The Russian government is planning to move the reactor, real name Academic Lomonosov, via the Northern Sea to bring electric power to a mineral-rich Chukotka region.
It will supply electricity to settlements and companies extracting hydrocarbons and precious stones, floating next to a small Arctic port town of Pevek.
The idea of a nuclear reactor drifting out in the Arctic Sea has been criticised by environmental campaigners, according to CNN.
The Lomonosov platform has been dubbed “Chernobyl on Ice” and “floating Chernobyl”, drawing comparisons to the nuclear reactor that caused disaster when it exploded in the 1986.
Last year, Greenpeace said: “Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean will pose a shockingly obvious threat to a fragile environment which is already under enormous pressure from climate change”.
Rosatom, the state company in charge of Russia’s nuclear projects, has been fighting comparisons, saying such criticism is “ill founded”.
“Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean will pose a shockingly obvious threat”
Vladimir Iriminku, Lomonosov’s chief engineer for environmental protection, told CNN: “It’s totally not justified to compare these two projects. These are baseless claims, just the way the reactors themselves operate work is different.
“Of course, what happened in Chernobyl cannot happen again…. And as it’s going to be stationed in the Arctic waters, it will be cooling down constantly, and there is no lack of cold water.”
The explosion at Chernobyl directly caused around 31 deaths, but millions of people were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.
The final death toll as a result of long-term exposure is not known, although the UN predicted up to 9,000 related cancer deaths back in 2005.
Greenpeace later estimated up to 200,000 fatalities, taking further health problems connected to the disaster into account.
The reactor has been thrust back into the spotlight following the popular HBO drama series of the same name.
Some Russian officials have also questioned the floating reactor complex’s price tag of an estimated $450 million, saying it would need to enter serial production to be economically viable.
The 144-metre long and 30-metre Akademik Lomonosov will be the first of its kind to start work anywhere in the world.