Russia’s floating nuclear power plant is now operational after making the long journey across the Arctic Ocean.
The power plant, Akademik Lomonosov, docked in the remote town of Pevek in September, Business Insider reports, where it’s now generating electricity for the first time. Operating a nuclear plant atop a barge is a world-first, and Russia expects the twin reactors to power as many as 100,000 homes — a plan that’s making environmentalists uneasy.
“Chernobyl on Ice”
Critics of the plan have referred to Akademik Lomonosov as “Chernobyl on ice” or a “nuclear Titanic.”
While the Russian barge seems to have completed its voyage without incident, it doesn’t take a particularly active imagination to imagine how catastrophic any mishaps along the way could have been for the global environment.
First of Many
For better or worse, the rest of the world is catching on and copying Russia’s plan for portable nuclear reactors. Earlier this year, China announced plans to construct 20 similar power plants, all intended to float in the East China Sea and power artificial islands.
While the teams behind these power plants presumably considered and accommodated the possibility of large waves and bad weather, the rise of these free-floating nuclear reactors isn’t the most reassuring development as we head into a new year.
More on the Akademik Lomonosov: Russia Is Floating a Nuclear Power Plant Across the Arctic