The town of Pevek in Russia’s Arctic Chukotka Autonomous District will switch to a closed heat supply system from the floating NPP Akademik Lomonosov by the end of 2021, according to Yuri Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister – Plenipotentiary of the President of the Russian Federation in the Far Eastern Federal District during a working visit to Pevek on 5 April. 

Sergey Lukomsky, Director of Teploenergoservice DKM said the reconstruction and construction of engineering networks for heat, water supply and sewerage would be completed by October 2021. The design and installation of the building of the pipeline junction in Pevek has already been completed. Work continues on drilling piles for laying water supply and heat supply and sewerage pipelines to apartment buildings in the Geolog microdistrict. Installation of equipment for heating units in houses on Chemodanova Street has been completed.

Akademik Lomonosov FNPP, developed and constructed by Rosatom, was connected to the grid in December 2019, and at the end of May 2020 began commercial operation. The FNPP comprises a dedicated system of coastal infrastructure to support the Akademik Lomonosov floating power unit, which is equipped with two KLT-40S reactors with an electric power of 35MW each. The power capacity of the FNPP is 70MW, the heat capacity is 50 Gcal/h. Currently it provides about 30% of the needs of the Chaun-Bilibino energy centre, and in the future it will fully cover the growing energy needs of Chukotka, and the region. At the end of June 2020, the station supplied its first heat to consumers in Chukotka. A new terminal is also planned to be built by 2026 in the port of Pevek, which is a key location for development of the Northern Sea Route. 

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. The aim is to provide energy to remote industrial enterprises, port cities, as well as gas and oil platforms located in the open sea.

Rosatom has since announced plans to update its FNPP project using the larger RITM reactors and to develop plants which could operate both in the Arctic zone and in tropical regions. Rosatom is also planning to build a small ground-based SMR in Yakutia based on the RITM reactor series. A field survey has been completed at a potential site in the village of Ust-Kuyga. Work is expected to being on site in January 2021.

Atomenergomash (part of Rosatom’s mechanical engineering division) has now begun developing a technical design for an optimised FNPP with RITM-200 reactors. This will take up to two years, Andrey Nikipelov, the head of Atomenergomash, said on 6 April. Nikipelov noted that the design provides for a reduction in the cost of both the unit compared with the Akademik Lomonosov, and operating costs. “We are installing the RITM-200 reactor, which is smaller and lighter, and its unit capacity can increase by about 25%, up to 50-55 MW, depending on the water temperature. The body itself in the design is 25% lighter, shorter and slightly narrower, so less equipment is required. In addition, it is possible to reduce the number of staff. Reducing capital and operating costs leads to a decrease in the unit cost of electricity. This FNPP may well suit the market and we see an emerging demand for it,”, he said.

Floating nuclear power plants are a good solution for island states, as well as for industrial projects, for example, for mining and processing plants (GOK), which have a specific period of operation and need power supply for 30-50 years, Nikipelov said.

Currently, the Russian government is working on creating an infrastructure for supplying power to one of the largest copper and gold deposits – the Baimsky GOK in Chukotka. Rosatom proposes supplying power to the Baimskaya ore zone using floating nuclear power plants. “Based on the tight timeframe of the project, we have proposed an intermediate version for Baimka – a modernised floating power unit. The ship's hull and most of the equipment will be produced according to the project of Akademik Lomonosov, but we will replace the most important thing – we will install the RITM-200 reactor and supply a more powerful turbine generator set. We propose to supply four floating blocks – three main and one standby, which will be switched on during the repair or refuelling of the main stations, ”Nikipelov said.