Asaase Radio’s Emmanuel Aboagye-Wiafe tours world’s first floating nuclear power plant in Pevek, Russia

The first floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) as over the past five years since its commissioning in 2020, operated successfully without any accidents

Asaase radio’s Emmanuel Aboagye-Wiafe has had a very rare opportunity to tour one of the world’s remotest and coldest areas in the Arctic region which is very close to the North pole.

The tour at the instance of Russia state’s nuclear company ROSATOM took the team made up of five Africans, some Asians and Russians to the world’s first floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) known as the ‘The Akademik Lomonosov ‘.  Located in Pevek Russia’s most northern city in the Chukotka region the FNPP has over the past five years since its commissioning in 2020, operated successfully without any accidents because of the state of the art reactor plant design engineering which has a high safety assurance level.

It was launched as a breakthrough for sustainable development of the Arctic region, other remote areas and islands all over the world, which are hard-to-reach regions without centralized energy supply, and transporting traditional fossil fuel is difficult and expensive.

Designed by Russian nuclear scientists and naval architects, the first vessel of this kind is 144,2 metres, side height -10m long and 30 metres wide with a displacement of 21,560 tonnes.

The ship is equipped with two KLT-40S small reactor systems each with a 35MW generating capacity. Small Modular Reactors also known as SMRs are considered for a wide range of potential facilities located in remote or isolated regions with high transportation costs for fuel delivery and limited grid infrastructure.

Currently the Akademik Lomosonov provides adequate and reliable electricity to inhabitants of Pevek and surrounding areas and also serve the power needs of the region’s mining industry. It is being operated by a crew of 300 personnel who work on shift bases.

The deputy chief engineer on the vessel Viktor Chyorny told Energy 101 presenter Emmanuel Aboagye-Wiafe that the nuclear breakthrough has several advantages over the traditional land based nuclear power plants. “The SMRs on the vessel has small footprint, they are reduced construction period, lower CAPEX, modularity and load following capabilities. There is also zero CO2 emissions, predictability of operating costs throughout the whole FNPP’s lifecycle leading to low fuel prices volatility,’’ he said.

According to Chyorny the FNPP is a suitable energy solution for isolated and remote areas with limited access or without access to the power grids.

In his view the energy 101 presenter thinks the floating nuclear power plant should be the primary choice for African countries pursuing nuclear technology. “Its associated low CAPEX and the versatile nature of the plant makes it preferable for predictable supply of electricity. Besides the issue of increasing cost of fuel for thermal energy is eliminated when a floating power plant is adopted” and this will be good news indeed for African countries including Ghana,” Aboagye-Wiafe stated.

He said the Akademik Lomonosov is a masterpiece in the world of nuclear. “I felt very comfortable on board and was amazed at the elaborate installation of the reactors, turbines and generators as well as the well knitted infrastructure that eventually conduct power generated into the grid for onward distribution to consumers” he described

In 2023 Emmanuel Aboagye Wiafe attended the Russia Africa summit in St. Petersburg. While there he also visited the Leningrad Nuclear facility, a land based nuclear plant.

In March 2024 he was one of two Africans who received international awards for media reporting in nuclear energy by Rosatom. His passion for energy reporting had earlier earned him two local awards in Ghana.

In 2023, he won the Best Energy Media Reporter by Think Energy SDG Awards and also won the coveted Energy Reporter of the Year at the Ghana Energy Awards.

ROSATOM says the FNPPs are designed to withstand worst and harsh weather conditions including Tsunamis and Hurricanes.

For now four more FNPP’s are under construction and are being commercialized to be exported into other parts of the world. Their designs will be based on the particular demands of the various destinations

Asaase Broadcasting Company airs on Asaase 99.5 Accra, Asaase 98.5 Kumasi, Asaase 99.7 Tamale, Asaase 100.3 Cape Coast, AsaasePa 107.3 (Accra).
Affiliates: Azay FM 89.1 (Takoradi), Bawku FM 101.5, Bead FM 99.9 (Bimbilla), Mining City Radio 89.5 (Tarkwa), Nyatefe Radio 94.5 (Dzodze), Somuaa FM 89.9 (Gushegu), Stone City 90.7 (Ho) and Wale FM 106.9 (Walewale).

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