Russia’s state nuclear regulator Rostekhnadzor Russian on 27 June granted nuclear utility Rosenergoatom (part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom) a licence to operate the Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power station until 2029.

The FNPP is 144m long and 30m wide with a displacement of 21,000 tonnes. Its two KLT-40S reactors have a total capacity of more than 70MWe or 159MWt and can also be used for desalination. OKBM Afrikantov is the chief designer, manufacturer and complete equipment supplier of these reactor units including control systems, pumps, fuel handling and auxiliary equipment.

Rosenergoatom director-general Andrei Petrov, said obtaining the licence was “the result of many years of complex work to create a unique nuclear energy facility”. This will enable the FNPP  to begin its journey to the port of Pevek in Chukotka the end of August where it will undergo further tests and formal commissioning at the end of 2019.  

The transfer of the FNPP from the manufacturer, the Baltiysky Zavod (Baltic Shipyard), to the customer (Rosenergoatom)  is expected by the end of June and by the end of this year the construction of onshore and hydraulic structures should be completed in Pevek as well as infrastructure that will ensure the transmission of electricity to the Chukotenergo grid and heat to the heating network of the city. Connection to the grid is scheduled for December. The FNPP is intended to replace the decommissioned generating capacities of the Chaunskaya combined heat and power plant in Pevek and the Bilibino NPP in Bilibino.

The keel of Academik Lomonosov was laid in April 2007 at Sevmash in Severodvinsk, but in August 2008 Rosatom cancelled the contract and transferred it to the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg. New keel-laying began in May 2009 and the 21,500t hull was launched at the end of June 2010. The two reactors were installed in October 2013. Academik Lomonosov left the Baltic Plant in April 2018 on the first leg of its journey  to Murmansk where it was loaded with fuel and took on board its crew. The loading of fuel was completed in early October 2018.

The Akademik Lomonosov is the lead project of a series of mobile transportable low power units to be sited in the Far North and the Far East. It will be a key infrastructural element in the Northern Sea Route development programme. The aim is to provide energy to remote industrial enterprises, port cities, as well as gas and oil platforms located in the open sea. Rosenergoatom said the FNPP has been designed with a large margin of safety to counter external threats. Rosatom is already working on a second generation floating nuclear plant, an optimised floating power unit, which will be smaller and will be equipped with two 50MWe RITM-200M reactors.

Photo: The Akademik Lomonosov (Credit: Rosatom)