The floating power unit (FPU) Akademik Lomonosov has been connected to the grid and has started supplying electricity in the isolated Chaun-Bilibino network in Pevek of Chukotka at Russia’s Far East.
Alexey Likhachev, CEO of Rosatom said, “Following its connection to the grid, Akademik Lomonosov becomes the world’s first nuclear power plant based on Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology to generate electricity. This is a remarkable milestone for both the Russian and the world’s nuclear energy industry.”
The project has been welcomed by scientists, nuclear energy experts and environmentalists across the world, said a press release.
Kirsty Gogan, Head of Energy for Humanity, a London based NGO, 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 synchronisation 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.
Once the FNPP begin commercial operations, it will become Russia’s 11th nuclear power project.
Akademik Lomonosov is a pilot project and a ‘working prototype’ for a future fleet of floating nuclear power plants and on-shore installations based on Russian-made SMRs. The small power units will be available for deployment to hard-to-reach areas of Russia’s North and Far-East, as well as for export.
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 metres long and 30 metres wide, and has a displacement of 21,000 tonnes.
SMR-based nuclear power plants (featuring reactors of less than 300MWe each), floating and on-shore, can operate non-stop without the need for refueling for three to five years, thereby considerably reducing the cost of electricity generation. The plant can be delivered to any point along a coast and connected to existing electricity grids.