Russia has launched a floating nuclear reactor. This comes only weeks after a meltdown at one of its nuclear test sites.
Here's what we know
The Akademik Lomonosov vessel launched Friday from the Arctic sea port of Murkansk in western Russia. From there, it will sail along Russia's northern coast until it reaches Pevek in the east. This roughly 3,000-mile route is not heavily populated.
According to Agence France-Presse, this reactor will replace a nuclear power plant already in Pevek. It will also bring power to the Chaun-Bilibin mining complex and offshore oil rigs. Russia's nuclear agency, Rosatom said that the barge would be used to supply power to these remote regions.
According to the Russian news program "Vesti," the reactors on board are powerful enough to provide light and heat for 100,000 people. The BBC reported that one of the Akademik Lomonosov's planned uses is to deliver power to Russian oil rigs.
Rosatom hopes that it can use more barges in the future to become the first company to commercially supply floating nuclear power, according to Bloomberg News. This is Rosatom's first floating nuclear power reactor.
In addition to providing power, these floating power plants could also be used to turn sea water into fresh water. Rosatom is already working on an improved newer version of this plant.
Earlier this month, Russia admitted that five atomic scientists had been killed in a nuclear accident at one of its military facilities. In addition to the deaths, the incident caused a spike in radiation levels, although the Russian government has been quiet about how bad the disaster actually was.