Isolated Criticality: Russia's Floating Nuclear Power Plants, Concepts and Concerns

Introduction

On 30 June 2010 Russia launched the Academician Lomonosov, a floating barge designed to carry two KLT-40S reactors, crew living quarters and nuclear waste storage facilities.[1] The vessel is the first of what Moscow hopes will be a series of Floating Nuclear Power Plants (FNPPs) stationed off coastal towns in Russia's Far North and Far East. Russia's rationale for the development of the project is the need to provide a sustainable and economical supply of energy to the country's remote population centers. One such site, Vilyuchinsk in Kamchatka, will be the location of the first "proof of concept" FNPP, aimed at establishing the technical viability of the project. Moscow also hopes that FNPPs will create an opportunity for the development of offshore oil and gas fields in the Russian Arctic.

From the project's inception, in the 1990s, Russia has marketed FNPPs as innovative and cost-effective. It has done so by highlighting the ability of the plants to operate without transferring nuclear technology or materials, and without leaving a radiological legacy in the recipient country. Several states, including Indonesia and Malaysia, are said to be interested in the FNPP concept, but the potential for export has raised a number of proliferation, security and safety concerns. The prospect of floating nuclear reactors being stationed off the coast of Indonesia, for example, has led some experts to fear that the reactors may be targeted by terrorist groups.[2] These concerns are based on the assumption that floating plants are susceptible to a wider range of threats than their land-based equivalents; unease has also been triggered by early FNPP designs that envisioned the use of highly enriched uranium-based reactor fuel. This brief will examine the rationale for the FNPP concept, issues surrounding the construction of the plants themselves, and the proliferation, security and safety arguments that have been made in opposition to FNPPs.

Floating Nuclear Power Plants: The Rationale

I. Supplying electricity to remote regions

As a result of adverse weather conditions and primitive infrastructure, the delivery of fossil fuels to Russia's Far North and East is both expensive and unreliable.[3] Moreover, the remoteness of these regions makes it difficult to build transmission lines and construct large-scale nuclear power plants. In a bid to overcome these problems, and find a more economical means of providing heat and electricity, Malaya Energetika[4] held a competition for small-scale nuclear power plant designs between 1991 and 1994.[5] The winner was the FNPP design currently under construction (based on two KLT-40S reactors similar to those used in Russia's nuclear icebreakers). The Russian government believes that FNPPs can power a city of up to 200,000 people and offer a cheaper alternative to hydrocarbon based fuels.[6] Additionally, the plants can provide water desalination services capable of supplying up to 240,000 cubic meters of fresh water per day.[7]

Russia's deployment plans for FNPPs are in-line with this goal of energy provision to remote regions. The first FNPP will be located in Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka, where it will perform a "proof of concept" role. Rosatom then aims to construct seven more FNPPs by 2015, with four of them likely to be located on the northern coast of Yakutia (following a February 2009 agreement between Rosatom and the Yakutia regional government).[8] Additional areas slated to receive FNPPs include port cities along the Northern Sea Route and Pevek in Chukotka, which will receive the second plant.[9] As Russia plans to expand domestic nuclear power, the FNPP concept is consistent with the country's long-term energy strategy and the government hopes that the provision of nuclear power to the Arctic and Far East will free up significant volumes of oil and gas for foreign export, allowing Russia to generate additional hard currency.

II. Oil and gas exploration

A further basis for the FNPP concept is the opportunity it creates for Arctic oil and gas exploration. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Arctic may contain up to 25% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves, deposits that Russia is keen to exploit.[10] However, the remote location of fields in the Barents and Kara Seas makes powering drilling equipment difficult. As a result, Gazprom will support any venture that enables it to overcome these obstacles and provides it with a means to develop the Shtokman field (believed to be one of the world's largest untapped natural gas reserves) and fields around the Yamal Peninsula.[11] During a January 2008 meeting with Rosatom, Gazprom board member Bogdan Budzulyak stated that the company required three FNPPs for the development of the Arctic gas fields.[12] However, other sources have placed the Gazprom FNPP requirement as high as five.[13] Either way, it is clear the company views the FNPP concept as an opportunity to strengthen Russia's position as the world's largest exporter of natural gas -- a factor that helps explain the high level of federal support for the project.

