The Akademik Lomonosov, the “world’s only floating nuclear power unit,” operated by a 70-person crew and able to provide enough energy to supply communities of around 100,000 residents, began Friday a 3,000-mile journey across the Arctic.
The Lomonosov measures about 1,548 feet in length with a width of 98 feet and displacement of 21,500 tons. It left the port of Murmansk destined for the Arctic port town of Pevek and has two nuclear reactors on board. It was planned as the beginning of a new era of development in the inhospitable Russian Arctic. Pevek was chosen as Lomonosov’s destination to compensate for the closure of its traditional northern nuclear power station at Bilibino. Russia's state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, said the floating plant is safe. But environmentalists have been sounding the alarm about the risks of traveling through a part of the world known for harsh and unpredictable weather. The floating nuclear power plant was even dubbed "Chernobyl on ice."
Picture from inside the vessel
Greenpeace International warned that "it could flood or sink or run aground. All of these scenarios could potentially lead to radioactive substances being leaked into the environment." A Russian union representing the victims in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster also voiced fierce opposition.