From St Petersburg, where it was built, the plant was towed and docked to Murmansk, the Russian state nuclear operator Rosatom informed. In Murmansk, it will take onboard a supply of nuclear fuel, and then it will be towed to Pevek in the Far Eastern region of Chukotka, where it will start operations next year.
The plant will replace a coal-fired power plant and an aging nuclear power plant supplying more than 50,000 people with electricity in Chukotka, Rosatom added.
The small plants were designed to make it possible to supply electricity to hard-to-reach areas of Russia. They can operate non-stop without the need for refueling for 3-5 years, according to Reuters.
However, environmental groups, including Greenpeace, have sent a letter to Rosatom boss, Alexei Likhachyov, and relevant authorities, demanding full regulatory oversight by the Russian nuclear regulator Rostechnadzor, with peer-review by nuclear regulators from other Arctic countries, as well as a transboundary Arctic Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
On the occasion of the plant's arrival in Murmansk, Jan Haverkamp, nuclear expert with Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, stated:
It is now that one of the riskiest parts of the project begins. The barge will be fuelled and tested near a city of 300,000 people, then towed with two reactors full of irradiated fuel along the Northern Sea Route. Its installation in the harsh environment of the Russian Arctic will pose a constant threat to people of the North and the pristine Arctic nature.