Design and Construction

The keel for the first FNPP, Academician Lomonosov, was laid in April 2007 at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvisnk. However, in August 2008 Rosenergoatom (who is financing the project)[14] transferred construction to the Baltiskiy shipyard in St. Petersburg.[15] Officials claim that this decision was taken because of capacity problems at Sevmash and the need for it to complete more pressing contracts for the Russian military.[16] The Baltiskiy shipyard also benefits from the experience of constructing Russia's nuclear icebreaker fleet.[17] Meanwhile, three separate companies have been involved in producing the two reactors for the plant: OKBM Afrikantov; Nizhniy Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (NN-AEP); and Izhorskiye Zavody (OMZ).[18] Although AKBM Afrikantov designed the reactor, NN-AEP is responsible for assembly.[19]

The KLT-40S produced by NN-AEP is a pressurized water reactor (using seawater as coolant), and is a variant of the KLT-40 used on Russian nuclear icebreakers. Each unit produces 35 megawatts of power (aggregate power of 70 megawatts), and will be accompanied by two turbo-generators supplied by the Kaluga Turbine Plant.[20] Although Russian officials initially suggested that the reactors would run on highly enriched uranium (HEU) - as is the case with the KLT-40 reactors used in nuclear icebreakers - the Russian government has stated consistently since 2005 that the reactors will run on low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel.[21] The exact level of enrichment in these statements has ranged from 14 to 19.7%, but it appears the first plant will be loaded with fuel containing 19.7% U-235.[22] Nevertheless, some nonproliferation experts remain concerned that cost saving attempts may lead to an eventual return to HEU-based fuel.[23] In addition to the reactors themselves, the floating barge will contain living quarters for the crew and storage areas for spent fuel and radioactive waste.[24]

Once construction of the first FNPP is complete, it will be transported via the Northern Sea Route to Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka, where it will supply energy to the town and nearby naval base -- home to Russia's Pacific naval deterrent. As the FNPP will not be self-propelled, it will be towed to Vilyuchinsk and secured off-shore before being linked to the electrical grid via transmission cables.[25] Current plans indicate that towing to Vilyuchinsk will take place in 2012, with first criticality following thereafter, and grid connection due in late 2012 or early 2013.[26] This "proof of concept" FNPP is slated to be in operation for some 38 years, consisting of three 12-year cycles interspersed with maintenance periods.[27] The need for overhaul every 12 years, at which point the plant's spent fuel and nuclear waste will be removed, means that a replacement FNPP is required to provide electricity during these interim periods. Exactly how Russia will manage this logistical situation is unclear, but reserve FNPPs may be needed to ensure electricity supply is not interrupted.[28] This requirement for additional vessels will need to be factored into leasing costs.

Proliferation and Security Concerns

Russia's development of FNPPs has raised a number of proliferation concerns from experts and policy makers, primarily because of its plans to lease the plants abroad. The concerns focus on the risk of material diversion when the plant is stationed in another state's territorial waters; the security of the plant, both when in transit to another state and on lease to that state; and the security of FNPPs when stationed in Russia itself.

I. Leasing FNPPs and the risk of state-level proliferation

Russia has been marketing the FNPP concept abroad since the project was first conceived. Although at least fifteen countries are allegedly interested, Indonesia, China and Malaysia are referenced most frequently.[29] In October 2006, officials from the Indonesian province of Gorontalo reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Russia on developing an FNPP.[30] However, to date, no such plans have come to fruition. More recently, in September 2010, China and Russia agreed to expand nuclear cooperation in several areas, one of which was floating nuclear power plants. As a follow-up, the two sides plan to establish working groups to assess prospects in this area.[31] For the moment, however, no country has made a firm commitment to lease a Russian FNPP.

If Russia is successful in leasing the plants, then proliferation concerns regarding recipient states could be reduced by an arrangement that Rosenergoatom calls "build-own-operate." [32] Under this arrangement, Russia will tow the plant to the designated location, provide electricity and desalination services, and then tow it back to Russia at the end of the 12-year cycle for defueling and maintenance.[33] As Russia will only be supplying electricity, and not transferring ownership of the FNPP, this arrangement reduces the risk of material diversion. Nuclear fuel will be provided and spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste removed (re-fueling will be carried out every 3-4 years), thereby leaving no justification for the recipient state to develop front-end or back-end nuclear fuel cycle infrastructure. The intended use of low enriched uranium, coupled with the fact that the crew and personnel will be exclusively Russian, has mitigated concerns over material diversion by leasing states. However, there are still significant questions over the security of spent fuel and radioactive waste.

