Russia has launched world’s first floating nuclear power plant, according to a report published on April 30, 2018.
This new floating nuclear power plant developed in Russia is the 70-megawatt Academik Lomonosov on the Baltic Sea. It will start from St. Petersberg and will be towed around Norway to a Russian town called Murmansk to take on nuclear fuel. Then, it will head to the Arctic to power the 100,000-person city of Pevek, along with a desalination plant and oil rigs.
The construction on the ship had begun in 2007, and it cost US$ 232 to build the nuclear power plant. Initially, Rosatom, the state-run company who owns it had planned to load the reactor with nuclear fuel at St. Petersberg and then, send the ship directly to Pevek. However, Greenpeace and several Baltic states mounted a successful petition, so the firm decided to load and test it in Murmansk.
This is not considered as a great idea by the Greenpeace and other environmental groups, especially since the ship must be towed and can’t move on its own power. Jan Haverkamp, Greenpeace nuclear expert said, “Moving the testing of this ‘nuclear Titanic’ away from the public eye will not make the testing less irresponsible. Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean will pose a shockingly obvious threat to a fragile environment which is already under enormous pressure from climate change.”
A 48-megawatt nuclear power plant in the Pevek region will be replaced by this new power plant. The economy of Russia largely relies on petroleum and like other nations, has staked claims to the oil-rich Arctic. Arctic ice is rapidly melting due to global warming that is caused by fossil fuel burning and this opens up new shipping lanes from Russia. Furthermore, oil exploration becomes easier as well.