Russia's floating nuclear power station Akademik Lomonosov sets sail across Arctic

23 August 2019, 15:53 | Updated: 23 August 2019, 17:32

Campaigners have raised concerns after Russia's first floating nuclear power plant sailed to its destination in the country's northeast region.

The Akademik Lomonosov is a 140m-long (459ft) towed platform that carries two 35 megawatt nuclear reactors.

It set out from the Arctic port of Murmansk on the Kola peninsula on Friday on a three-week journey to Pevek on the Chukotka peninsula more than 2,650 nautical miles east.

The floating plant will provide power for the area, replacing the Bilibino nuclear power plant on Chukotka which is being decommissioned.

It is the first floating nuclear power plant since the US MH-1A, a much smaller reactor that supplied the Panama Canal with power from 1968 to 1975.

Environmentalists say the project is inherently dangerous and a threat to the Arctic region.

Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom has dismissed the concerns, insisting that the floating nuclear plant is safe to operate.

Rosatom director Alexei Likhachev said his company hoped to sell floating reactors to foreign markets which are believed to include Indonesia and Sudan.

It comes as Russian officials said they had checked more than 100 medical workers who helped treat victims of a recent explosion and found one man with a trace of radiation.

The incident on 8 August at the Russian navy's range in Nyonoksa on the White Sea killed two servicemen and five nuclear engineers and injured six.

Radiation levels in nearby Severodvinsk rose for a time but the authorities insisted it did not pose any danger.

The Arkhangelsk regional administration said 110 medical workers have undergone checks that found one man with a low amount of radioactive cesium-137.

It said the man's health is not in danger and argued that he could have contracted the isotope from food.

The statement followed Russian media reports claiming dozens were exposed to radiation.

Reports claimed that medical teams at the Arkhangelsk city hospital had not been warned they would treat people exposed to radiation and lacked elementary protective gear.

There have been claims Russia's security agency forced the medical workers to sign non-disclosure papers.