In January, Rosatom will begin work on the site of the future small nuclear power plant, which is planned to be built in Yakutia, Rosatom director general Alexei Likhachev said in a video message published on Rosatom’s website on 28 December.

"A few days ago, we signed an agreement with the Autonomous Republic of Sakha-Yakutia on the construction of the first low-power onshore nuclear power plant there. The station is based on the RITM-200 ship-based reactor facility. In January, we will begin work on the site in Ust-Yansky," he said.

Under the agreement the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) confirms the off-take of 40-50MW of SMR electricity and its readiness to assist in SMR nuclear power plant siting. The construction of the SMR power plant will nearly halve the costs of electric power in Ust-Yansky District compared to the current prices, Rosatom said.

The SMR construction project development follows the Agreement of Intent between Yakutia and Rosatom signed in September 2019. In 2020 field survey was completed and detailed design work is currently underway.

Rosatom hopes to receive a construction licence for the project in 2024 with the aim of launching the reactor by 2028.

The new SMR will replace coal-fired and diesel facilities in Ust-Yansky District and create up to 800 new jobs. Additionally, the SMR power plant will provide non-intermittent and clean power to the Kyuchus gold deposit development project, a statement said.

On 28 December, Rosatom opened financing for an investment project "Development of the core for the RITM-200 reactor facility for a low-power nuclear power plant". The work, which is coordinated and financed by Rosatom’s fuel company TVEL, will involve several enterprises of Rosatom’s fuel division including the AA Bochvar Research Institute of Inorganic Materials (VNIINM) and the Mashinostroitelny Zavod (MSZ) in Elektrostal as contractors for OKBM Afrikantov (part of the Rosatom engineering division), which is the chief designer of the reactor plant and its core. The design of a low-power land-based nuclear power plant is based on the use of the RITM-200 ship-based reactor facility, originally developed for the Project 22220 Arktika universal nuclear icebreakers.

As part of the project to develop a core for the ground version of the reactor, VNIINM specialists will develop neutron sources, fuel elements and burnable absorber rods. MSZ engineers will develop technologies for the manufacture and control of individual fuel components and complete fuel cartridges. Completion of the project is scheduled for late 2022.

Photo:  Rosatom is planning to build a small nuclear power plant in the Arctic region of Yakutia (Credit: Rosatom)