FLOAT­ING NU­CLEAR PLANT

A look at how Rosatom’s FNPP is chang­ing power gen­er­a­tion from nu­clear plants

Utilities Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

On Oc­to­ber 2, 2018 Rosatom re­ported that it com­pleted load­ing nu­clear fuel into the sec­ond of two re­ac­tors of the world’s only float­ing nu­clear power plant (FNPP) “Akademik Lomonosov”, which is based in Mur­mansk. This North­ern Rus­sian port is an in­ter­me­di­ate stop on its first maiden voy­age from the Baltic ship­yard in Saint Peters­burg, where it was as­sem­bled and launched this spring, to the Chukotka penin­sula in Rus­sia’s Far East, where it will be sta­tioned. It is ex­pected to start gen­er­at­ing power in late 2019, mark­ing a ma­jor mile­stone not just in the his­tory of world’s civil nu­clear power in­dus­try, but also in the highly an­tic­i­pated en­ergy trend of sup­ply­ing power on de­mand, when­ever and wher­ever it is needed.

This trend is driven by the need to power up the de­vel­op­ment of re­mote and poorly ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas – a mat­ter of strate­gic na­tional im­por­tance for many coun­tries re­gard­less of cli­mate con­di­tions: in the Mid­dle East, with its vast desert re­gions, in South­east Asia, with its in­su­lar ter­ri­to­ries, in South Amer­ica’s re­mote moun­tain­ous ar­eas, and in the ex­treme North. Sup­ply­ing elec­tric­ity to th­ese ar­eas us­ing tra­di­tional power gen­er­a­tion in the form of large power plants (whether they be hy­dro-, coal- or nu­clear pow­ered) is a highly com­plex task due to the lim­i­ta­tions of land area and re­sources. More­over, de­pend­ing on lo­cal pop­u­la­tion and in­dus­tries’ needs a small or medium power plant is typ­i­cally a more rea­son­able and cost­ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion.

At the time be­ing, the Akademik Lomonosov (named af­ter the great Rus­sian sci­en­tist Mikhail Lomonosov) is at the fore­front of this new trend, be­ing the first in a planned se­ries of unique mo­bile small power units. The Rosatom-de­signed and con­structed plant has a power out­put of 70MWe and a pro­jected op­er­a­tional life­time of 40 years.

Once load­ing of nu­clear fuel in re­ac­tors No.1 and No.2 of the FNPP has been com­pleted, the next key stage would be their first crit­i­cal­ity af­ter the cor­re­spond­ing per­mit is re­ceived from the Rus­sian reg­u­la­tor, Rostech­nad­zor. Then, the sys­tem func­tional check will fol­low, which are nec­es­sary be­fore the re­ac­tor is brought to de­sign ca­pac­ity.

In 2019, the FNPP will be towed to the sea­port city of Pevek (Chukotka re­gion). Presently, con­struc­tion of nec­es­sary coastal

in­fra­struc­ture, hy­draulic struc­tures and on­shore site are be­ing car­ried out. Th­ese fa­cil­i­ties are nec­es­sary to en­sure safe rid­ing and re­ceipt of the en­ergy bridge for elec­tric con­nec­tions and en­ergy re­lease to the shore.

The FNPP in Pevek will re­place the phas­ing out ca­pac­i­ties at Bili­b­ino NPP and Chaunskaya Co-Gen Plants, and be­come the base­line power gen­er­a­tion fa­cil­ity in Chukotka sup­ply­ing over 50 000 peo­ple with elec­tric­ity and re­duc­ing the car­bon foot­print in the Arc­tic by tens of thou­sands of CO2 emis­sions per year. This oper­a­tion is cru­cial as it will show­case the suc­cess of the first float­ing power plant in the world. The suc­cess of the FNPP will be good news to re­gions such as the Mid­dle East where di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of power gen­er­a­tion is in high gear to cope with grow­ing elec­tric power de­mand.

Float­ing nu­clear power plants’ ad­van­tages are both ob­vi­ous and unique. FNPPs’ mo­bil­ity means it can eas­ily be moved from one site to an­other if needed, mak­ing them a per­fect fit for re­mote coastal and ri­par­ian ar­eas far re­moved from the cen­tralised grid sys­tems.

