Regulating Floating Nuclear Power Plants

October 30, 2019
Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress

Nuclear power station surrounded by tug boats while being pulled by a larger ship

The first Russian floating nuclear power station, Source: WikiMedia Commons

The following is the abstract of a study published in the Moscow Journal of International Law by Mikhail N. Lysenko (Moscow State Institute of International Relations University, Veronika M. Bedenko (Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-proliferation), and Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress (James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies)

The article is devoted to practical and legal aspects of floating nuclear power plants (FNPPs). The first ever FNPP “Academic Lomonosov” was built in 2019 in Russia. It is a unique transportable nuclear low-power unit intended for energy and heat supply of remote port cities, industrial enterprises, gas and oil platforms. “Lomonosov” and its successor generations will have a major impact on the global nuclear energy market. The question arises how FNPPs fit into the rules of International Law.

The research was based on the analyses of international conventions on nuclear safety, security and civil liability, Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, International Atomic Energy Agency documents on safeguards and standards, scholarly publications. General and special methods of legal research were used.

The authors determined that in the specific case of “Academic Lomonosov,” which will operate on Russian territory, no collisions with the rules of international law are expected. However, if future serial FNPPs go for export, it will be important to analyze their compatibility with international treaties.

This paper concludes that FNPPs are largely compatible with the existing rules of international law. However, there are some gaps and grey areas, especially in an export scenario. To mitigate those problems, bilateral intergovernmental agreements between the supplying and the importing states shall be concluded on their obligations in all legal and institutional issues prior to FNPP’s international shipment. Safeguards arrangement with the IAEA should be envisaged as well.

The full text of the study can be found in Lysenko M., Bedenko V., Dalnoki-Veress F. Legal Regulations of Floating Nuclear Power Plants: Problems and Prospects. – Moscow Journal of International Law. 2019. No. 3. P. 59–67.

DOI: 10.24833/0869-0049-2019-3-59-67

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