Sunday 18 August 2019

'Floating Chernobyl' sets sail for the Arctic

The floating plant took more than a decade to build at high cost and has been dubbed the
The floating plant took more than a decade to build at high cost and has been dubbed the "nuclear Titanic" over safety concerns.. Stock photo: Depositphotos

Alec Luhn

The wind and rain whipped by as crew members stepped outside for a quick smoke - but the world's only floating nuclear power plant barely shifted in the choppy waves of Kola Bay.

This month, the Academic Lomonosov will be towed 3,000 miles to the Chukotka region of Russia, next to Alaska, to provide steam heat and eventually electricity to the small coastal goldmining town of Pevek. It is the flagship of Russia's drive to bring nuclear power to the Arctic.

The state corporation Rosatom is trumpeting it as the next big step in nuclear energy and a solution to electricity needs in Africa and Asia.

But the floating plant took more than a decade to build at high cost and has been dubbed the "nuclear Titanic" over safety concerns.

Greenpeace activists unfurled a "no to floating Chernobyl" banner next to the plant in 2017. They question the wisdom of sending a giant nuclear barge into some of the harshest and most remote conditions on Earth.

Irish Independent

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