Se­condly, FNPP is a fully au­tonomous power fa­cil­ity that is built en­tirely in a ship­yard and then towed to the place of its oper­a­tion. It means the cus­tomers will be get­ting a fully as­sem­bled, tried and tested, and ready-togo so­lu­tion com­plete with staff liv­ing quar­ters and all the req­ui­site in­fra­struc­ture for ser­vic­ing the FNPP.

The project also in­cor­po­rates a num­ber of in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions in the field of safety and re­sis­tance to ex­treme nat­u­ral con­di­tions be­ing com­pli­ant with all the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) stan­dards. The FNPP safety so­lu­tions ex­ceed all pos­si­ble threats and makes nu­clear re­ac­tors im­per­vi­ous to emer­gency sit­u­a­tions such as be­ing hit by a tsunami or a col­li­sion with an­other ves­sel or on­shore ob­ject. The stress tests con­ducted at the “Akademik Lomonosov” be­fore its launch proved that both the ves­sel and the re­ac­tor are highly re­sis­tant to such ex­ter­nal shocks as earthquakes and tsunami waves, safe­guard­ing against any ra­di­a­tion im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment or peo­ple’s health.

In ad­di­tion to power gen­er­a­tion, FNPPs can also con­tribute to solv­ing other im­por­tant is­sues that re­main high on many coun­tries’ agen­das, such as fresh­wa­ter de­fi­ciency, a prob­lem es­pe­cially press­ing in arid desert re­gions of the Mid­dle East. Thus, the FNPP can be in­te­grated with a float­ing de­sali­na­tion fa­cil­ity into a float­ing nu­clear power and de­sali­na­tion com­plex sup­ply­ing both elec­tric­ity and drink­ing wa­ter.

FNPPs are mo­bile and highly flex­i­ble in terms of meet­ing dif­fer­ent coun­tries’ needs and op­er­a­tional con­di­tions. FNPPs can be adapted to op­er­ate in vir­tu­ally any cli­mate, from the ex­treme north to the trop­i­cal belt. Their out­put can also be ad­justed to align with the daily and sea­sonal elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion cy­cles.

Last but not least, like all nu­clear power plants, FNPPs pro­duce no CO2 or other pol­lut­ing emis­sions, and upon decom­mis­sion­ing, they are re­verted into a green­field site, thus be­ing a source of clean en­ergy and help­ing to pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Even be­fore the world’s unique FNPU starts gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity, the ben­e­fits of FNPPs are al­ready ev­i­dent and they con­tinue to gen­er­ate a lot of in­ter­est from po­ten­tial cor­po­rate cus­tomers.

Con­sid­er­ing the grow­ing de­mand for elec­tric­ity glob­ally and the need to be able to sup­ply it where and when it is needed, the fu­ture for FNPPs looks bright due to their grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity as a mo­bile, safe and self-con­tained source of low-car­bon en­ergy.

It is a long-awaited tech­ni­cal so­lu­tion in many parts of North­ern Rus­sia but one that holds im­mense prom­ise for the fu­ture elec­tric needs of many coun­tries in the Mid­dle East and North African re­gion.

At the time be­ing, the Akademik Lomonosov (named af­ter the great Rus­sian sci­en­tist Mikhail Lomonosov) is at the fore­front of this new trend, be­ing the first in a planned se­ries of unique mo­bile small power units. The Rosatom-de­signed and con­structed it has a power out­put of 70MWe and a pro­jected op­er­a­tional life­time of 40 years.” ROSATOM FNPPs are mo­bile and highly flex­i­ble in terms of meet­ing dif­fer­ent coun­tries’ needs and op­er­a­tional con­di­tions. FNPPs can be adapted to op­er­ate in vir­tu­ally any cli­mate, from the ex­treme north to the trop­i­cal belt. Their out­put can also be ad­justed to align with the daily and sea­sonal elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion cy­cles.” ROSATOM

Rosatom’s float­ing nu­clear power plant (FNPP) is ex­pected to start gen­er­at­ing power in late 2019

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