Though Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas, it is embarking on an ambitious and somewhat imaginative programme of building floating nuclear power stations, writes Tony Roulstone, Lecturer in Nuclear Energy at the University of Cambridge, online at 'The Conversation'.
These reactors, mounted on huge, 140m by 30m barges, are being built in the Baltic shipyard in St Petersburg and will be floated through the Norwegian and Barents Seas to where they will generate heat and electrical power in the Arctic.
The first, informs the author, is Academician Lomonosov, which has been built and its two 35MWe KLT-40S reactors are now being installed. Lomonosov is destined for Vilyuchinsk , on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East where she will be operating by 2016. Up to ten similar plants are destined for similarly remote and unpopulated areas.
Mixed safety record
Providing containment is difficult in a small plant. The usual approach is to construct a very large, almost cathedral-like, box around the reactor to ensure that even in the worst case a radioactive release is kept inside the plant.
The author concludes, that as with many other aspects, we do not know whether the containment structure of the Russian reactors will be effective.
The complete article can be accessed at: http://theconversation.com/russias-floating-nuclear-plants-to-power-remote-arctic-regions-19994
Source: The Conversation