Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2019
The world’s first floating nuclear power reactors (two on one barge) arrived Sept. 15 at the town of Pevek in Russia’s Far Eastern region of Chukotka, 53 miles across the Bering Strait from Alaska. Dubbed a “Chernobyl on ice” and the “Nuclear Titanic” by critics, the reactors are supposed to supply power to a remote, Siberian mining complex. The reactors began their dangerous 3,100-mile journey through Arctic waters when the barge left Murmansk August 23. Russia’s state nuclear reactor agency Rosatom has said it wants to see the twin reactors aboard the 472-foot barge Akademik Lomonosov operational by the year-end. The head of Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev, reportedly said in a statement that nuclear reactors making electricity for mining is, “a small step towards sustainable development in the Arctic.” Other ocean-going vessels including submarines, ice breakers, and aircraft carriers use onboard reactors for propulsion. But not until now have nuclear reactors been built to bob on the high seas to provide electricity for on-shore projects.
—Reuters, Power Technology, and Agency France Presse, Sept. 16; & Reuters, May 21, 2019