Chinese shipyard starts Russia’s second floating nuclear plant

A keel-laying ceremony has been held for Russia’s second floating nuclear power plant, which is to be built in a Chinese shipyard.

The barge will be an upgraded version of the Akademik Lomonosov and will be used to power mines and a new port in the Chukotka Autonomous Region, the easternmost territory of the Russian Federation. 

Weighing 19,000 tonnes, the barge will be 140m long and 30m wide. It will carry two RITM-200 reactors, a new generation-III+ pressurised-water design with a power output of 55MW.

The Akademik Lomonosov, which began commercial operations in May 2020, was equipped with two 35MW KLT-40S reactors.

The project is being overseen by Atomenergomash (AEM), the mechanical engineering subsidiary of state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom.

Andrey Nikipelov, the director general of AEM, said: “This project is special for us for several reasons: for the first time ever AEM will be responsible from the start to finish of a floating power unit. Second, I can say that this is the start of a family of [floating nuclear power plants], which will come in Arctic and tropical versions.”

Three more floating plants are planned, and AEM has begun work on manufacturing their reactors.

Rosatom added that the barge was being built in China because of the project’s tight deadlines and a lack of capacity in Russia’s shipyards. The unnamed Chinese yard is to deliver the completed hull by the end of next year.

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