World's 1st floating nuclear power plants under construction

Updated: 2007-04-19 18:58

MOSCOW - Russia has started building the world's first floating nuclear power station, officials said, a project anti-nuclear activists say is the most dangerous to come out of the atomic sector for a decade.

Russia hopes to export the power plants for use in seas from the Indian Ocean to the Arctic. The first floating station is due to be ready in 2010 and there are plans to build six more.

Russian officials say the stations are a safe way to supply power to desolate regions and the energy-hungry economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America without risking the proliferation of nuclear know how.

Sergei Ivanov, Russia's powerful first deputy prime minister, this week presided over the start of work on the first floating station at a secret submarine plant on the White Sea.

"Many countries are beginning to ask us 'when can we buy these plants?"' Ivanov was quoted as saying by Rosenergoatom, the agency which runs Russia's nuclear power stations and is footing the bill for building the plants.

"This is the most dangerous project that has been launched by the atomic sector in the whole world over the past decade," Ivan Blokov, campaign director of Greenpeace Russia, said.

"It is scary as this is basically going to be a floating atomic bomb," he told Reuters.

President Vladimir Putin last year approved the biggest revamp of the Russian nuclear industry since the Chernobyl accident.

The explosion of reactor number four at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine - then part of the Soviet Union - on April 26, 1986, spewed radioactive dust over much of Europe.

Ivanov on Sunday unveiled Russia's first new generation nuclear submarine since the fall of the Soviet Union. The submarine will enter service in the Northern Fleet, based at Severomorsk, 930 miles north of Moscow.

Top World News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours