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Nuclear power tries its sea legs

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Perhaps referring to Soviet-era nuclear icebreakers is not such a hot idea, at least for those with historical memories. (Related article: Climate Policy Spells Turn Around for Exelon)

Launched in 1957, the Lenin, the USSR’s first nuclear powered icebreaker, was powered by three OK-150 reactors. In February 1965, there was a loss of coolant incident, and some of the fuel elements melted or deformed inside reactor number two. The debris was removed and stored for two years, and subsequently dumped in Tsivolki Bay near Novaia Zemlia two years later. The second accident was a cooling system leak, which occurred in 1967, shortly after refueling. 

Not a reassuring developing for the Soviet Arctic environment.

"Academician Lomonosov’s" keel was laid in April 2007 at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk on the White Sea, but the project was subsequently transferred to the Baltiskii Zavod. The "Academician Lomonosov’s" 21,500 ton hull was subsequently launched in 2010, although construction work was frozen in mid-2011because of bankruptcy proceedings against the shipyard. The company was subsequently acquired by state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation and Rosenergoatom signed a new contract with the Baltiskii Zavod for the "Academician Lomonosov’s" completion. The "Academician Lomonosov" has 69 crew and specialists. Ominously, the "Academician Lomonosov" has no engines, so it needs to be towed.  The vessel is equipped with two modified KLT-40 reactors.

But, not to worry.

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