Russia’s state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom has signed an agreement confirming its participation in construction of a small modular nuclear reactor project in the Russian Republic of Sakha.
Officials from Sakha—an area also known as Yakutia—on Dec. 23 signed a deal with Rosatom outlining the formation of “electric power tariff principles” for an SMR power plant with RITM-200 reactors in Ust-Kuyga, Ust-Yansky District, which would supply electricity to remote communities in the Arctic region. The agreement confirms the off-take of as much as 50 MW of electricity from the plant. It also confirms Rosatom’s “readiness to assist in SMR NPP siting,” according to an announcement from Rosatom shared with POWER.
The plant also will supply power for the Kyuchus gold deposit development project in the north of Verkhoyansky District, Yakutia.
Development of the SMR project comes after Rosatom and officials from Sakha signed an Agreement of Intent in September 2019. Field survey work for the project was completed earlier this year. Rosatom said it expects the power plant will be completed by 2028.
First Land-Based SMR in Russia
Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s director general, said, “We are making an important step today in terms of constructing the first, new generation land-based SMR power plant in Russia. The implementation of this project will strengthen Rosatom’s leadership at the global SMR market. Quite recently, the world’s only floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov was put into operation and now, merely a few months later, we started the implementation of [a] land-based SMR NPP project.
“An important aspect of our foreign practices is that Rosatom always follows the principle: first we build in our own country and only then offer technology to the market. Today, only the Russian Federation can offer such cutting-edge and referenced technology,” said Likhachev. “There is no doubt that SMR power plants have a big future, both in our country and abroad.”
Officials in the Ust-Yansky District have said they expect the new plant “will nearly halve the costs of electric power in Ust-Yansky District compared to the current prices.”
The RITM-200 reactors that will be used in the Yakutia SMR draw upon Rosatom’s 50-plus years of experience in the operation of small reactors in Russia’s nuclear icebreaker fleet. The new generation Arktika icebreaker with RITM series SMRs officially joined Russia’s nuclear fleet on Oct. 21, 2020. Four RITM-200 reactors already have been installed as part of the 22220 Project icebreakers that are currently under construction at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“I am confident that the SMR nuclear power plant will provide impetus to the development of Yakutia’s arctic regions and industries located in Ust-Yansky District, and improve standards of living of local residents,” said Aysen Nikolayev, head of the Republic of Sakha.
Rosatom said the RITM-200 reactors feature compact design, modularity, a short construction period, and high safety standards, with a service life or more than 60 years. The group said the SMR nuclear plant also can produce low-carbon hydrogen, which could be used in various industries.
The new SMR nuclear plant will replace power generation from both coal-fired and diesel-fueled facilities in Ust-Yansky District. The construction project is expected to create as many as 800 jobs.
—Darrell Proctor is associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).