The floating Russian nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov has left the port in St. Petersburg. The power plant is to be transported past the Norwegian coast and on to Murmansk.
In Murmansk, nuclear fuel will be taken on board before its journey proceeds to the northeast coast of Siberia. Here, the nuclear power plant will supply power to a port city and several oil rigs.
The Norwegian authorities were strongly critical of the Russian plans last year to drag the nuclear power plant past the Norwegian coast. Following talks between Norwegian and Russian authorities, it was agreed that nuclear power should not be taken on board the plant before it was reached Murmansk.
The news agency AP announced on Saturday that the vessel had left the shipyard where it was built in St. Petersburg and that it will be towed through the Baltic Sea on its way to the Norwegian coast.
Aftenposten had earlier written that Norwegian authorities were assured that the power plant will not be towed but transported by heavy-duty vessels.
After taking onboard nuclear fuel in Murmansk, the power plant will be transported through vulnerable arctic areas. The environmental movement is critical to the project, and Greenpeace has called Akademik Lomonosov «a floating Chernobyl».
– Worried about accidents
Bellona, an environmental NGO, is worried about what can happen on the way from Murmansk to Pevek in the east of the Arctic region of Russia.
“We are concerned that nuclear reactor accidents can occur in these harsh areas where it will be difficult to provide technical assistance in case of an accident,” says Bellona’s Managing Director, Nils Bøhmer.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today