atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 3 ı March
ENERGY POLICY, ECONOMY AND LAW 152
the summary demand of future oil & gas rigs on the Russian
Arctic shelf may be quite high. About 40 % of this demand
can be covered by underwater feeder cables, but this
option is limited by distances below 200 km from the
shore. Another 60% from rigs situated beyond this distance
can be covered by autonomous underwater/sub-ice power
plants. As concerns this application, small autonomous
reactors seem to have no alternative .
By the end of 1980-ies, the USSR already had a concept
of underwater NPP with small reactor units . Table 3
lists some nuclear facilities proposed by the leading
Russian design companies for application on oil & gas
Submarine tanker Carrying capacity – 20,000 t,
propeller power – 30 MW
for LNG production
| | Tab. 3.
SMR designs under development.
Displacement – 7,500 m 3 ,
compressor output – 40 MW,
continuous unmanned operation time
– 10,000 hours
The station includes: tankers,
gas storages, liquefaction units,
nuclear power facilities, terminals etc.
Displacement – 20,000 m 3 ,
reactor capacity – 6 MWe
fields in heavy ice conditions.
In late 2017, the media have published some information
on the Iceberg project developed by the Rubin and
OKBM Afrikantov design bureaus: a 24-MW underwater
NPP capable of autonomous unmanned operation for a
year (total lifetime 30 years). This NPP is intended as a
power source for oil/gas drill and extraction rigs in areas
with thick ice – in fact, this is a return to one of unique
unimplemented designs of the eighties.
In the developers’ opinion, nuclear energy supplies to
underwater/sub-ice oil/gas production on the Arctic shelf
should be based on system approach (“made in factory and
shipped to sites”), with a maximum use of long operating
experience of nuclear ships. This would enable:
• no atmospheric releases plus localization and
minimization of heat impact on the Arctic Ocean water
to negligible values (compared to natural temperature
• lower risk of oil spills – that cannot be efficiently
liquidated by available technologies – in ice con ditions;
• higher reliability and safety of power facilities;
• minimized workforce requirements (up to total
• efficient and safe offshore operation under water/ice at
distances of 1,000 km from the coast and beyond.
The policy currently implemented by the government with
regard to the Arctic region, as well as the scientific and
technical experience accumulated by Russia, both allow
for confident conclusion that considerable advances in the
development of nuclear power facilities for the Arctic are
to be expected in the short term.
1. Kurchatov Specialists and Atomic Fleet. Editor: M.V. Kovalchuk,
NRC KI, Moscow, 2016 (in Russian).
2. Status of Small and Medium-Sized Reactor Designs. A
Supplement to the IAEA Advanced Reactor Information System
(ARIS). IAEA, 2012
3. Russia’s Nuclear Energy Strategy to 2050. NRC KI, Moscow, 2013
4. M.V. Kovalchuk. Arctic Vector of Russian Energy. Priroda, 2016
5. V.V. Petrunin et al.: Prospects for Small and Medium Nuclear
Power Plants: a New Development Area. In: Small Nuclear Power
Plants a New Development Area, IBRAE, Moscow, 2015
6. A.I. Alekseev et al.: Uniterm SMR: a Frontline Area of Nuclear
Power Development. In: Small Nuclear Power Plants a New
Development Area, IBRAE, Moscow, 2015 (in Russian).
7. E.P. Velikhov et al. Nuclear Energy for the Arctic Shelf. V Mire
Nauki, v.10, 2015 (in Russian).
8. V.S. Nikitin, V.S. Ustinov et al.: Nuclear Energy in the Arctic Region.
The Arctic: Ecology and Economy, v.4(20), 2015 (in Russian).
Andrej Yurjewitsch Gagarinskiy
National Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute”
Moscow, Russian Federatio
Energy Spotlight Policy, on Nuclear Economy Lawand Law
Russian U.S. Regulators Nuclear Reject Energy Proposal Technologies to Subsidize for the Nuclear Development and Coal of the Power Arctic Prices ı Andrej ı Andrej Yurjewitsch Gagarinskiy