Russian design bureau outlines project for submersible SMR

25 July 2023

Russia’s Marine Engineering Bureau Malakhit in St Petersburg (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation) is working on a project for a submersible underwater energy module (PEM).

It is intended to supply power to companies mining deposits in the Arctic shelf zones and to remote northern garrisons where conventional power plants cannot be located.

The PEM will be equipped with two nuclear power plants each with a total of 8-10 MWe. It will be able to dive to a depth of 400 metres and remain there for an extended period. The module will work autonomously with periodic maintenance. Every three months it will be checked by up to six specialists. It will be able to take on personnel and cargo by docking with underwater inhabited devices.

According to Malakhit, the PEM will float above the seabed at a depth that excludes the effects of icebergs and pitching. It will be secured by eight anchor lines. The control and maintenance module is located in a separate solid building. While the bureau provides extensive detail about how the facility is secured, there is nothing about the reactors. However, the fact that the project was publicised by Strana Rosatom, the corporation’s official magazine, suggests the project is being seriously considered for development.


Image: Conceptual image of how the underwater power module might look (courtesy of Strana Rosatom)

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