Pairing its nuclear expertise with its energy sector portfolio, Russia is unveiling a floating nuclear reactor at its Murmansk port north of the Arctic Circle, a move "backers say is a leading-edge feat of engineering but that critics call reckless." Proponents of floating nuclear power plants "envision a future when nuclear power stations bob off the coasts of major cities around the world. ... [Russian] officials plan to tow the vessel to coastal cities in need of power, either for short-term boosts or longer-term additions to electricity supply. It can carry sufficient enriched uranium to power the two reactors for 12 years, before having to be towed, with its spent fuel, back to Russia, where the radioactive waste will be processed." Sudan is reportedly interested in becoming Russia's first foreign customer, which geography suggests may mean a floating nuclear reactor moored in the Red Sea in the next few years. Critics are concerned about Russia's spotty record on nuclear safety, among other things. China has plans to build 20 floating nuclear plants of its own.
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