Russia’s floating nuclear plant arrives in port

The Akademik Lomonosov, pictured leaaving the Arctic Port of Murmansk , is the world’s first floating nuclear power station. (AFP)
Updated 14 September 2019

Russia’s floating nuclear plant arrives in port

MOSCOW: Russia’s world-first floating nuclear power station on Saturday completed a 5,000 kilometer (3,100 mile) Arctic transfer to the country’s far east, the Rosatom nuclear agency said.

“The Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear plant arrived ... at Pevek, in the autonomous district of Chukotka,” where it is to start operating by the end of the year, once connected to the local electricity grid, Rosatom added.

What will be the world’s northernmost nuclear power plant left Murmansk, the port city in the Arctic circle, in Russia’s far north on August 23 after being loaded with combustible nuclear fuel.

The 21 ton, 144 meter (470 feet) long and 30 meter wide platform, which is designed to meet the energy needs of remote communities, was towed into Pevek by a clutch of vessels.

The station houses two 35-megawatt reactors, more in line with the power of nuclear-powered ice breakers than typical new generation nuclear plants boasting nearer 1,000 megawatt capacity.

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100k

The Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power station is to provide energy for around 100,000 people.

The Akademik Lomonosov is to provide energy for around 100,000 people and also power oil platforms as Russia develops extraction of natural resources in a mineral-rich area whose eastern tip is a few dozen kilometers from Alaska.

“It is perhaps a small step toward sustainable development in the Arctic — but it’s a giant step toward decarbonization of remote, off-grid zones and a turning point in the global development of small modular nuclear plants,” Rosatom head Alexei Likhachev said in a statement.

Environmental groups led by Greenpeace Russia have, however, long criticized the project warning it will have “serious consequences” for a fragile ecosystem in case of storms or accidents.

Greenpeace has warned of the risk of a “nuclear Titanic” and “Chernobyl on ice” and environmental fears were heightened following an August explosion at a nuclear research facility in Russia’s far north which saw local radiation levels briefly spike.

The nuclear industry generally has been looking to reinvent itself in a depressed market, notably by producing small-scale, modular reactors with attractive price tags to win over potential new clients.

The industry has been cheered by strong demand notably for nuclear-powered submarines as well as ice-breakers and aircraft carriers, increasingly destined for isolated and infrastructure-poor regions.


Oman said to mull new regional airline

Updated 22 October 2019

Oman said to mull new regional airline

DUBAI: Oman is considering setting up a new regional airline that could take over domestic operations from state carrier Oman Air, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A request for proposal was issued this month by state entity Oman Aviation Group for a feasibility study into operating the new airline, “Oman Link,” the sources said.

Setting up a new airline for domestic flights would allow Oman Air to focus on its international network where it competes with large Gulf carriers Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways.

The new airline could partner with Oman Air with both carriers connecting passengers to each other but would have its own independent management, the sources said on the condition of anonymity because the details are private.

Proposals are to be submitted by Nov. 11, one of the sources said.

The new airline would use regional jets for domestic flights and potentially later to other cities in the region where there is not enough demand to fill the larger single aisle jets used by other airlines in Oman.

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Oman Air operates flights to four airports in the country, including the main Muscat International.

Oman Aviation Group and its unit Oman Air did not respond to separate emailed requests for comment.

Oman Air operates flights to four airports in the country, including the main Muscat International, according to its website.

The airline uses 166-seat Boeing 737 jets and 71-seat Embraer E175 aircraft on domestic and regional flights.

Both aircraft types are too costly to consistently operate domestic routes at a profit, according to industry sources.

Oman has been restructuring its aviation sector in recent years. Oman Aviation Group was formed in 2018 and includes Oman Air, Oman Airports and Oman Aviation Services.

A budget, second airline, Salam Air, was launched in 2017. It is owned by Omani government pension funds and the Muscat municipality.

Last week, Eithad and Air Arabia said they were jointly setting up a low cost carrier in Abu Dhabi.