Russian nuclear utility Rosenergoatom said on 19 January that serious ice conditions had not affected the course of the construction of onshore facilities for Russia’s first floating NPP (FNPP), which is to be moored at Pevek in the Chukotka region. The statement followed media reports that ships carrying building materials for construction of a pier for the Akademic Lomonosov FNPP, which will be transported to Pevek in 2018, had been stuck in the ice. Rosenergoatom said the vessels had already delivered to the site 8900t of materials which would allow construction to continue until the middle of 2017.

The problem occurred when the convoy of two dry cargo vessels (The Johann Mahmastal and The Sinegorsk) escorted by two icebreakers (The Kapitan Dranitsyn and The Admiral Makarov) became stuck in the ice on 16 January 50km from Pevek on their return journey after delivering their cargo. The ice thickness near the East Siberian Sea by the Shelagsky Cape, the northernmost point of Chukotka, was more than one metre thick with ice hummocks of 2.5m. The East Siberian Sea is the most icy of all the Russian seas in the Arctic. It is covered with ice from October-November to June-July and floating ice remains  in the sea’s eastern parts even in summer.

Rosenergoatom said there would be no break in deliveries to the site and the next one, with materials for construction of the breakwater, quay, would take place on schedule in July and August.

The head of the ice monitoring and forecast department at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (in St  Petersburg), Evgeny Mironov, told Tass that ice conditions in the eastern Arctic in January are always complicated and require the assistance of ice breakers. "The ice situation in the Arctic changes every year, and now it is closer to a medium ice layer, while in the earlier years the ice was lighter," he said, noting that this year the winter was especially severe.