Construction of the coastal infrastructure for Russia’s first-of-a-kind floating nuclear power plant (FNPP), Academik Lomonosov, formally began on 4 October with an official ceremony at Pevek in the Chukotka Autonomous Region, although preparatory work had been underway for some time. The FNPP is scheduled to be commissioned there in 2019, after it completes tests at the construction site in St Petersburg. The ceremony was attended by the regional governor Roman Kopin; Rosenergoatom deputy CEO and director of special projects and initiatives Pavel Ipatov; and head of the FNPP construction administration Sergey Zavyalov. The first sheet pile was driven into the foundation of the on-shore infrastructure and a memorial plaque and time capsule were installed.
Kopin noted that the plant addresses two major issues for the region, which is in the Arctic northeast. "The first one is that it substituted the Bilibino NPP because Bilibino and Pevek operate within a single power centre, so the timeline for the Bilibino NPP's first power block shutdown in 2019 will be synchronized with the floating plant's launch," he said.
The second issue is to supply enough power for the major mining companies located in western Chukotka in the Chaun-Bilibino power centre. "It does not mean that the floating plant will fully cover the power needs of those companies," Kopin added. "However, it will be operational and will give development incentives to the industry at the initial stage."
Zavyalov said, "We expect that work to elaborate the technical conditions for the floating plant's power delivery, which we are carrying out jointly with the Department of Energy, Chukotenergo, and RAO EES Vostok, will be completed by October-November 2016." He added, "In December, we plan to be ready to submit operational documents and to order the electric technical equipment for at the site."
The keel of Academik Lomonosov was laid in April 2007 at Sevmash in Severodvinsk, but in August 2008 state nuclear corporation Rosatom cancelled the contract – citing the heavy military workload at Sevmash - and transferred it to the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg. However further delays followed due to bankruptcy and change of ownership. New keel-laying began in May 2009 and the 21,500t hull was launched at the end of June 2010. The two 35MWe KLT-40S reactors were installed in October 2013.
Pre-operational trials at the Baltic Shipyard are expected to be completed by late October 2017 and the vessel should be ready to be transported to Pevek later that year. Nuclear utility Rosenergoatom plans to start installation of the plant in September 2019, followed by further trials and operational launch.