Russia is expected to move its floating nuclear power plant, the Akademik Lomonosov, from St. Petersburg through the Baltic and North Seas to Murmansk starting Friday this week. Beyond the usual pollution and accident concerns, this time the Lomonosov will be accompanies by a ship of the Russian Navy.
As Are Piel of the Estonian Maritime Administration explained to ERR's "Aktuaalne kaamera" newscast on Tuesday, the Lomonosov has only limited maneuvering capabilities, which means that other ships have to make way for her.
As the nuclear plant is traveling with its own fuel on board, there is a danger of pollution in case of an accident, the Police and Border Guard said. They will closely follow the Lomonosov's movements in the Gulf of Finland.
Advisor to the Ministry of the Environment, Teet Koitjärv, took a more reluctant stance. Russia confirmed that the Lomonosov is traveling without nuclear fuel on board, and there are no signs that this doesn't correspond to reality, Koitjärv said. He also added that the platform will be towed through the part of the Gulf of Finland that is in the responsibility of Finland.
While the Gulf of Finland is only a small part of the Lomonosov's trip to Murmansk, both Sweden and Norway will have to follow its movements for a good deal longer. In particular Norway has expressed its worries, as the platform will be towed along all of the Norwegian coastline, which makes up more than half of its journey.
The 144-m platform, built in 2010, is expected to arrive in Murmansk on May 20. The power station will eventually have a capacity of 70 MW and can be used for a variety of purposes, including providing energy for the clearing of shipping routes in the Barents and Arctic Seas.
Editor: Dario Cavegn