The first floating nuclear power plant will be launched in Arkhangelsk and will produce its first electricity in the autumn 2010. It will supply energy to Sevmash company with 1/5 of the electricity to be sold. The construction of the plant will cost 9.1bln RUR (VAT exclusive). The investor and the owner of the project is Rosenergoatom. The plant is expected to pay off in 11-12 years after its launch.

The use of floating NPPs is mostly expedient in regions lacking own fuel resources or experiencing difficulties in delivering them (Far North and Far East of Russia, island states of Asian-Pacific). There are six potential sites for floating NPPs: Arkhangelsk, Kamchatka, Chukotka, Yakutia, Krasnoyarsk and Primorsk regions.

Decentralized energy supply zones cover almost 2/3 of Russia’ territory. The living standard of the local population – mostly small ethnic communities – heavily depends on energy supply and industrial production. On the other hand, these areas are abundant in mineral resources: Chukotka alone has mineral resources worth $1trl. Their development also needs energy.   

The International Energy Agency says that Eastern Siberia and Far East have as much as 14bln tons of oil. However, most of the local fields are yet undeveloped: for the moment this region produces just 1% of Russia’s total oil. Obviously, big energy networks are not a good solution for this vast scarcely-populated area. Russia has 50 regions needing power plants of low capacity.

In this light, small nuclear power plants may become the basis of decentralized energy supply systems in the underdeveloped regions of Russia and the world: Far North, Far East, deserts, oceanic islands and megalopolises. The key consumers of such plants in Russia are the Northern Sea Route, Chukotka, BAM (Baikal-Amur Mainline), Polar Ural, oil and gas deposits of Eastern Siberia and Far East.

The Northern Sea Route began to actively develop with the introduction of nuclear icebreakers. The floating NPP that is being built in Severodvonsk for the moment will become an important link of the complex of small floating NPPs to be stationed all along the route. Over 3bnl RUR is spent each year on transportation of fuel and cargoes to the northern regions of Russia. The Republic of Sakha alone spends as much as 1.2bln RUR to deliver 250,000 tons of liquid fuel to its arctic regions.

The use of small floating NPPs will solve the problem of fuel supply and will substantially improve the social-economic situation in those areas.