Jumping over Mamata’s nuclear hurdle

Meet the Academician Lomonosov

Swaminomics points out that the issue of land acquisition—epitomised by Mamata Banerjee—will prove to be the real hurdle in building nuclear power plants after the India-US nuclear deal (linkthanks BOK). Mr Aiyar is right—land acquisition is an important issue. (See the December 2007 and August 2008 issues of Pragati).

But who says nuclear reactors must be built on land? The Russians are building a floating nuclear power plant (FNPP), and the first, the Academician Lomonosov, is expected to be completed by 2010.

FNPP via RIA NovostiThe FNPP will be a barge able to move with the help of a tug boat. Transportation will be done without nuclear fuel, so on the move it will be non-threatening hardware.

The FNPP will look like a small island with an area of between 7.4 and 12.4 acres. It resembles a “symbiosis” of a nuclear-powered vessel and a standard land-based nuclear plant. It could well arouse amazement and fear, as radiophobia is widespread. Nevertheless, according to Sergei Kirienko, chief of Russia’s Federal Nuclear Power Agency, “the floating nuclear power plant with several levels of protection will be much safer than a land-based one.” [RIA Novosti | See the infographic]

7 thoughts on “Jumping over Mamata’s nuclear hurdle”

  1. That is innovative.

    But did the Russians do it to avoid similar troubles of land aquisition as India might face?

    If yes then there is a merit in the idea. Otherwise, why just Nuclear Power Plants, even Tatas can put a factory in International Waters on a giant Barge. Or create an island like the Kansai International Airport in Osaka.

    I was told by a friend in the US that some time back a company allegedly hired a ship and put a number of non US (mainly Indian) techies on the ship just off the US coast in the international waters till they got around the problem faced by them of getting requisite number of H1Bs from the US Government.

    Getting around Land Aquisition hassels may not be that difficult but would be terribly expensive and time consuming. Tatas are putting a plant in Singur because they are getting the land relatively cheap minus the expense of creating a Barge or a Kansai. So would be the case for the futuristic Nuclear Power Plants.

    I guess that is where your other posts on Property Rights sound much more relevant.

  2. Milind,

    I think the Russians did it in order to sell nuclear power reactors to a number of countries that have problems with their internal security. Putting a reactor offshore (perhaps protected by international/Russian personnel & equipment) is a way to sell reactors to places where it would be risky to do otherwise. Whether this is a sound idea is a different issue.

    Unlike ships in international waters (12 nautical miles from shore), I don’t think the intentions with FNPPs is to station them in international waters. I don’t think it is technically impossible, though.

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