Saturday, April 4, 2020

Russia's Floating Power Plant Plugged In

January 2, 2020

Image: Rosatom

Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom said its floating nuclear power plant has been connected to the grid and has commenced electricity production for the first time in a remote region of Russia.

The floating power unit (FPU) Akademik Lomonosov has been connected to the grid, generating electricity for the first time in the isolated Chaun-Bilibino network in Pevek, Chukotka, Russia’s Far East. This happened after the Russian regulator Rostekhnadzor issued an operations permit, as well as permission to connect to the northern electricity grid maintained by Chukotenergo JSC.

Rosatom’s Director General Alexey Likhachev said: “After its connection to the grid, Akademik Lomonosov becomes the world’s first nuclear power plant based on SMR-class technology to generate electricity. This is a remarkable milestone for both the Russian and the world’s nuclear energy industry. This is also a major step in establishing Pevek as the new energy capital of the region”.

The project has been welcomed by scientists, nuclear energy experts and environmentalists across the world. Kirsty Gogan, Head of Energy for Humanity, an NGO (London), said: “For hard-to-reach regions, with a climate that is simultaneously too harsh to support the use of renewable energies and too fragile to continue its heavy dependence on fossil fuels, small nuclear, including floating plants, is the only answer. Akademik Lomonosov is the first step towards demonstrating its potential for decarbonisation of the Arctic and beyond”.

Connecting the FPU generators to the network was carried out after parameter synchronization with the coastal network. This happened after the completed construction of the onshore facilities, ensuring the transfer of electricity from the FPUs to Chukotka’s high voltage networks. A vast amount of work was also carried out on constructing the heat supply networks. Connecting the FNPP to Pevek’s heat networks will be completed in 2020.

Once the FNPP will begin commercial operations, it will make it Russia’s 11th nuclear power plant. It will also mark the first time in Russia’s nuclear energy history that two nuclear power plants (the Akademik Lomonosov FNPP and the Bilibino NPP) operate in the same region.

The nuclear FPU Akademik Lomonosov is equipped with two KLT-40C reactor systems (each with a capacity of 35 MW) similar to those used on icebreakers. It is designed by Rosatom to work as a part of the Floating Nuclear Thermal Power Plant (FNPP). The vessel is 144 meters long and 30 meters wide, and has a displacement of 21,000 tonnes.

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