The world’s first floating nuclear reactor dubbed ‘Chernobyl on ice’ has arrived at its permanent location in the Arctic after a perilous sea voyage of almost 3,000 miles.
The Russian-made power station is due to start providing power to the most northerly settlement in Asia by December.
Named the Akademik Lomonosov, the 472ft vessel carries two 35-megawatt nuclear reactors, and has been under construction since 2006.
The Akademik Lomonosov, a 472ft vessel carrying two 35-megawatt nuclear reactors, is shown here departing from Murmansk, Russia 17 days ago. It landed today in Pevek in Russia’s far eastern region of Chukotka
Environmental activists have been quick to inform of the dangers in operating a floating nuclear plant. Greenpeace spokesman Rashid Alimov warned: ‘Any nuclear power plant produces radioactive waste and can have an accident, but Akademik Lomonosov is additionally vulnerable to storms.’
A fear is that the pristine Arctic could be massively contaminated by a Chernobyl-type explosion and radiation leak.
Yet, Rosatom spokesman, Dr Vadim Malkin, told MailOnline that Greenpeace are scaremongering and that ‘the safety of the plant is thoroughly assessed and confirmed by an independent regulator and international organisations.
‘We insist that nuclear energy is the only reliable low-carbon source of energy currently viable in the Arctic region.
He added that GreenPeace’s ‘anti-nuclear bigotry’ creates a dependence on fossil fuels and risks ‘damage to the arctic becoming irreversible.’
The vessel today completed a mammoth 17-day voyage from Murmansk to Pevek in the Russian far eastern region of Chukotka,
The Akademik Lomonosov was pulled by tugboats and accompanied by icebreakers on the Northern Sea Route across the top of Siberia.
It passed through the Barents, Kara and Laptev seas.
The Siberian Times showed a calm sea as the power station arrived.
On shore, a Russian National Guard deployment was preparing to protect the floating nuclear plant which is reported to be capable of withstanding tsunamis.
The Lomonosov can be seen here arriving into calm waters at Pevek where it will moor to provide power to the region and to oil platforms in the Chukotka region
Currently the vessel in the white, blue and red colours of the Russian flag will be docked off the remote port of less than 5,000 people on Friday.
The Akademik Lomonosov – overseen by Russian state nuclear company Rosatom – will provide power to Pevek and oil platforms in the far-flung Chukotka region which almost touches Alaska.
Greenpeace has led opposition to the deployment branding it ‘an excessively risky and costly way of obtaining energy.’
It replaces a crumbling coal-fired power station.
Critics have said the power plant is like a ‘nuclear titanic’ and fear another nuclear disaster similar to the recent deaths at Nyonoska. They fear that the Lomonosov could be ‘additionally vulnerable to storms.’ Greenpeace have protested the use of the reactor ship, saying that the pristine Arctic could be contaminated by an explosion
Deputy General Director of Rosatom, Pavel Ipatov, can be seen here taking a selfie in front of the Akademik Lomonosov before its departure for Pevek. Rosatom says the new power station will offer ‘clean, green, and stable energy supplies in harsh and remote conditions’
A spokeswoman said: ‘The Akademik Lomonosov is built to the highest standards of resilience and is able to safely withstand a full spectrum of negative scenarios including man-made and natural disasters.
‘Nuclear icebreakers have been a feature of the Arctic for many years, and the Akademik Lomonosov’s high level of safety is one of the features that makes it so well suited to this environment.
‘There are real people and real businesses across the Arctic who will benefit from the power it supplies.’
The deployment follows an horrific accident in the sub-Arctic White Sea when five died during an explosion and radiation release on 8 August during a ‘doomsday weapons test.’
Five nuclear specialists died after a mysterious explosion at a missile range in the Russian ocean territory of the White Sea in the village of Nyonoksa on August 8 and radiation spiked 16 times higher than normal in a nearby town. Activists fear that the Lomonosov could be another Chernobyl-like disaster waiting to happen
Russia was later accused of covering up a significant nuclear accident.
The Akademik Lomonosov is due to supply heat and electricity for 12 years before it is towed to Rosatomflot’s base in Murmansk, or a shipyard such as Severodvinsk close to the site of the weapons test horror.
Here, spent nuclear fuel can be unloaded and other maintenance work carried out.