The world's first industrial floating nuclear power plant (FNPP), Akademik Lomonosov, on 23 August began its 4,7000km journey from the Russian northwestern city of Murmansk to Pevek in the Arctic region of Chukotka, where it will supply power to the region. The vessel left the Rosatomflot pier towed by two tugboats and is expected to arrive in Pevek in the second half of September. The vessel travelled 1,852 km) in the first week of transportation.
Construction of coastal and hydraulic structures for the floating NPP, as well as of infrastructure for electricity transmission to local distributors, is expected to be completed in Pevek by the end of the year. The NPP is expected to start working in December and replace retired capacities of Bilibino NPP and Chaunskaya central heating and power plant. In addition, it will be one of the key infrastructure elements in the Northern Sea Route development programme, ensuring year-round icebreaking assistance, which will allow for the implementation of large infrastructure projects logistically related to the Pevek port.
Akademik Lomonosov is the flagship of Russia's Project 20870 on mobile transportable power units of low power. The unit is equipped with two KLT-40S reactor units, capable of generating up to 70 MWe and 50 Gcal/h of thermal energy in the nominal operating mode. The vessel is around 140 metres long and 30 metres wide, with a displacement of more than 20,000 tonnes and a lifespan estimated at 40 years.
Construction of the Academician Lomonosov was carried out by nuclear utility Rosenergoatom (part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom) together with the United Shipbuilding Corporation. OKBM Afrikantov is the chief designer, manufacturer and complete equipment supplier of the reactor units, including control systems, pumps, fuel handling equipment, auxiliary equipment, etc. Rosatom is already working on the second generation of the FNPP - the Optimised Floating Power Unit (OFPU), which will be smaller and more powerful than its predecessor. It will be equipped with two RITM-200M reactors with a total capacity of 100 MWe.
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 reactors were installed in October 2013. Academik Lomonosov left the Baltic Plant in St Petersburg in April on the first leg and was towed to Murmansk where it was loaded with fuel and took on board its crew. The loading of fuel into the two reactors began in July and was completed in early October.