Russia will tow an experimental floating nuclear power plant by several NATO countries this summer, a Swedish newspaper reported Monday.
Russia will tow the floating Akademik Lomonosov power plant past Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland on a trip to the Arctic Ocean. Russia says the reactors will provide power for breaking ice to help clear shipping routes.
NATO nations Norway and Denmark worry the reactors could be operational on the journey. The Akademik Lomonosov is estimated to cost $336 million and reportedly capable of generating 70 megawatts of electricity.
Floating reactors are used to bring electricity to remote areas where power is needed while minimizing environmental impacts since they can resist earthquakes and tsunamis. Ocean water also can be used to cool reactors down in an emergency.
China’s Global Times reported in April that floating reactors “could provide reliable power for… defensive weapons and airports and harbors on islands in the South China Sea.”
Some of the world’s first floating nuclear power plants are being developed in Russia. The country plans on completing one new large reactor per year, on average, until at least 2028. Nuclear technology and the services required to run it are a “major Russian policy and economic objective,” according to the World Nuclear Association.
Vital safety, security, and nonproliferation standards will erode if the U.S. allows Russia and China to become the world’s premier nuclear powers.
Approving new nuclear reactors takes as little as two years in Russia. It took 43 years to build the newest U.S. newest nuclear reactor, which was racked by scandals, red tape and environmental concerns.
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