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Akademik Lomonosov

  • Location
    Pevek, Chukotka
  • Type
    Nuclear-Power Reactor
  • Facility Status
    Construction completed in 2019

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Akademik Lomonosov Floating Nuclear Power Plant - Russia

The Russian Federation has positioned itself as a leading international supplier of nuclear fuel, nuclear technology and related services. Russia is adapting technology from its existing fleet of nuclear powered icebreakers to build floating nuclear power plants (FNPPs) to provide heat and energy to its remote regions, and assist in natural resource extraction. Additionally, Russia hopes to lease the plants to other countries, where they will be used to provide electricity and for water desalinization. 1 Construction on the lead vessel of the class, the ‘Akademik Lomonosov’ began in 2007 at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvisnk, the extreme north of Russia. In August 2008, the hull of the under-construction ‘Akademik Lomonosov’ was transferred to the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard in St. Petersburg. 2 The Baltiskiy shipyard is where the ships of Russia’s nuclear icebreaker fleet were built, and it is the world’s only shipbuilder with recent experience building civilian naval reactors. Construction was completed in 2019, and on 23 August, ‘Akademik Lomonosov’ set sail for Pevek, its final destination. There, the FNPP is expected to become a central part of the eastern region’s power supply, replacing the Bilibino NPP and the Chaunskaya CHPP. 3

The ‘Lomonosov’ is a flat-hulled barge equipped with two nuclear power units. In Pevek, it will be connected to onshore infrastructure to provide power transmission and support services. The two nuclear power units are powered by two low enriched uranium (LEU) versions of the KLT-40s, a variant of the highly enriched uranium (HEU) reactors used on some of Russia’s icebreakers. 4 Once operational, the ‘Lomonosov’ is expected to power a city of 200,000 people, provide heat and power for natural resource extraction or desalination, and provide power in emergency situations. In order to minimize the need for special transportation arrangements, or dedicated maintenance ships, the vessel’s design incorporates storage for both fresh- and spent-nuclear fuel, as well as designated storage for liquid and solid nuclear waste. The vessel consists of three decks divided into 10 compartments, measures 144 meters long by 30 meters wide by 10 meters tall, and displaces roughly 21,500 tons of water. The vessel also has quarters for its crew of roughly 70, who are responsible for operating the reactors and maintaining the vessel between overhauls. 5

The ‘Lomonosov’ is designed to operate in three, 12 year operational cycles. At the end of each period, the vessel will be towed back to the RosAtomFlot shipyard in Murmansk for repairs, defueling, refueling, and radioactive waste removal. 6 In order to ensure a constant supply of power, FNPPs can be operated in fleets, with a new FNPP arriving before the old departs. Rosatom is also currently developing second-generation floating power units (FPUs) which they hope to export as energy sources for remote regions with extended coastlines and a shortage of energy supply. 7 As Russia continues to develop plans for ‘fleets’ of FNPPs, many analysts have raised concerns about the safety, security, and proliferation risks associated with the project. Since this concept of operations is entirely new for civilian power infrastructure, Russia will have to answer questions about the safety, security and IAEA safeguards implications of this new technology before seeking to expand its investment in FNPPs or lease them on the international market. 8

See further analysis of these issues.


Nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant: A facility that generates electricity using a nuclear reactor as its heat source to provide steam to a turbine generator.
Low enriched uranium (LEU)
Low enriched uranium (LEU): Refers to uranium with a concentration of the isotope U-235 that is higher than that found in natural uranium but lower than 20% LEU (usually 3 to 5%). LEU is used as fuel for many nuclear reactor designs.
Highly enriched uranium (HEU)
Highly enriched uranium (HEU): Refers to uranium with a concentration of more than 20% of the isotope U-235. Achieved via the process of enrichment. See entry for enriched uranium.
Spent nuclear fuel
Spent nuclear fuel: Irradiated nuclear fuel. Once irradiated, nuclear fuel is highly radioactive and extremely physically hot, necessitating special remote handling. Fuel is considered “self protecting” if it is sufficiently radioactive that those who might seek to divert it would not be able to handle it directly without suffering acute radiation exposure.
Radioactivity: The spontaneous emission of radiation, generally alpha or beta particles, often accompanied by gamma rays, from the nucleus of an unstable isotope.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
IAEA: Founded in 1957 and based in Vienna, Austria, the IAEA is an autonomous international organization in the United Nations system. The Agency’s mandate is the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, technical assistance in this area, and verification that nuclear materials and technology stay in peaceful use. Article III of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires non-nuclear weapon states party to the NPT to accept safeguards administered by the IAEA. The IAEA consists of three principal organs: the General Conference (of member states); the Board of Governors; and the Secretariat. For additional information, see the IAEA.
Safeguards: A system of accounting, containment, surveillance, and inspections aimed at verifying that states are in compliance with their treaty obligations concerning the supply, manufacture, and use of civil nuclear materials. The term frequently refers to the safeguards systems maintained by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in all nuclear facilities in non-nuclear weapon state parties to the NPT. IAEA safeguards aim to detect the diversion of a significant quantity of nuclear material in a timely manner. However, the term can also refer to, for example, a bilateral agreement between a supplier state and an importer state on the use of a certain nuclear technology.

See entries for Full-scope safeguards, information-driven safeguards, Information Circular 66, and Information Circular 153.


  1. "Reactors ready for floating plant," World Nuclear News, 7 August 2009, www.world-nuclear-news.org.
  2. "Baltiyskiy Zavod OJSC (St. Petersburg) has started assembling the main floating NPP," Rosatom, 19 May 2009, www.rosatom.ru.
  3. Rusatom International Network, “First-of-a-Kind Floating Nuclear Power Unit Akademik Lomonosov Leaves Murmansk for Pevek,” Press Release, 23 August 2019, www.rosatom.ru.
  4. “KLT-40S Reactor Plant for the floating CNPP FPU,” JSC «Afrikantov OKBM», Undated, www.okbm.nnov.ru.
  5. Alexander Nikitin and Leonid Andreyev, “Floating Nuclear Power Plants,” Bellona Report, 2011.
  6. Mark Dowdall and William J.F. Standring, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants and Associated Technologies in the Northern Areas," Statens Stralavern, 2008.
  7. Rusatom International Network, “First-of-a-Kind Floating Nuclear Power Unit Akademik Lomonosov Leaves Murmansk for Pevek,” Press Release, 23 August 2019, www.rosatom.ru.
  8. Martin Matishak, "Floating Nuclear Reactors Could Fall Prey to Terrorists, Experts Say," Global Security Newswire, 6 August 2010, http://gsn.nti.org; "Safety and Ecological Compatibility of Floating NPP," Rosenergoatom, www.rosenergoatom.ru.


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