II. Non-state actors: terrorism and piracy

A regular criticism of the plan to export FNPPs is that it will require towing the vessels over large distances of open sea, thereby exposing them to the threats of piracy and sabotage. Although the risks will be significantly lower when traveling through the Russian Arctic, these dangers will increase if it becomes necessary to transport FNPPs through narrow straits of water in Southeast Asia -- areas that are susceptible to piracy. Given that a number of Southeast Asian states are highlighted as potential customers, the maritime dangers posed by these waters need to be taken into consideration. It is in this context that Rosenergoatom's build-own-operate concept is a problem, as spent fuel and radioactive waste will be on-board the FNPP during its return to Russia. Therefore, if pirates operating in waters around Indonesia and the Philippines take an FNPP hostage during its return journey, they may be in a position to blackmail authorities with threats of sabotage.

In order to mitigate these threats, extensive security will be necessary during the transportation phase. However, the use of Russian armed guards in the territorial waters of another state raises legal issues that will need to be solved. There are also fears that FNPPs will be susceptible to attack while operating in recipient countries. This is particularly true in states that have a history of terrorism. Indonesia, for example, faces significant challenges with terrorist and insurgent groups[34] that operate within its borders and although Jakarta's purchase of an FNPP remains speculative, external security will be paramount if it becomes a reality.

While there are mixed assessments over the security credentials of FNPPs, it is reported that Russia has designed the plants with security in mind.[35] For instance, some Russian experts claim that the vessels will contain iris and fingerprint detection systems for entry into sensitive areas, as well as underwater protection against submersible threats.[36] But it is not currently possible to verify this information and there are questions over the availability of sufficient manpower to guard the stationery vessels. There is also confusion over whether Russian personnel will protect plants stationed abroad, or if they will be the responsibility of host nations. If the latter is true, then some states may find it difficult to ensure adequate physical protection.[37]

For those FNPPs stationed in Russia, authorities claim to be able to implement the same level of security found at land-based plants. But FNPPs pose two unique challenges: the difficulty of establishing a secure perimeter and the problem of providing protection against underwater threats.[38] Nevertheless, Russia does have experience improving the security of its nuclear icebreaker fleet with the help of international assistance programs. The need to protect shallow-water nuclear icebreakers from sabotage, as well as fresh[39] and spent fuel theft, led to a number of security upgrades involving input from Russian agencies such as the Ministry of Transportation and the Kurchatov Institute, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.K. Office of Civil Nuclear Security, the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority. As a result, Russia can apply these practices to the protection of domestic FNPPs.[40] The greater challenge, however, will be ensuring that similar procedures are adopted if FNPPs are leased abroad (even if Russian personnel guard them).

Safety and Environmental Concerns

In addition to proliferation and security considerations, there are environmental concerns regarding the extent to which it is possible to mitigate the effects of an FNPP accident in a remote location. Furthermore, Russia has not adequately explained how it intends to deal with the nuclear waste that FNPPs will generate.

I. Safety

Although there are safety concerns with all nuclear reactors, FNPPs create additional fears due to the possibility of damage being caused to the vessel, which may result in spent fuel and radioactive waste making their way into the marine environment. This is a danger that will be increased during transportation, especially if the vessel is towed through busy shipping lanes in Southeast Asia. [41] There is also the danger of an incident when the reactor is in operation. Although the chances of a severe accident, such as a core meltdown, are no higher than for land-based reactors, the potential mixing of the core with sea water may generate large quantities of radioactive steam.[42] If this steam then travels over a populated area, it could have disastrous consequences. Furthermore, as FNPPs are likely to be located closer to population centers than their land-based equivalents, it will be more difficult to carry-out prompt evacuations.[43] But the designers of the KLT-40S reactor did include a number of passive and active safety mechanisms (three shutdown systems in total) to minimize the likelihood of a criticality accident.[44] The inclusion of a steel containment vessel around the reactors will also help prevent leaks and contain radioactivity.[45] If a serious accident did take place, however, then the rationale for building FNPPs - providing sustainable energy to remote locations that possess limited infrastructure - will complicate the ability to respond quickly and effectively in a crisis.

