Following the launch of the Akademik Lomonosov today, Vitaly Trutnev, director of the Rosatom subsidiary responsible for the floating nuclear power plant, said: "It is a significant milestone for our project as well as for the whole world's nuclear industry".
A controversial floating nuclear power plant made by Russian Federation has headed out for its first sea voyage. The twin reactors are expected to provide up to 200,000 people with electricity. The floating nuclear power plant, called the Akademik Lomonsov, doesn't have any of its own propulsion hardware, so being slowly towed to its destination is a necessity.
The power plant must be towed to its destination.
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The £337million ($480million) Akademik Lomonosov was towed out of the St Petersburg shipyard ahead of its journey towards Murmansk, on Russia's northwest coast. However, due to pressure from Baltic states and a petition organized by Greenpeace Russia, Rosatom, the state-controlled owner, decided previous year to move loading and testing to Murmansk.
It will replace the retiring Bilibinskaya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which is now generating up to 80 percent of electric power in the isolated Chaun-Bilibinskaya grid.
The project has not been without the kinds of delays that nuclear projects seem to inevitably face: in 2015, the Norway-based website Barents Observer wrote that the Lomonsov would be put into service by October 2016.
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Rosatom, the state-owned atomic energy corporation, is the owner of the nuclear power plant.
"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", Greenpeace nuclear expert Jan Haverkamp said in a statement.
Rosatom's press release states that "All necessary construction works to create on-shore infrastructure are underway in Pevek".
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"Floating nuclear power plants will enable electricity and heat supply to the most remote regions boosting growth and sustainable development". Deutsche Welle points out that climate change has made it easier for Russian Federation to use northern sea routes for transportation between the country's west and east.