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Tuesday, 08 August 2017 17:48

Russia to power Arctic drilling with floating nuclear reactors

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Arctic drilling is becoming increasingly appealing as sea ice melts, and Russia is planning to use nuclear power to help run ports, coastal infrastructure, and oil and gas extraction.

It would sit in the icy waters of the Arctic, and provide a constant supply of electricity to a massive rig drilling for oil. They could be mass produced, potentially cutting the cost of drilling projects. The twist? The electricity on these floating power plants would come from a nuclear reactor.

Russia is looking to deploy a floating nuclear reactor that could help power ports, industries, and also offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. In what sounds like a horrible nightmare for environmentalists, floating nuclear reactors could help produce more oil in the Arctic.

Russia’s reactor, called the Akademik Lomonosov, will be about the length of one and a half football fields, and will have the capacity to produce 70 megawatts of electricity. It is not self-propelled, but future mobile reactors will be. Russia plans on mass producing them once the Akademik Lomonosov proves itself. The small floating reactors will be on icebreakers, so they will be able to navigate icy Arctic waters. (Related: How To Spot An Undervalued Oil Company)

Construction began on the Akademik Lomonosov in 2007, but has suffered delays. But Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said during a recent trip to the Arctic that Russia hopes to have a floating nuclear reactor running by October 2016. It will provide power to the Arctic town of Pevek in the East Siberian Sea. “It is basically an atomic reactor that can be docked to coastal infrastructure, and it will provide energy through a cable to any Arctic city,” Rogozin said.

According to Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom, at least 15 countries, including China, Algeria, Indonesia, Malaysia and Argentina, are interested in deploying floating nuclear reactors as well. In fact, last year, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Shanghai, Russia and China signed an agreement to cooperate on building a floating nuclear power plant. (Related: Putin Betting On An Argentinian Shale Boom)

A Canadian company Dunedin Energy Systemsis proposing something similar. The Ontario-based company wants to sell small floating nuclear reactors in Canada’s far north that would provide a power source for remote mining projects. Dunedin’s President points out that floating nuclear reactors are safe and have been around since the 1950’s when the USS Nautilus, a nuclear-powered submarine, hit the high seas.

Nick Cunningham


Source: https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2015/0428/Russia-to-power-Arctic-drilling-with-floating-nuclear-reactors 

 

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