Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) says transport of Russia’s floating NPP (FNPP), the Akademik Lomonosov, through the Gulf of Finland is no cause for concern.
The Nordic and Baltic states had previously expressed fears over Russia’s plans to transport the vessel from St Petersburg, where it is being built, to the Arctic port of Murmansk. Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende has also stressed concern about a potential accident causing radiation leaks, especially since the route through the Baltic Sea and the Kattegat Straight would bring the plant close to land.
However, STUK's director, Petteri Tiipana, told Finnish national broadcaster Yle on 18 July: "Even if the reactor is transported along the Gulf of Finland, it will not pose any concern." Following a visit to the St Petersburg shipyard, Tiippana noted that infrastructure had been built on the shore to protect the power plant from the sea. "At this stage, it is not decided where fuel loading and initial testing will take place. But even if the fuel loading is in St Petersburg and the test takes place here, we do not have much to worry about," he said, adding that further negotiations over the Academik Lomonosov are not required.
Russian nuclear utility Rosenergoatom (part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom) says the vessel is 96% complete. The 21,000-tonne Akademik Lomonosov has two Russian-designed 35MWe KLT-40S small pressurised water reactor units and is expected to be the first of a proposed fleet of FNPPs intended to provide energy, heat and desalinated water to remote and arid areas.
Next year, the floating nuclear plant will be moved from St Petersburg to Pevek on the Chukchi Peninsula, where coastal infrastructure work has been underway since late 2016.
Photo: Akademik Lomonosov (Credit: Rosatom)