The hull of the first of two new floating nuclear power plants destined for the Baimskaya minerals deposit in Chukotka, in the country’s far east, is being built at Nantong in Jiangsu province, north of Shanghai in eastern China.
By the end of 2022, a decision will be taken on where to build the hulls for the third and fourth plants.
The hull for Russia’s first floating nuclear plant, the Akademik Lomonosov, was built in Severodvinsk, northwest Russia, before being towed to St. Petersburg where its two Russian-designed KLT-40S reactor units were fitted.
Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said the hulls for the two new floating nuclear plants are being built in China “due to the stringent deadlines for implementation of the project and a high workload of domestic shipyards”.
Rosatom did not name the shipbuilder, but reports in Russia have said the contract went to Shanghai-based Wison Heavy Industries.
Rosatom said a decision will be taken on where to build the hulls for the third and fourth plants “in the fourth quarter of 2022”.
Atomenergomash, a Rosatom subsidiary, took part in the keel laying ceremony in China via a video-link from Moscow.
The company said the hull will be 140 metres long and 30 metres wide and will have a weight of nearly 10,000 tonnes.
Hull Will Be Towed To Russia For Reactor Installation
By the end of 2023, the hull will be towed to Russia for installation of two RITM-200M reactors, auxiliary equipment, control room and accommodation areas.
The RITM-200M is a Generation III+ pressurised water reactor developed by nuclear engineering company OKBM Afrikantov and designed to produce 55 MW. A version of the RITM-200M has been used to power Russian icebreakers.
The plant under construction in China is the first of four floating nuclear power plants designed to power the Baimskaya minerals deposit.
In July 2021 Rosatom and GDK Baimskaya, a subsidiary of Kazakhstan’s Kaz Minerals Group, signed a power supply agreement for the Baimskaya mining project that included the planned use of floating nuclear power plants.
The long-term agreement was for the sale of electricity between Rosatom and the Baimskaya minerals deposit. A Rosatom spokesman said at the time the agreement was “the most important event in the framework of a large-scale programme for the development of the Russian Arctic”.
Rosatom said it planned to use three floating nuclear power plants, each employing a pair of 55-MW RITM-200M reactors. A fourth unit would be held in reserve for use during repair or refuelling.
According to Kaz Minerals, the Baimskaya project is one of the world’s most significant undeveloped copper assets and could also yield significant quantities of gold. Production is scheduled to begin by the end of 2027.