Published On: Mon, Aug 19th, 2019

‘Chernobyl on ice’ Putin told floating power station a nuclear disaster waiting to happen | World | News


The monolithic titan is the world’s first floating nuclear power station – but experts have warned it could be a disaster waiting to happen. The facility, Academik Lomonosov, which was a decade in the making, is gearing up to sail across the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic. But nuclear energy expert Jan Haverkamp has dubbed the venture “Chernobyl on ice”.

The plan is to have Lomonosov float close to Pevek, a Russian port town in the Arctic, where it will provide nuclear power to an estimated 100,000 homes.

The new facility will allow Russian authorities to halt the use of an older nuclear plant as well as a coal-burning power station.

Additionally, the floating plant would provide power to remote areas such as Pevek, which are only accessible via air or sea travel, without using large pieces of land.

But Mr Haverkamp told Business Insider: “They’ve literally said it’s unsinkable and those are the very words that were used for the Titanic.

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“For me, that is an alarm light flashing very brightly.

“It’s overconfidence, and overconfidence is not good for ultra-hazardous activities.”

The Northern Sea Route, where the vessel will be sailing, is a nature-made Panama Canal – a shipping route, made by the melting ice in the Arctic, which turns out to be quite lucrative.

Environmentalists are concerned that the project could be made more volatile in the face of natural disasters such as tsunamis whilst political pundits fear the project represents Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest effort to control the Arctic.

Despite environmental concerns, those running Lomonosov have stood their ground on the nuclear facility, claiming they took every safety precaution, including a non-electric backup system that can keep a reactor cool for 24 hours.

However, environmentalists think that 24 hours will not be enough time to stop a nuclear disaster from occurring.

Akademik Lomonosov is supposed to leave the docks in one month, at which point it will signify not only the end of a decade of construction, but potentially a new age of nuclear energy.



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