The town of Pevek, also called Chukotka (Brian Tibbets/Public Domain)

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World’s first floating nuclear plant starts heating Asia’s northernmost town

Akademic Lomonosov, the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, has begun supplying heat to the Russian port of Pevek on the East Siberian Sea.

The 70MW plant is being managed by Rosenergoatom, a subsidiary of Rosatom that manages nuclear power plants.

Vitaly Trutnev, head of its floating nuclear plant division, commented: “So far, the floating nuclear power plant has only produced electricity. From now on, it produces two products: in addition to electricity, it also produces heat.”

Its specific job is to supply hot water and central heating to the town’s apartment blocks, taking over from the coal-powered Chaun Thermal Power Plant, which was built in 1944.

Pevek, the most northerly town in Asia, is mainly concerned with exporting Siberian minerals. In future, however, it is likely to become a relay on the Northern Sea Route between China and Europe, now being used for longer periods of the year as Arctic ice retreats.

The Akademic Lomonosov moored in Pevek (Rosatom)

Named after an 18th-century Russian scholar, the Lomonosov was originally expected to begin supplying power and heat to Pevek in December 2019. The plant’s KLT-40S reactors are variants of the KLT-40 designs that were developed to power icebreakers.

To begin with the Admiral will supply the town’s fifth district, but this will be extended as the town’s heating networks are adapted. At present it supplies 30% of the town’s electricity, but over time it will supply the whole of the town’s power needs.

The floating plant, the world’s first, was commissioned in May when it officially became Russia’s 11th nuclear power station.

According to Rosatom, it has already generated its thermal capacity of 300MW, or up to 50 gigacalories an hour.

Top image: The town of Pevek, also called Chukotka (Brian Tibbets/Public Domain)

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