On July 25, 2018, fuel loading operations began at Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s only floating nuclear power unit (FNPU) so far. The FNPU is located in Murmansk at the Atomflot site (Atomfleet, Rosatom subsidiary). Russian regulatory body Rostekhnadzor confirmed beforehand that everything was ready for fuel loading.
Thus, one of this year’s key stages in preparing the FNPU for commercial operations was successfully launched. The Akademik Lomonosov will be based in Pevek (the Chukotka peninsula), where it will gradually replace the Bilibino NPP and the Chaunskaya CHPP, and become the basis of the region’s energy.
Vitaly Trutnev, Director of Directorate for the Construction and Operation of Floating Nuclear Thermal Power Plants, a Rosatom’s subsidiary, said: “This spring, we successfully towed a nuclear power unit without nuclear fuel from St. Petersburg to Murmansk, and here we finalize the remaining technological operations. Today, specialists have begun to implement one of the most important tasks – the stage-by-stage loading of nuclear fuel into reactor plants: first, No. 1, and then No. 2. The next key stages that are planned to be implemented before the end of this year will be the physical launch of the reactors and the beginning of complex mooring tests - after obtaining the appropriate Rostekhnadzor permits.”
Dmitry Alekseenko, Deputy Director of Directorate for the Construction and Operation of Floating Nuclear Thermal Power Plants, a Rosatom subsidiary, stressed that the main requirement for the launch of the FNPU in Murmansk is security. “The base of Atomflot possesses all the necessary infrastructure, specialists and competencies both for loading nuclear fuel and for physical launch of reactors,” he said.
Next year, in 2019, the FNPU will be deployed at Pevek. Currently, all the necessary construction work is underway there to create infrastructure on the shore, including a complex of buildings, hydraulic structures and a coastal platform, designed to ensure safe docking of the power unit and power supply to the shore. The power unit will become the main part of the northernmost and only Floating Nuclear Power Plant in the world, and will provide Chukotka with electric power, replacing outgoing obsolete technology. The towing is planned to be carried out next year.