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Nuclear ahoy! Russia installs reactors on floating power station

Posting in Technology

Welcome aboard. A reactor, steam generator and pressurizer settle into a purpose built ship in St. Petersburg.

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Russia is one of those countries that is pursuing nuclear power full tilt.

To help increase nuclear's share electricity, it's deploying novel ideas.

The most recent example: Over the last week, it has lowered two small reactors onto a ship berthed in St. Petersburg, which will eventually serve as a floating nuclear power station, World Nuclear News reported.

The milestone follows about four years of testing of the reactors on land, and puts the project back on pace following delays related to an earlier bankruptcy at the shipyard, which now seems to be sorted out.

Sergey Zavyalov, deputy general director of Rosenergoatom, the state-owned company that will operate the reactors, said he has "strong confidence the floating unit will be ready in time." Rosenergoatom is ultimately part of Russia's Rosatom national atomic agency.

The floating plant is due off the coast of the Chukotka Peninsula in northeast Russia in 2016, in a part of the Arctic Ocean known as the East Siberian Sea. The Chutkotka Peninsula has a mining industry.

Nuclear power will generate as much as half of Russia's electricity by 2050, and up to 80 percent by the end of the century, according to the World Nuclear Association.  The country will increasingly rely on a type of reactor known as a "fast reactor."

All reactors on deck.

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Photos from Rosenergoatom website

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— By on October 3, 2013, 9:16 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure