For more than a decade, the Russian town of Pevek has anticipated the arrival of a floating nuclear-power plant.
This month, it is finally slated to arrive, but first the plant must complete a 4,000-mile ocean voyage.
The plant, called Akademik Lomonosov, is expected to supply electricity to an estimated 100,000 homes in a remote, far-east region of Russia — Pevek is an Arctic port and the nation’s northernmost town. It’s currently in the city of Murmansk, following several years at the St. Petersburg shipyard, where it was loaded with two nuclear reactors and outfitted with a pool, gym, and booze-free bar.
But some environmentalists are concerned that the floating plant could fall victim to a disaster like a tsunami, resulting in a possible nuclear catastrophe.
“It’s riskier than running an ordinary nuclear-power station, and Russia has a checkered past when it comes to ordinary power stations,” Jan Haverkamp, a nuclear-energy expert at the environmental nonprofit Greenpeace, told Business Insider.
Last year, Haverkamp published a blog post that referred to the floating plant as “Chernobyl on ice.” Haverkamp said he borrowed the phrase from an article published in the Finnish newspaper YLE, because he thinks Russia may be ignoring safety concerns about the plant.