Given that there are plans to station several FNPPs in the Russian Arctic, consideration has to be given to the impact that the plants may have on the region's fragile marine environment. Heat generation is of particular concern, as the surrounding water will be used as a coolant for the reactors, which may lead to temperature rises with an undetermined effect on the local biosphere.[46] Arctic marine life is of great socio-economic importance, not just to the local community but to the wider Arctic region, and there does not appear to have been sufficient research on what the potential warming effects may be.[47]

An additional safety fear, and one that needs to be considered carefully, is the risk of Tsunamis. Indonesia is located in one of the most earthquake and Tsunami prone regions in the world. Seismic activity around Russia is also of concern, particularly in Kamchatka, where Vilyuchinsk (site of the first FNPP) is located. If several FNPPs are stationed for 38 years in earthquake prone areas, there is a reasonable likelihood that one or more of them could be hit by a Tsunami during that period. Concerns over the potential effects of a Tsunami are heightened by the fact that spent fuel and radioactive waste will be stored on board the FNPP during operation. As a result, if a Tsunami carries an FNPP onshore, radioactive material could be released. Therefore, this risk must be taken seriously.

II. Nuclear waste

The rationale for on-board storage and return to Russia of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and nuclear waste is that the leasing nation does not have to dispose of the material itself, meaning there will be no justification for the development of reprocessing technology. This allows Russia to argue that the vessel will leave no radiological legacy and does not present a back-end proliferation risk -- something that has been used to market the technology abroad. [48]

Despite these arguments, however, there are still concerns over the availability of space for spent fuel storage and the rate at which spent fuel can be transported to the Mayak reprocessing facility in Ozersk. Additional Russian storage facilities may have to be constructed, as the existing infrastructure was built to house SNF from decommissioned nuclear submarines and it is unclear whether this expense was factored into estimated production and operating costs.[49] This may result in limited storage capacity, raising concerns that radioactive waste will end up being dumped at sea in violation of the London Dumping Convention.[50] This is also true with regard to the limited storage capacity on-board the FNPP itself. Several analysts have voiced concern that if additional waste is produced, and it exceeds the storage capacity of the FNPP, then it may be dumped at sea.[51] Furthermore, if the vessel sinks with SNF and nuclear waste onboard then this radioactive material may be released into the surrounding marine environment. While the reactor will be housed in a containment structure, it remains unclear what safeguards have been put in place to prevent the release of waste materials.[52]

Conclusion

Several safety and security questions regarding the FNPP project are asked repeatedly and this is due, in large part, to a lack of clarity on how Russia seeks to resolve these issues. Of particular concern, in terms of security and proliferation, is the plan to lease FNPPs abroad. Several countries named in connection with the project face threats from terrorist and insurgent groups and it is vital that Russia and the international community ensure these states have the necessary capability to protect the plants. If they do not, then Moscow will need to act responsibly when considering to whom it leases its vessels. It is also unclear whether Russia has given full consideration to the costs and infrastructure required to store and dispose of FNPP spent fuel. The country is still dealing with the nuclear legacy left by the Soviet navy, and it is important that FNPPs do not complicate dismantlement and remediation efforts.

No state has committed to leasing an FNPP to date, but the degree of interest shown by several countries suggests that one or more of them may do so in the future. Meanwhile, western governments do not appear to have broached the FNPP issue with Russia, and as the project moves forward it will be necessary for them to engage Moscow and ensure that all possible security and proliferation risks are minimized. Otherwise, financial savings may result in inadequate security measures both when plants are operational and in transit.

