The floating nuclear reactors to be built initially in the Arctic solve the energy problems of remote settlements and industrial plants and promote the oil and gas production in the Arctic Ocean. “But Russia has developed floating nuclear power plants in which modified icebreaker reactors are used,” says Nils Böhmer of the Norwegian environmental organization Bellona Foundation in Oslo.
“This is so attractive because you can build such a reactor at a central location, where workshops where expertise is available, and then it drags the floating to the site. the reactor is then anchored near land, the port, and then connected to the power grid. that is practically a floating power plant, “says Stephan Kurth from the Institute for Applied Ecology in Darmstadt. The prototype of this system is named Akademik Lomonosov 1. There is a 150 meter long barge on the two reactors have been installed. They are relatively small, it will bring together a capacity of 70 MW of electrical power.
Floating nuclear power plants not only delight the Russians
“This the reactor is in certain situations may be somewhat easier to handle when one thinks of the amount of heat which can also be paid in case of failure. on the other hand can naturally bring the smaller, compact construction difficulties also just. that is, the accessibility according to experience of course more problematic . the reactor is, however, despite the low performance is not so small that you can leave him to himself “
safety and emergency cooling systems must prevent in case of emergency, the chain reaction permanently and dissipate decay heat -. exactly as with a large nuclear power plant. For the reactor builder of Rosatom also rely on passive techniques, such as in emergency cooling without pump. Unlike Russian icebreakers usual no highly enriched uranium would also employed Rosatom writes in an email: “The uranium fuel indeed has to be enriched up to operate in a floating reactor, but it remains (…) below the limits is not the sets -Verbreitungsabkommen for nuclear weapons. “
Finally Rosatom hopes for a new business. Ever inspire floating nuclear power plants not only the Russians. The Canadian company Dunedin Energy Systems plans to build similar systems for remote mining projects in America. The US elite university MIT developed plans, and the Chinese have signed a cooperation agreement with Rosatom – and one with the British company Lloyds Register. Meanwhile, the Russians presented the concept of their investment already the International Atomic Energy Agency. In the lecture IAEA sounded so:
“earthquake of magnitude 10: no radiological consequences for people and the environment
tsunami waves that toss the plant on land. No radiological consequences
for humans and the environment (…) Totaler Blackout and meltdown. (…) the reactor is not critical, the meltdown is caught in the reactor pressure vessel and the heat dissipated by external passive cooling systems “
evacuated in an emergency, and contingency plans were needed only for the radius of one kilometer from the bark, advertises Rosatom. Nils Böhmer is there more skeptical: “. The reactor surrounds not very robust protective case, and a leak may well radioactivity released into the environment”
would Difficult an accident in the Arctic Winter
in addition, since the spent fuel at the Akademik Lomonosov 1 nor shall camp on board, grows over time, the risk that in case of emergency large amounts could be set free of radionuclides. “The Russians have a long experience with nuclear reactors on board ships, both military and civilian. But on board such vessels there have already been accidents. So just broke in the last five to ten years, multiple fire aboard nuclear icebreakers from. “
If there is now even floating reactors for the power supply, the risk will multiply, says Böhmer. Difficult was an accident in the Arctic winter or in bad weather. Since the operation team could hardly hope for outside help. Stephan Kurth: “This floating reactor is supposed to be used primarily where little infrastructure That is initially throughout remote regions of Russia, where no stable or no mains is present, of course on the other hand problems may arise precisely because because.. this lack of infrastructure is so that one does not come particularly quickly or particularly good to go in case of failure. that is, it will take a long time until you perhaps necessary aids until you and so has local experts. this makes tackling a major accident in no case more easily. “
Then there is still the question of how vulnerable are secluded facilities for terrorist attacks or the theft of nuclear material. However Rosatom sees no problems. Since last September, the crew of Akademik Lomonosov will be trained, and for the end of the first practical tests are provided. “We are currently planning, in 2018 or 2019 1 to drag the Akademik Lomomosov in the port of Pevek.”
In Pevek, a 5,000-inhabitant town in the far east of Siberia, to the Akademik Lomonosov replace the nuclear power plant Bilibino and deliver electricity for 40 years, writes Rosatom. The fact that so much time elapsed between the completion of the floating nuclear power plant and its commissioning has probably cost reasons: The infrastructure in the port of Pevek is yet to be built.