(EnergyAsia, July 22, Wednesday) — Russia’s United Industrial Corporation (OPK) said it has started work at its St. Petersburg shipyards to build the world’s first nuclear power plant.

OPK, one of Russia’s largest diversified corporations managing more than 300 billion roubles worth of assets, said it signed a contract with state-owned nuclear power company Concern Energoatom PLC on February 27 to construct, launch, rebuild and test the plant.

OPK began constructing the floating power-generating unit on February 27, and expects to complete the project due in the second quarter of 2012. The installation of the head floating power-generating unit with a KLT-40C type reactor would mark the project’s completion.

To be located in Kamchatka in the port of Viluchinsk, the 10-billion-rouble plant is scheduled to begin operating in the fourth quarter of 2012. (US$1=31 rouble).

OPK said the floating nuclear power plant is economical and efficient to operate, producing electricity at the same cost as a hydro-power station. It can be sited in industrial and remote developing regions, thus offering the flexibility of power supply to end users.

OPK said Russia is the first country to build a floating nuclear power plant, which could just as easily be used in the US, China, India, Japan, France and Iran. According to the IAEA, world demand for atomic energy will soar by 66% by 2030.