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    Russia, China to start building floating nuclear plant

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    MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and China have signed an $86.5-million contract for the construction of the world's first floating nuclear power plant, Vladimir Uryvsky, deputy department head at the Federal Nuclear Energy Agency, told the newspaper Trud.

    China will build the body and Russia will be responsible for the power block. The plant will look like a ten-story 140m-long and 30m-wide floating building with the displacement of 21,000 tons.

    It is to be sited in Severodvinsk, in the Arkhangelsk region in Russia's European north, to supply electricity and heat to the Sevmash defense enterprise there. Its will have a 70-megawatt capacity and a maximum thermal capacity of 150 gigacalories per hour, enough for a city of 200,000. The construction is to begin next year and end in 2011.

    Uryvsky said the 6-billion ruble ($208.84 million) project would be recouped in 12 years with electricity returns of 46 billion rubles and thermal energy returns of 61 billion. Accrued profits are expected to top 65 billion rubles during the plant's exploitation.

    The plant will use the closed technological cycle and multiple hermetic protection. The energy block will have five independent safety barriers, more than those on a nuclear submarine or icebreaker. Even the first stationary nuclear power plants did not have such protection. The block could not even be depressurized if a plane crashed down on it, giving the design full safety guarantee, Uryvsky said.

    He said the design also includes anti-terrorist measures. Divers and submersible craft will be stopped a long distance from the power block.

    Such plans will be in demand in Siberia and the Far East, which are short of energy. The leaders of the nuclear energy sector and the administrations of the Chukotka autonomous area and the Kamchatka region have signed declarations of intentions on the construction of similar power plants. Canada, Indonesia, India and several other countries have expressed interest in the project.

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