envisaged that the Akademik Lomonosov — which set sail from the Russian port of Murmansk in August — will become an important part of the Chukotka area’s power supply. It has two KLT-40C reactors, which have a capacity of 35 megawatts each. Rosatom has begun decommissioning the Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant, which has served the region since the 1970s, expecting that the Akademik Lomonosov will replace its energy.

The Akademik Lomonosov represents an audacious experiment that has, for better or worse, confounded critics and defied warnings from environmentalists who say the vessel is too vulnerable to the elements. Greenpeace has dubbed it a “floating Chernobyl” and a “nuclear Titanic.”

For its part, Bellona has opposed construction of plant since it began in 2006, publishing a detailed catalogue of its concerns in a report it released in 2011.

Rosatom says the floating nuclear power plant is suited to remote areas and “island states” which need stable and in its own words, “green,” sources of energy.

But Bellona has said that these aspirations to operate the plant in remote regions are part of what makes it so dangerous. Rescue operations in the event of an accident would be complicated by distance.

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