Floating nuclear power plants — the view from the ocean

The influential American newspaper «Time» published an article «In Russia, a Push for Floating Nuclear Power Plants» (Russia started construction of floating nuclear power plants). The article highlights the innovative character of the project and the prospects for use in the Arctic. Vydrezhki publish, the full text can be found here.
Russia has always been actively involved in development of the Arctic. On its northern borders, the length of which is 4,300 miles (7,000 kilometers), a large number of rapidly developing cities, as well as the port of Murmansk, the city's population is 300,000 people, and is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. His closest rival in America? City of Barrow (Barrow) in Alaska, with its 4,000 souls.
Supply located far away cities has never been particularly easy. This work is predominantly Russian nuclear icebreakers fleet — huge ships with a lot of horsepower in power plants that are needed in order to split the ocean ice up to two meters and take the necessary supplies. Heat and illuminate the cities — this is another difficult task that has become even more difficult after the abolition of the energy and transport subsidies to the Soviet era. Now, however, offered a resourceful Russian idea, the implementation of which, they hope, will not only maintain the status of the main Russian Arctic Power, but can also be a profitable and export-oriented businesses. It is about creating floating nuclear power plants (PAES).
PAES idea is simple, though a bit scary: mounted on a barge on two 35 megawatt reactor, deliver it to the right place to hold the cable to the shore and distribute electricity generated. PAES of this size can supply electricity to a city with a population of 200,000 people.
Critics of this idea out loud shout of "floating Chernobyl", although this technology is safe enough. First of all it must be said that mobile nuclear plants already well tested — including on icebreakers. Moreover, any nuclear reactor in the event of an accident is a real danger, but PAES are relatively small — their 35-megawatt installation does not pale in comparison to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the power of which was 4,000 megawatts. prototype of such a vessel has been built at the shipyards in Saint-Petersburg. Now it should set reactors, after which it will be towed to the located in the Russian Far East city Vilyuchinsk (population 25,000), which houses the Russian fleet of nuclear submarines. As expected, the installation will be commissioned in 2012.
PAES can help Russia to extend the range in another very important area. This kind of setting can be useful in the development of offshore oil, 90% of which are located in the Arctic shelf of the country. Mobile reactors will help reduce costs as well as get rid of the headache of having to deliver diesel fuel by sea in bad weather conditions. All this prompted Gazprom, which seriously intends to develop the world's largest undeveloped Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea, to order several PAEs in Rosatom — state nuclear corporation. Other installations of this type to be used in the extraction of uranium.
Western energy and mining companies, is expected to become the first buyers of small reactors, and many Western companies, considering the growing global market, began to develop their own systems. Shell plans to use one such unit for energy-intensive production of "black gold" of the Canadian oil sands in Alberta. Toshiba has already expressed interest in using the "pocket reactor" with a capacity of 10 megawatts located in Alaska Galena (Galena) c a population of 700 people, which will allow him to get rid of the need to use generated by the combustion of diesel electricity, the cost of which is ten times higher than the that exists on the mainland of the United States.
Russia proposed a solution in the form of a model of "build — own — operate." The receiving party shall then be simply buying electricity (and possibly also desalinated water), while the rest will engage themselves Russian. There will be no transfer of material or technology transfer, and Russia itself will deal with waste disposal and reprocessing of spent fuel elements in their territory every three or four years, and the installation every 12 years will go to Russia for maintenance that should be done only three times during the entire period of her life.

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