Published on Friday December 14 2012 (AEST)
Russian utility Rosenergoatom has signed a new contract with the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard for the completion of the first floating nuclear power plant. It is now scheduled for commissioning in 2016. Under a contract signed on 7 December in St Petersburg, Baltiysky Zavod-Shipbuilding - the successor to the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard - will now complete the vessel for delivery to Rosenergoatom on 9 September 2016. The plant – dubbed the Akademik Lomonosov – will then be put into use in Vilyuchinsk, in the Kamchatka region in Russia's far east. The keel was originally laid for the first floating plant at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk in April 2007.
However, in 2008, Rosatom said that it was to transfer its construction to Baltiysky Zavod because Sevmash was inundated with military contracts. A contract was signed in February 2009 between Rosatom and Baltiysky Zavod for completion of the plant. At that time, the vessel was due to be completed in 2012, but work was hindered as the shipyard found itself facing bankruptcy.
Shipyard reborn In August 2011, at the request of Rosenergoatom, the partly-built floating nuclear power plant was seized by the Court of Arbitration of Saint Petersburg as the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard faced bankruptcy proceedings. Rosenergoatom was afraid that it could lose its investment in the 9.8 billion rouble ($340 million) project if another claimant seized the shipyard's assets during those proceedings. The largest shareholder in the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard, with an 88.3% stake, was United Industrial Corporation, which is owned by Sergei Pugachev.
This stake had been pledged to Russia's Central Bank as collateral for an unreturned loan to International Industrial Bank, another Pugachev-controlled company which was declared bankrupt in November 2010. Baltiysky Zavod went into receivership in January 2012 and Rosenergoatom was forced to cancel its contract with the shipyard. However, the shipbuilding company was acquired by state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation in May and has since been relaunched as a new company. According to Rosenergoatom, over 90% of the work has been completed on the hull of the Akademik Lomonosov.
The turbo-generators have already been installed, while the two 35 MW KLT-40S nuclear reactors - similar to those used in Russia's nuclear-powered ice breakers - have been assembled and delivered to the shipyard ready for installation. The first batch of fuel for the floating plant has also already been produced.