Mikhail Kovalchuk: Russia has the nuclear energy technology to develop the Arctic
Russia has the nuclear energy technology required to develop the Arctic and to ensure Russia's leadership in the region, according to Mikhail Kovalchuk, President of the Kurchatov Research Institute.
Speaking at the Nuclear Icebreaker Fleet and Arctic Exploration conference at the Kurchatov Institute, Kovalchuk noted that low-power nuclear energy generators are best suited for use in the Arctic due to the Arctic's low population density, lack of transport infrastructure and relatively low energy consumption at individual facilities. He reiterated that the use of traditional energy-saving methods creates the serious risk of environmental pollution in the Arctic. Therefore, nuclear technology should be used for reliable, efficient and environmentally safe energy generation in the Arctic.
"These low-power nuclear plants are based on direct energy conversion, that is heat into electricity, as well as the shipbuilding technology that we have mastered — they are our advantage with absolutely no competition," Kovalchuk said as quoted by RIA Novosti.
As an example, Kovalchuk referred to an earlier project developed at the Kurchatov Institute of an unattended self-regulating low-power nuclear thermoelectric station. It is also possible to develop underwater robot-based facilities for the Arctic that are also powered by direct conversion of heat from nuclear sources.
Another alternative for supplying energy to the Arctic will be a floating nuclear thermal power plant which is currently under construction and will become operational in Chukotka in late 2019, Kovalchuk said.