Commissioning of the first land-based small plant is planned for 2028.
Rosenergoatom (electric power division of ROSATOM) has officially become the operating organization of a small (SNPP) in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Alexey Likhachev, Director General of ROSATOM, signed a relevant order.
The SNPP design is based on the latest Russian development – the RITM-200N water cooled water moderated nuclear reactor which is the result of the innovative ship-based technology adaptation for land-based location. Reactors of the RITM-200 series were successfully tested on the newest Russian ice breakers under the severe Arctic conditions.
As compared with traditional power plants, Yakut SNPP will be much more compact, thus enabling to reduce its construction time. At present, preparatory work near the settlement of Ust-Kuyga is proceeding at full tilt: the building of the first construction camp (temporary construction camp No.1) for 250 persons has been completed; the first stage construction of the second camp for 683 persons has commenced and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2024. Construction of motor road No. 1 with the length of 12 km connecting Ust-Kuyga and the SNPP site has commenced. Extraction of local materials (macrofragmental soil and rubble in Pridorozhny open quarry) has been started.
Besides, erection of several production and technical infrastructure and construction base facilities, arrangement of grading and levelling at the SNPP construction site, commencement of the construction and installation within the principal SNPP construction period are also planned for the current year. 9.5 thous. tons of cargoes are planned to be delivered for the scheduled works within the period of the temporary winter road operation. At present, the Russian Arctic zone, the development of which is declared as a strategic national priority, is one of the regions with electric power shortage, where development is impossible without local power generation. At the same time, construction of large power plants is not feasible here from the economic point of view. That is why Rosatom once made the decision on replication of small-scale generation projects in these regions.
The floating NPP operated in Pevek has been already solving the tasks associated not only with replacement of Bilibino NPP capacity, but also with implementation of the Baimskaya ore zone projects.
The first land-based SNPP will be constructed in the settlement of Ust-Kuyga in Yakutia. Rosatom and the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) concluded a relevant agreement as far back as 2019. Thanks to the SNPP project, remote Northern territories of Yakutia will receive a reliable and high-quality source of power supply for development of the Kyuchus gold deposit and other mineral deposits. Obtaining of a Rostechnadzor license in April 2023 became the next important step in implementation of this project. And in October, public hearing of the materials for substantiation of a license for the activities in the area of atomic energy use – construction of a nuclear installation "Yakut Small Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 (Ust-Kuyga, Ust-Yansk district)," including the preliminary environmental impact assessment materials, were successfully held in Ust-Kuyga.
The nuclear power plant in Yakutia based on the RITM-200N reactor plant with the capacity of 55 MW is the flagship project of Rosatom in the land-based SNPP segment. RosEnergoAtom acts as the technical customer and the operating organization, Rusatom Overseas JSC – as the developer, OKBM Afrikantov JSC, State Specialized Design Institute (GSPI JSC), and other organizations are co-contractors. Yakut SNPP will become one of the firstborns in the Russian small-scale power engineering, but the plans of Rosatom also include other low-capacity projects. Rosatom estimates the global market for SNPPs with the capacity of 50-300 MW to be 10 GW, and for plants with the capacity of up to 10 MW – 6 GW. It means that one can speak about hundreds of small power units. Rosatom is planning to occupy up to 20% of this market by 2030.
The modern SNPP designs with reactors of the RITM series have a high safety level achieved due to multi-level systems and containment barriers as well as combination of active and passive safety systems. The above-mentioned systems prevent any possibility of accidents, and several levels of barriers included into the plant design rule out any radioactive substance release into the environment. SNPPs ensure energy self-sufficiency of a region, stable power and heat supply with the use of clean energy, particularly for power-consuming industries, reduce releases of hazardous substances into the atmosphere due to replacement of existing generation sources, including diesel ones.