Resources

  • V.M. Kuznetsov, A. V. Yablokov, I.B. Kolton, E.J. Simonov, V.M. Desyatov, I.V. Forofontov and A.K. Nikitin, Floating Nuclear Power Plants in Russia: A Threat to the Arctic, World Oceans and Non-Proliferation Treaty, (Moscow: Green Cross, 2004), www.greencross.ch.
  • Mark Dowdall and William J.F. Standring, Floating Nuclear Power Plants and Associated Technologies in the Northern Areas, Statens Stralavern, 2008, www.nrpa.no.
  • The Bellona Foundation, www.bellona.org.
  • Rosenergoatom, www.rosenergoatom.ru.
  • NTI Country profile: Russia, www.nti.org

Sources:

[1] Martin Matishak, "Floating Nuclear Reactors Could Fall Prey to Terrorists, Experts Say," Global Security Newswire, 6 August 2010, http://gsn.nti.org.
[2] Martin Matishak, "Floating Nuclear Reactors Could Fall Prey to Terrorists, Experts Say," Global Security Newswire, 6 August 2010.
[3] Rosenergoatom claims that over 2 billion RUR is spent each year on the transportation of fuel cargoes to the Arctic coast. ("Prospects of floating NPP. Ongoing projects," Rosenergoatom, www.rosenergoatom.ru.)
[4] Malaya Energetika was a company formed by the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom).
[5] Cristina Hansell, "Russia Floating Nuclear Power Reactors: an Update," paper written for the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, January 2010, p.2.
[6] "Reactors ready for floating plant," World Nuclear News, www.world-nuclear-news.org, 7 August 2009; and Martin Matishak, "Floating Nuclear Reactors Could Fall Prey to Terrorists, Experts Say," Global Security Newswire, 6 August 2010, http://gsn.nti.org.
[7] Tatyana Sinitsyna, "Floating nuclear power plant gets new birthplace," RIA Novosti, 5 September 2009, www.rian.ru.
[8] "Four more floating nuke-plants," Barents Observer, 1 March 2009, www.barentsobserver.com; and Tatyana Sinitsyna, "Floating nuclear power plant gets new birthplace," RIA Novosti, 5 September 2009, www.rian.ru; and "Construction of floating NPP postponed," Barents Observer, www.barentsobserver.com, 28 May 2008.
[9] "Pravitelstvo ChAO I Rosenergoatom provedut otsenku tarifa dlya budushey PATES" [Government of Chukotka and Rosenergoatom will assess the tariff for a future floating nuclear power plant], nuclear.ru, www.nuclear.ru, 26 August 2010.
[10] John Vidal, "Russia to build floating Arctic nuclear stations," Guardian, www.guardian.co.uk, 3 May 2009. See a map of Arctic oil and gas reserves from Richard Galpin, "The struggle for Arctic riches," BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk, 22 September 2010.
[11] The Shtokman is believed to be one of the world's largest untapped natural gas fields. Its development has so far been prevented because of the area's extreme weather conditions and isolated location. Also, please see: Cristina Hansell Chuen and Ole Reistad, "Sea Fission: Russia's floating nuclear power plants," Jane's Intelligence Review, December 2007; Galina Raguzina, "Floating nuclear power plants attracting interest of the oil industry in Russia and abroad," Bellona Foundation, 12 February 2008; and "Reactors ready for floating plant," World Nuclear News, www.world-nuclear-news.org, 7 August 2009.
[12] Galina Raguzina, "Floating nuclear power plants attracting interest of the oil industry in Russia and abroad," Bellona Foundation, 12 February 2008, www.bellona.org.
[13] Aleksandr Emelyarnenkov, "S vidom na prodazhu: Sozdaniye pervovo plavuchevo energobloka 'Akademik Lomonosov' nazivayut prorivom v mirovoy atomnoy energetikye" [Development of first floating power plant 'Akademik Lomonosov' described as a breakthrough in world atomic energy], Rossiskaya Gazeta, Ekonomika No. 4375, 29 March 2007, www.rg.ru; and "Russia relocates construction of floating power plant," World Nuclear News, www.world-nuclear-news.org, 7 August 2009.
[14] Russia's nuclear industry initially explored the possibility of joint construction with China, but in 2005 the Russian government agreed to fund the first 'proof of concept' reactor. However, it is hoped that commercial funding can be attracted for the construction of subsequent plants (Cristina Hansell Chuen and Ole Reistad, "Sea Fission: Russia's floating nuclear power plants," Jane's Intelligence Review, December 2007). Also see V.M. Kuznetsov, A. V. Yablokov, I.B. Kolton, E.J. Simonov, V.M. Desyatov, I.V. Forofontov and A.K. Nikitin, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants in Russia: A Threat to the Arctic, World Oceans and Non-Proliferation Treaty," (Moscow: Green Cross, 2004), p.13.
