Believe it or not, a Russian company, Rosatom, is now developing floating nuclear power stations. Currently one is in product with six more to be completed by 2015. This isn’t even the first ship of it’s type, the first floating nuclear power station was the MH-1A, on an American ship in the 1960′s.
The MH-1A was built for $17 million in 1963. The Sturgis, which used to be called the SS Charles H. Cugle, had the reactor installed and testing started in 1967. It was fueled by low enriched uranium (4% to 7%), which led it to supply operations at the panama canal 10MW of electricity from 1968 to 1975. The ship was needed due to water control by a hydroelectric plant at the canal. In 1975 the program was scrapped due to high costs and the ship was moved to Fort Eustis, Virginia.
The current Russian project began in the early 2000′s in Arkhangelsk but was transferred later to St. Petersburg. The first ship, Akademik Lomonosov, was built from 2007-2010 and is expected to be in service by 2012. It’s 144 meters long and carry’s a crew of 69 people. The nuclear ship will be able to produce 70 MW of electricity but is unable to propel itself.
The other ships in the project are expected to have lives of 40 years and will need to be taken to shore every 3 years to be refueled. The ship has also safe guards to prevent possible terrorist attacks. Officials have said that there is no possible way that an airplane striking the ship could cause an accident. The officials also point out that Russia has maintained a nuclear powered navy for many decades now with only a few incidents. Also the ship would be safe from the danger of earthquakes and tsunami’s as they have minimal effect on objects in the water.
All the ships would be used in the Russian Arctic and will be powering oil and gas developments for Gazprom and other oil companies.