Moscow increasingly considering nuclear for industry and communities in isolated areas
Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom has signed an agreement that could lead to the construction of low-power nuclear reactors in the Norilsk area in the administrative region of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia
Rosatom said the agreement of intent and cooperation is for the construction of low-power nuclear power plants for energy supply to the Norilsk Industrial Region.
Norilsk, a closed city, is the world's northernmost city with more than 180,000 inhabitants, and the second-largest city – after Murmansk – inside the Arctic Circle.
The agreement was signed by Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev and the president of Norilsk Nickel, Vladimir Potanin. Norilsk Nickel is a Russian nickel and palladium mining and smelting company whose largest operations are in the north of Siberia.
The agreement stipulates that the companies will study possible options and determine a priority site for the placement of a ground-based small nuclear power plant that could operate in the 2030s.
They will also consider the configuration of the planned facility and the infrastructure needed for its construction and operation.
Likhachev said the option of a small modular reactor (SMR) plant based on Russia’s RITM-400 reactor technology, a version of which is in service powering icebreakers, may be the best option for the project. He said this would offer a reliable source of electricity with long-term predictable tariffs.
The Norilsk Industrial Region’s power system is owned and operated by Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, part of the Norilsk Nickel group, but is not part of Russia’s unified grid.
“Taking into account its strategic development plans, Norilsk Nickel is considering the possibility of building new generating capacities,” Rosatom said. “One of the options is low-power nuclear power plants.”
Russia is increasingly considering small nuclear power plants to provide power to industry and communities in isolated areas.
The country operates the world’s first floating nuclear power station, the Akademik Lomonosov, docked at Pevek in Chukotka, in the Far East.
In April, Russia’s nuclear regulator issued a construction permit for a land-based SMR in Yakutia, also known as Sakha, in Russia’s Far East. It will have a single RITM-200N unit with a proposed capacity of at least 55 MW.
There are plans for further floating plants to provide power for the Baimskaya minerals mining complex in Chukotka.