The world's first floating nuclear power plant, which activists dubbed 'Chernobyl on ice,' has docked in Russia. Photos show its journey.
- The world's first floating nuclear plant, a Russian vessel called Akademik Lomonosov, arrived at its final destination on September 14.
- After about a decade of construction, the plant traveled 3,100 miles across the Arctic Ocean to a remote area in northern Russia.
- It will soon provide enough electricity for around 100,000 homes.
- Environmentalists have criticized the concept of nuclear plants at sea, arguing that they could be difficult for emergency-response teams to reach if an accident were to occur.
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As the Akademik Lomonosov sailed across the Arctic Ocean toward a remote region of Russia earlier this month, its freshly-painted exterior bore the signature red, white, and blue colors of the nation's flag.The vessel is the world's first floating nuclear power plant, complete with two loaded nuclear reactors. It reached the port of Pevek, an Arctic town across from Alaska, on September 14. From there, it will start generating enough electricity for an estimated 100,000 homes.Advertisement
The plant could spur other nations to acquire floating nuclear power plants of their own, but environmentalists worry about the safety of such facilities. Under extreme circumstances, some activists have said, an environmental disaster such as a tsunami could trigger a nuclear explosion at sea.
Nuclear experts at the environmental nonprofit Greenpeace have dubbed the floating plant "Chernobyl on ice," a reference to the 1986 nuclear disaster that led to widespread contamination across Europe.Take a look at how the world's first floating nuclear power plant came to life.
The Akademik Lomonosov nuclear power plant is designed deliver electricity to remote areas.
Russia began building the plant in the city of Severodvinsk in 2007, then construction moved to the St. Petersburg shipyard a year later.Advertisement
The plant has two nuclear reactors and is also outfitted with a pool, gym, and booze-free bar.
In 2018, the finished plant stopped off in the city of Murmansk, where it was loaded with nuclear fuel.Advertisement
Around the same time, environmentalists expressed concern about what might happen if a nuclear accident were to occur on the ship. Several dubbed the plant "Chernobyl on ice."
The plant set sail on a 3,100-mile ocean voyage to Pevek, an Arctic port to the west of Alaska, on August 23.Advertisement
The plant arrived in Pevek less than a month later, on September 14.
Activists had been concerned about what might happen if the plant were to crash into coastal rocks on its journey to Pevek, but the trip went smoothly.Advertisement
The plant is expected to provide electricity for an estimated 100,000 homes in the remote region of Chukotka.
Russia eventually hopes to mass-produce similar floating power plants for other nations.Advertisement
Generating nuclear energy creates less air pollution and fewer carbon emissions than using fossil fuels.
Nuclear plants also tend to be cheaper to run than coal or natural-gas plants.Advertisement
But Haverkamp said the floating nuclear plant is "riskier than running an ordinary nuclear-power station, and Russia has a checkered past when it comes to ordinary power stations."
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