[15] Cost estimates for the plants vary greatly. A May 2009 report estimated the cost to be USD 274 million (John C.K. Daly, "Russia to build floating nuclear power plants," UPI, www.upi.com, 4 May 2009) but a more recent report in August 2010 placed the cost around USD 200 million (Martin Matishak, "Floating Nuclear Reactors Could Fall Prey to Terrorists, Experts Say," Global Security Newswire, 6 August 2010). However, some reports place it as high as USD 400 million (Richard Galpin, "The struggle for Arctic riches," BBC News, www.bbc.co.uk, 22 September 2010).
[16] "Floating NPP on the move," Barents Observer, 8 September 2008, www.barentsobserver.com.
[17] "Russia relocates construction of floating power plant," World Nuclear News, www.world-nuclear-news.org, 7 August 2009.
[18] "Reactor completed for floating plant," World Nuclear News, www.world-nuclear-news.org, 3 June 2009.
[19] "Baltiyskiy Zavod OJSC (St. Petersburg) has started assembling the main floating NPP," Rosatom, 19 May 2009, www.minatom.ru.
[20] "Russia relocates construction of floating power plant," World Nuclear Association, www.world-nuclear-news.org, 11 August 2008.
[21] "Rukovoditel federalnovo agenstva po atomnoy energii Segei Kiriyenko provel press-konferentsiyu dlya regionalnikh SMI" [Federal Atomic Energy Agency head Sergei Kiriyenko held a press conference for local media], Rosenergoatom Press Tsentr, 3 October 2007, www.rosenergoatom.ru; Aleksandr Emelyarnenkov, "S vidom na prodazhu: Sozdaniye pervovo plavuchevo energobloka 'Akademik Lomonosov' nazivayut prorivom v mirovoy atomnoy energetikye" [Development of first floating power plant 'Akademik Lomonosov' described as a breakthrough in world atomic energy], Rossiskaya Gazeta, Ekonomika No. 4375, 29 March 2007, www.rg.ru; "Rekomendatsii kruglogo stola na temu: 'O razvitii atomnoy energetikii na osnove energoblokov mobilnogo bazirovaniya" [Recommendations of the Round Table on the 'Development of Atomic Energy for Floating Reactors], Moscow, 30 June 2005, approved by State Duma Committee on Energy, transport and Communications, www.duma.gov.ru.
[22] Cristina Hansell, "Russia Floating Nuclear Power Reactors: an Update," paper written for the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, January 2010, p.10.
[23] Cristina Hansell Chuen and Ole Reistad, "Sea Fission: Russia's floating nuclear power plants," Jane's Intelligence Review, December 2007, p.49.
[24] Eduard Fesko, "Russian Floating Nuclear Reactors — Proliferation Risks," CNS feature Story, http://cns.miis.edu, 24 June 2002.
[25] "Tony Halpin, "Floating nuclear power stations raise spectre of Chernobyl at sea," The Times, www.thetimes.co.uk, 17 April 2007.
[26] "Reactor completed for floating plant," World Nuclear News, www.world-nuclear-news.org, 3 June 2009.
[27] Anna Kireeva, "Rosatom celebrates first floating nuke plant, stumps target customer with unwanted present," Bellona Foundation, www.bellona.org, 2 July 2010.
[28] V.M. Kuznetsov, A. V. Yablokov, I.B. Kolton, E.J. Simonov, V.M. Desyatov, I.V. Forofontov and A.K. Nikitin, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants in Russia: A Threat to the Arctic, World Oceans and Non-Proliferation Treaty," (Moscow: Green Cross, 2004), p.16.
[29] Martin Matishak, "Floating Nuclear Reactors Could Fall Prey to Terrorists, Experts Say," Global Security Newswire, 6 August 2010.
[30] "Preventing Nuclear Dangers in Southeast Asia and Australasia," Strategic Dossier from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, (London: IISS, 2009), p.72.
[31] "Kiriyenko: Kitai zainteresovala rossiskaya tekhnologiya plavuchikh AES" [Kiriyenko: China is interested in Russian floating nuclear power plant technology], Vzglyad, 30 August 2010, www.vz.ru; and Jim Bai and Tom Miles, "China, Russia agree to expand nuclear power cooperation," Reuters, www.reuters.com, 2 September 2010.
[32] "Safety and ecological compatibility of floating NPP," Rosenergoatom, www.rosenergoatom.ru.
