Not your average barge

Gazprom, Russia largest company, is reportedly the first company planning to employ five floating nuclear power plants from Russian state agency Rosatom, responsible for the vessels development and operation. They are reportedly planning to use them as energy source, for their exploration and production endeavors in the Russian arctic.

The first nuclear barge, Academician Lomonosov, began construction in April 2007 at the Sevmash Submarine-Building Plant in Severodvinsk, with a planned launch in 2010, at Russia's Baltic Shipyard in Saint Petersburg. In October 2007, a second contract was signed between the Republic of Sakha and Rosatom, for use in supplying heat and electrical power to remote areas of Russia's Yakutia region.

The first floating nuclear power plant will utilize two modified KLT-40 naval propulsion reactors providing up to 70 MW of electrical or 300 MW of heat energy and will be supplied by OKBM, to be built at the Zvezdochka Engineering Plant in Severodvinsk. The second version, for the Republic of Sakha, will utilize two ABV-6M reactors with a capacity of around 18 MW of electrical power. Wikipedia also mentions that 325 MWe VBER-300 and 55 MWe RITM-200 reactors have been mentioned as potential reactors to use in the barge.

The nuclear barge will have a length of 144 meters (470 ft) and width of 30 meters (98 ft) with a displacement of 21,500 tonnes, and will be crewed by 69 person. Seven copies of the barge are planned, and all are to be delivered by 2015. Rosatom says that it has interest from 15 other nations in hiring the barges.

Russian are certainly no stranger to the development of nuclear energy, and has a fascinating story. In 1954, the 5 MWe Obninsk reactor, was the first in the world to produce electricity. With this floating nuclear barge concept, it would appear that they have not lost their atomic aspirations for innovation.

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