The Russian nuclear company Rosatom is preparing to launch the world’s first floating nuclear plant in the Arctic Ocean, a project that has already been compared to past nuclear disasters.
The Akademik Lomonosov plant will sail in a few weeks, but for now, the ship is anchored in Murmansk, a Russian city just 200 km from the Norwegian border.
It will then be towed through the Northern Maritime Route to Pevek, where it is supposed to provide heat and energy to local homes and help in mining and drilling operations in the Russian region of Chukotka.
The ship, 140 meters long and 30 meters wide, which can transport 69 sailors at an average speed of four knots (7.5 km / h) in favorable conditions, is “designed to operate in the Far North and in the Far East. “
Its main objective is to provide energy to remote industrial companies, port cities, as well as oil and gas platforms located at sea, “Rosatom said in a statement.
It also has a “wide margin of safety, which overcomes all possible threats and makes nuclear reactors invulnerable to tsunamis and other natural disasters.”
The vessel is equipped with “two KLT-40S reactor plants, capable of generating up to 70 MW of electrical energy and 50 Gcal / h of thermal energy in nominal operating mode, which is sufficient to maintain the life of a city with a population of around 100,000 people, “the statement said.
The Russian nuclear company also claimed that the ship is “virtually unsinkable” and that it will not be affected by collisions with icebergs.
However, environmental NGOs have expressed concern about the safety of the project, and Greenpeace has described the nuclear power plant as “UN Chernobyl on ice.”
“If a nuclear or radiation accident occurs in the Arctic, it will be much harder to eliminate its repercussions than in Chernobyl. Liquidators will face adverse weather conditions, and hundreds or even thousands of kilometers can separate them from the necessary infrastructure.”
“In such circumstances, nobody has ever eliminated nuclear accidents, nobody has so much experience, and Rosatom is not prepared for this,” said Konstantin Fomin, Greenpeace expert in the Arctic in a statement.
Greenpeace also warned of the potential of the ship to accelerate the melting of icebergs in the Arctic, increasing the possibility of an environmental catastrophe.
“According to official plans, the floating nuclear power plant will be used for the production of oil, gas and coal in the Arctic. But the burning of fossil fuels is one of the main sources of greenhouse gases, due to which it is being produced climate change and the Arctic melt, “he said.
Greenpeace also said that Russia is betting on global warming and the melting of the Arctic glaciers to increase its oil production and underground mining activities (copper and gold).
Euronews contacted Rosatom to hear his comments regarding Greenpeace’s allegations, but had not received a response at the time of publication.
Source: ES EuroNews