Its purpose is to provide power for the area, replacing the Bilibino nuclear power plant on Chukotka that is being decommissioned. The Russian project is the first floating nuclear power plant since the U.S. MH-1A, a much smaller reactor that supplied the Panama Canal with power from 1968-1975.
Environmentalists have criticized the project as inherently dangerous and a threat to the pristine Arctic region. Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom has dismissed those concerns, insisting that the floating nuclear plant is safe to operate.
Rosatom director, Alexei Likhachev, said his corporation hopes to sell floating reactors to foreign markets. Russian officials have previously mentioned Indonesia and Sudan among potential export customers.