- This year, Rosatom State Corporation received a project for the energy supply of the Baimsky GOK in Chukotka. How many floating power units are we talking about for the project?
- According to the schedule that we have discussed with the customer (Kazakhstan KAZ Minerals) today, Atomenergomash should supply four MPEBs - these are modernized floating power units to provide approximately 320 MW of capacity. It is planned that they will work according to the 3+1 scheme. That is, three will work constantly, and the fourth will become a backup.
The first two MPEBs should be manufactured by the end of 2026. Their commissioning in Nagleingyn Bay is expected in early 2027. Due to such short terms in terms of production, we face super-complex tasks.
- Where are the MPEBs planned to be built?
- The MPEB is an unusual object in the sense that it is not a ship in the usual sense of the word. The main task of the floating power unit is energy supply. As for manufacturing, we will make the main power equipment in Russia.
Now, as for the shipyard: unfortunately, we see that none of the companies that are able to produce MPEB hulls can't do this in Russia today due to their current production workload. Therefore, Atomenergomash will place orders for the first two hulls abroad to ensure a short delivery time. I emphasize that we are talking only about the production of hull, because we will make everything else here.
Our plan is as follows: the MPEB body will be produced abroad, towed to Russia, where everything else will be installed on it - the energy part (reactor plant, turbine) and so on. Then complex mooring tests will be carried out, fuel loading, checking the operation first in cold, then in hot - and starting the power system. After that, we will hand over the PEB to the customer at the place of permanent operation.
- Which foreign company are you planning to place an order for the hulls?
- We are still in the process of selecting a contractor. Due to the tight deadlines, we first found out which of the companies is interested in the project. Then we conducted a technical audit to make sure that the selected companies are in principle able to produce the object we need. Now we are in the process of selecting a supplier from the audited companies.
- In which countries are your potential contractors located?
- Until the choice is made, it's too early to talk about it.
- Atomenergomash is also developing a technical project for an optimized floating power unit (OPEB), what is the difference between OPEB and MPEB?
- In order not to get confused in abbreviations, you need to understand the main line. The only floating power unit currently operating is the floating nuclear thermal power plant (PATES; Eng: FNTPP) "Akademik Lomonosov", which generates electricity and heat. These were the conditions and needs of its customer.
When we thought about promoting floating power units as a product on the world market, we realized that the demand for heat is absolutely not obvious - for example, in hot countries, electricity is definitely needed, but heat is not. Therefore, the main task of such stations is primarily to generate electricity. And when the function of providing heat leaves the technical task, the configuration of the floating power unit also changes.
The PATES is designed so that it can work completely independently: provide electricity and heat, store spent nuclear fuel, and normal conditions are provided for the crew, including a small basketball hall and other household amenities.
At the same time, we considered that it is expensive to build a full fledged residential block with all amenities and a gym, so in the OPEB project we are reducing the residential part, as well as removing the compartment that is "responsible" for storing spent nuclear fuel at the PATES.
However, we still have some doubts about the lack of a residential block on the OPEB. After all, if we talk about the Arctic climate - a strong wind, a blizzard, then perhaps it is better that the main staff still live directly on the block - it's just more reliable. Although, in my opinion, it is much easier and faster to build coastal residential structures than to provide them in the design of the OPEB, but these are already nuances.
The logic of using OPEBS is the supply of electricity and 8-10 years of operation. After that, the unit must be towed from the place of operation for routine maintenance related to the maintenance of the vessel's hull and fuel replacement.
In summary, the PATES is heat, electricity, a compartment for spent nuclear fuel plus a full-fledged residential unit for personnel. OPEB - the absence of a compartment for storing nuclear fuel and the reduced size of the ship's hull in this regard. But the key difference is a different reactor. The KLT-40S reactor is installed at the PATES, and the RITM-200 will be installed at the OPEB and MPEB. The RITM-200 reactor is 20% more power compared to the PATES and, accordingly, a longer period of operation without reloading the fuel.
The delivery of OPEB is not a quick process. To make an OPEB, you first need to finish its general technical project, and we are still in the initial stage with it. Therefore, based on the deadlines that we have, it was decided to produce an intermediate version between the PATES and the OPEB - MPEB. In it, we use most of the equipment that is not related to energy from the PATES project as a ready-made technical solution. The main thing that is changing is the reactor: two RITM-200 reactors are installed instead of the KLT-40S. Accordingly, the turbines are being changed, because the new reactor plant is more powerful and more powerful turbines are needed for it. If there were no such tight delivery deadlines for the Baim GOK, then we would have built an OPEB for it, and not an MPEB.
- That is, the MPEB is a modernized PATES?
- Yes. MPEB is a modernized PATES. It will have the same housing as the PATES, but the station will produce only electricity-without heat, and, compared to the PATES, it will produce 20-30% more electricity at the expense of another reactor installation. The MPEB also provides for a smaller number of personnel.
The electric capacity of the new floating power units is about 100 MW compared to 70 MW at the PATES, but they can be made even more powerful. If the customer needs more electricity, it is potentially possible to put RITM-400 installations on the PEB and get 200 MW of power already.
We plan to create a whole line of floating power units - with options both in power and in execution. According to the execution, we are thinking of at least two options - Arctic and tropical, so that such power plants can operate in different climatic conditions.
- Is the option of using the OPEB to replace the PATES for the duration of the repair, after the Bilibinskaya NPP and the Chaunskaya CHP are decommissioned, not being considered?
- This is a question for the Rosenergoatom concern as an operating organization. OPEB, of course, can replace the PATES in terms of electricity generation. A separate question is how to provide heat supply in this case, but it is technically solvable. If the customer needs it, we will find a technical solution.
- That is, you are ready to put an OPEB if there is a need?
- Is Atomenergomash planning to buy a shipyard?
- I very much hope that the topic of floating power units will develop. But, as they say, it is impossible to equally effectively own newspapers, factories, steamships - there must still be some kind of specialization. Atomenergomash has no plans to become a full-fledged manufacturer of ships - not energy facilities in floating design, but ships. We are not planning to build fishing trawlers or cruise liners. In this sense, we do not need a shipyard.
Atomenergomash is interested in securing reliable partners who, if necessary, will be able to produce hulls for floating power units in the time we need.
We are not interested in shipbuilding as such, but in equipment, equipment for it - a lot of large and complex "iron": large screws, shaft lines, pumps, fittings and much more. We have relevant business units: we have created a branch in Arkhangelsk, we will create a branch in St.Petersburg for the production of MPEBs. In any case, the topic of shipbuilding is interesting and important for us, but we do not want to build ships.
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