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Russia Unveils World’s First Floating Nuclear Plant Before Journey To Siberia

The world's first floating nuclear power plant, Russia's Academy Lomonosov, travels on the way to Murmansk.

Russia has presented to the media the world's first floating nuclear power station in the port of the far northern city of Murmansk.

The Akademik Lomonosov was towed out of the St. Petersburg shipyard, where it was constructed, on April 28, arriving on May 17 in Murmansk, where its nuclear reactors will be fueled.

The fueling was originally scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg, but the work was switched to Murmansk because of safety concerns expressed by countries along the Baltic Sea.

The barge is scheduled in the summer of 2019 to be towed to the port of Pevek in the autonomous Chukotka region in Russia's far northeast, some 350 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle.

If all goes according to plan, the 21,000-ton plant will be put into service in 2019 in the Arctic off the coast of Chukotka, providing power for the port town and for oil rigs.

It will be capable of producing enough electricity to power a town of 200,000 residents, far more than Pevek’s population of 5,000.

The project has been criticized as risky by environmentalists. Greenpeace has dubbed it a "floating Chernobyl."

Analysts say the project is part of Russia’s greater aims to secure the rich deposits of oil and gas in the North Pole region. Due to climate change, new shipping routes are opening up in Russia's north. As a result, Moscow is strengthening its military position in the region.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, Interfax, and dpa