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Russia’s controversial floating nuclear plant sets sail for the Arctic

WATCH ABOVE: Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant sailed Friday to its destination on the nation’s Arctic coast, a project that environmentalists have criticized as unsafe. The Akademik Lomonosov is a 140-meter (459-foot) long towed platform that carries two 35-megawatt nuclear reactors.

Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant sailed Friday to its destination on the nation’s Arctic coast, a project that environmentalists have criticized as unsafe.

The Akademik Lomonosov is a 140-meter (459-foot) long towed platform that carries two 35-megawatt nuclear reactors.

Russia’s floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov leaves the service base of Rosatomflot company for a journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka from Murmansk, Russia August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Russia’s floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov leaves the service base of Rosatomflot company for a journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka from Murmansk, Russia August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

On Friday, it set out from the Arctic port of Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula on a three-week journey to Pevek on the Chukotka Peninsula more than 4,900 kilometres (about 2,650 nautical miles) east.

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A view shows Russia’s floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov and tugboat Dixon before the departure from the service base of Rosatomflot company for a journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka in Murmansk, Russia August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
A view shows Russia’s floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov and tugboat Dixon before the departure from the service base of Rosatomflot company for a journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka in Murmansk, Russia August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
WATCH: (April 2018) Russia develops ‘first of its kind’ floating nuclear power plant
Russia develops ‘first of its kind’ floating nuclear power plant
Russia develops ‘first of its kind’ floating nuclear power plant

Its purpose is to provide power for the area, replacing the Bilibino nuclear power plant on Chukotka that is being decommissioned.

The Russian project is the first floating nuclear power plant since the U.S. MH-1A, a much smaller reactor that supplied the Panama Canal with power from 1968-1975.

Employees and crew members look out of the windows of Russia’s floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov as it leaves the service base of Rosatomflot company for a journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka from Murmansk, Russia August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Employees and crew members look out of the windows of Russia’s floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov as it leaves the service base of Rosatomflot company for a journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka from Murmansk, Russia August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Environmentalists have criticized the project as inherently dangerous and a threat to the pristine Arctic region. Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom has dismissed those concerns, insisting that the floating nuclear plant is safe to operate.

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Rosatom director, Alexei Likhachev, said his corporation hopes to sell floating reactors to foreign markets. Russian officials have previously mentioned Indonesia and Sudan among potential export customers.

An employee of Russia’s floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov works during preparations for a 4,000-mile journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka at state company Rosatomflot base in Murmansk, Russia August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
An employee of Russia’s floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov works during preparations for a 4,000-mile journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka at state company Rosatomflot base in Murmansk, Russia August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov