Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom and the Government of Primorsky Krai have signed an agreement for a feasibility study and location options for floating nuclear power units off the state’s coast.

Primorsky Krai borders China and North Korea and is around 250 miles across the sea from Japan. Rosatom said that under the agreement, reliable and carbon-free electricity will be produced for the region. The Unified Energy System operator estimates that the Far Eastern region of Russia will need at least 1.35GW of power by 2029–30.

Andrei Leontyev, Minister of Energy and Gas Supply of the Primorsky Territory, said: “Initially, we see the need for four floating power units to eliminate the energy shortage in the south… in addition to small-scale nuclear energy, we also consider it necessary to create a nuclear power plant with two 600MW units in the medium term for the development of our region.”

Rosatom deputy director-general for Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Solutions Andrey Nikipolev said: “Small-scale nuclear power is a modern green way of stable energy supply with energy costs projected for decades… floating power units with their mobility and scalability are a doubly flexible solution not only to cover the current needs of a region with actively developing industry and infrastructure but also new opportunities that will further expand the economic potential of the region and provide better living conditions for people.”

Rosatom currently has one floating nuclear power plant in operation, Akademik Lomonosov, which is based at Pevek in the north-east of Russia and supplies energy for the town.

Akademik Lomonosov became operational in December 2019. At the time, the reactor was seen as a pilot project for a future fleet of floating nuclear power plants and onshore installations based on Russian-made small modular reactors.

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Due to their functionality, they are intended for deployment in disparate areas of Russia’s north and far-east. The operable reactor was named after 18th-century Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, the first native Russian to be appointed to the Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg in 1742.