Russia Launches Barge For Floating Nuclear Power Plant

Russia Floating Nuclear Power Plant Barge Launch photo

The barge of Russia's floating nuclear power plant, Academician Lomonosov, is launched at the Baltic Shipyard. Photo via The Voice of Russia.
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Does the idea of a nuclear power plant floating in the ocean leave you a little nervous? It may sound far-fetched, but Russia is rapidly moving forward with plans to develop the world's first floating nuclear power plant -- and Russia's nuclear agency, Rosatom, took a big step forward with the project on Wednesday when the barge was put into the water.

According to a Reuters article, environmentalists say the plan to create floating nuclear power plants along the northern coast is a risky move, but officials at Russia's nuclear agency say it's "absolutely safe."The head of Russia's nuclear agency, Sergei Kiriyenko, told Reuters the vessel would be loaded with nuclear fuel in the Murmansk region before being stationed at sea for operation. The floating power plant, dubbed Academician Lomonosov, will produce 80 megawatts of electricity, and will be in commission for 32 years before being retired and hauled away. The idea is that the floating nuclear power station will leave no scar on the landscape once it goes out of commission.

But the plan has environmentalists worried. Vladimir Chuprov, Greenpeace Russia's energy projects chief, says a nuclear leak would pose a widespread hazard:

The danger begins when the reactor is installed and nuclear fuel put there. If something goes wrong ... it could mean the nuclearization of several dozen hectares of land at a minimum and tens of thousands of people evacuated from the polluted area.

There's no denying that Russia has a spotty nuclear legacy, with disasters including the death of all 118 crew of the nuclear-power submarine Kursk when it sank in 2000, and the Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown in 1986 in Soviet Ukraine.

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Russia Launches Barge For Floating Nuclear Power Plant
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