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Russia will launch its first floating nuclear reactor station

Aug 23, 2019, 11:07 am

Russia is all set to launch the world’s first floating nuclear station and will send it to a grand journey across the Arctic region. This particular project is quite ambitious for the country. However, the environmentalists pointed out the possibility of the region being in serious trouble.

The 144-meter long floating nuclear reactor is named Akademik Lomonosov. The authorities began to work on this ambitious project in Saint Petersburg in 2006.

The nuclear vessel weighs almost 21,000 tons and has two reactors with the capacity of 35 megawatts each. It will also include 69 crew members and will possibly achieve a speed of 3.5 to 4.5 knots.

The nuclear station, Akademik Lomonosov will leave the Arctic port of Murmansk and start its voyage to northeastern Siberia. The distance of the journey is almost 5000 kilometer. Since the nuclear station will be loaded with nuclear fuel, the entire journey will be risky.

It seems the journey of the reactor will last for almost four to six weeks. But, the time will vary depending on the weather and how much ice will along the way.

The environmentalists have expressed their concerns about this reactor naming it as a potential ‘Chernobyl on ice‘ and a ‘nuclear Titanic‘. They have warned the world about the possible danger coming to the Arctics because of this project.

Moreover, Russia has witnessed a deadly explosion at a military testing site in the far north. This resulted in a radioactive surge and has provoked the chances of risks regarding the floating nuclear reactor.

Aim of the reactor

According to a Nuclear agency Rosatom report, the reactor is a simpler alternative in building a conventional plant on ground that is entirely frozen all year round. The company also aims to sell such reactors abroad if the project is successful.

The nuclear reactor will replace a local nuclear plant and a closed coal plant after reaching Pevek in the Siberian region of Chukotka. The reactor will possibly be ready to use at the end of this year. It will fulfill the demands of the oil platforms as Russia develops the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Arctics.

Drawbacks

Rashid Alimov, the head of the energy sector of Greenpeace Russia has expressed his concerns about the world’s first floating nuclear reactor. He said the environmentalists are critically judging the idea of the floating reactor since the 1990s. He also added that the float would likely be at danger during storms as other vessels practically give it most of the support all the time.

Any nuclear power plant produces radioactive waste and can have an accident, but Akademik Lomonosov is additionally vulnerable to storms. – Rashid Alimov said in an AFP report.

According to him, it can bring serious harm to nature as Rosatom plans to store spent fuel on board. This will make the reactor sensitive to accidents that can occur anytime during the journey. He also added that there is no infrastructure present at the Arctics to clear the nuclear wastes.

Furthermore, the nuclear industry is using smaller and cheaper reactors to satisfy its customer’s demands. Many vessels, e. g. Submarines, icebreakers, aircraft carriers, etc. are produced using nuclear power. These vessels travel all around the world including the isolated areas that lack infrastructure.

Hence, they pose a threat to our fragile environment and may result in its destruction in the future.

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