[33] "Russia relocates construction of floating power plant," World Nuclear Association, www.world-nuclear-news.org, 11 August 2008.
[34] A number of terrorist (or insurgent) groups are known to operate on the Indonesian Archipelago. These range from al Qaeda affiliates such as Jemaah Islamiyah (which was responsible for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing) to armed separatist movements in Aceh and Papua Province.
[35] Tatyana Sinitsyna, "Floating nuclear power plant gets new 'birthplace," RIA Novosti, www.rian.ru, 5 September 2009.
[36] Tatyana Sinitsyna, "Floating nuclear power plant gets new 'birthplace," RIA Novosti, www.rian.ru, 5 September 2009; and Nikolai Sokov, "Construction of Russia's First Floating Nuclear Power Plant Raises Potential Nonproliferation Issues, Opportunities," WMD Insights, September 2006.
[37] Martin Matishak, "Floating Nuclear Reactors Could Fall Prey to Terrorists, Experts Say," Global Security Newswire, 6 August 2010, http://gsn.nti.org.
[38] Mark Dowdall and William J.F. Standring, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants and Associated Technologies in the Northern Areas," Statens Stralavern, 2008, p.52.
[39] The KLT-40 reactor used on Russian Arktika- and Taymyr-class nuclear icebreakers uses highly enriched uranium based reactor fuel.
[40] Oleg Bukharin, "Russia's Nuclear Icebreaker Fleet," Science and Global Security, Issue 14, 2006, p.30.
[41] Mark Dowdall and William J.F. Standring, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants and Associated Technologies in the Northern Areas," Statens Stralavern, 2008, p.23.
[42] Mark Dowdall and William J.F. Standring, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants and Associated Technologies in the Northern Areas," Statens Stralavern, 2008, p.43.
[43] V.M. Kuznetsov, A. V. Yablokov, I.B. Kolton, E.J. Simonov, V.M. Desyatov, I.V. Forofontov and A.K. Nikitin, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants in Russia: A Threat to the Arctic, World Oceans and Non-Proliferation Treaty," (Moscow: Green Cross, 2004), p.41.
[44] For a more detailed explanation of the reactors active and passive shutdown systems see "KLT-40S nuclear barge project still afloat," Nuclear Engineering International, www.neimagazine.com, 9 March 2010.
[45] Cristina Hansell, "Russia Floating Nuclear Power Reactors: an Update," paper written for the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, January 2010, p.7.
[46] This is a concern raised by Igor Kudrik of the Bellona Foundation in John Vidal, "Russia to build floating Arctic nuclear stations," Guardian, www.guardian.co.uk, 3 May 2009; and V.M. Kuznetsov, A. V. Yablokov, I.B. Kolton, E.J. Simonov, V.M. Desyatov, I.V. Forofontov and A.K. Nikitin, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants in Russia: A Threat to the Arctic, World Oceans and Non-Proliferation Treaty," (Moscow: Green Cross, 2004), p.44.
[47] Mark Dowdall and William J.F. Standring, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants and Associated Technologies in the Northern Areas," Statens Stralavern, 2008, p.49.
[48] "The goal of the floating NPP project," Rosenergoatom, www.rosenergoatom.ru.
[49] Cristina Hansell, "Russia Floating Nuclear Power Reactors: an Update," paper written for the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, January 2010, p.16.
[50] 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, www.imo.org.
[51] V.M. Kuznetsov, A. V. Yablokov, I.B. Kolton, E.J. Simonov, V.M. Desyatov, I.V. Forofontov and A.K. Nikitin, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants in Russia: A Threat to the Arctic, World Oceans and Non-Proliferation Treaty," (Moscow: Green Cross, 2004).
[52] Mark Dowdall and William J.F. Standring, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants and Associated Technologies in the Northern Areas," Statens Stralavern, 2008, p.46.

November 5, 2010
About

Thomas Young explores Russia's rationale for the construction of floating nuclear power plants and the associated proliferation, security and environmental concerns.

Authors
Thomas Young

Research Associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Countries

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.