Excerpt from WNE Tribune (29 June 2016), the daily newspaper of the World Nuclear Exhibition, an AIFEN event.
Alexander Merten, president of the Rosatom International Network, takes a wide-ranging look at the nuclear industry in Russia, highlighting recent triumphs and spotlighting the opportunities for further collaboration.
In the last few years, Rosatom has enjoyed a number of major breakthroughs.
In 2015, the new BN-800 fast neutron reactor (FNR) at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant (NPP) was connected to the grid. This is the most powerful fast reactor with sodium coolant.
FNR-based closed fuel cycle technology supports the global objective of creating a waste-free nuclear industry. It is an area in which Russia is world leader.
Earlier in 2015, the Mining and Chemical Combine, a Rosatom subsidiary, opened a new facility for the production of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, the first enterprise in the world to implement this on an industrial scale. Remarkably, BN-800 already operates with this MOX fuel.
With the launch of the BN-800 and MOXfuel production, Russia will be able to meet its obligations to convert 34 tonnes of weaponsgrade plutonium into peaceful nuclear fuel under the US-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement of 2000.
In March this year, the first criticality programme was started at Novovoronezh NPP Unit 6, the world’s first and most advanced Generation 3+ power unit, which we are presenting at WNE.
For us it marks the next stage in the evolution of water-water power reactors (VVERs). The design includes the most powerful type of VVER reactor with a capacity of 1,200 MW, as well as a high-speed turbine specially designed for new-generation nuclear power plants.
The main feature of the project is a combination of traditional active safety systems and additional passive systems, whose operation is based on natural processes, which greatly reduces the impact of human error on safety.
The design has passed more than 20 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) special assessments to be declared one of the safest units by IAEA experts. Today, power units with VVER-1200 reactors are at various stages of implementation at sites in Leningrad and Novovoronezh in Russia, as well as in Belarus, Turkey, Egypt, Finland, Hungary and Bangladesh.
We support the development of renewable power sources in Russia and abroad. This year, for example, we are going to grow our business in the wind energy sector.
We also support and develop non-energy nuclear projects. Our offer to the global market is tailor-made – that’s why we propose products and services that are specific to a country or region.
For example, Rosatom integrated its expertise in the application of radiation technologies in medicine, agriculture and other spheres into the innovative Nuclear Research and Technology Centre. Currently, we're creating such a centre in Bolivia, which is our largest project in Latin America. We have already signed an agreement with Nigeria for the construction of a similar centre.
Our strategic relations with the French nuclear industry were established decades ago. We work together with major French companies on such issues as uranium and fuel manufacturing and supply, equipment supply (including I&C and turbine), R&D on advanced reactors etc.
Our projects overseas take place in close cooperation with local suppliers, but also with our traditional international partners.
We look forward to enhancing this collaboration to guarantee the highest level of safety, general quality and, of course, improved competitiveness.
Rosatom – a nuclear powerhouse
Rosatom, Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, provides 39 per cent of the world’s uranium enrichment and is the global leader in this area. It supplies nuclear fuel to 78 units in 15 countries and holds 17 per cent of the world nuclear fuel market. It also supplies nuclear fuel for research reactors in nine countries. Every sixth reactor in the world runs on fuel made in Russia and Rosatom’s export contracts portfolio for the last 10 years exceeds uS $110 billion. There are 44 power units at the implementation stage now: eight in Russia and 36 elsewhere including those in Hungary, Finland, Jordan, India, China, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
Floating more great ideas
Rosatom continues to develop a nuclear-propelled fleet. Earlier this month, the Baltic plant in Saint Petersburg launched the pilot for the world’s largest nuclear icebreaker ‘Arktika’. The first series-made icebreaker is already on the slipway and, in September this year, the keel of a second similar vessel will be laid. The Baltic plant is also promising a one-of-a-kind project for the world nuclear industry – the first floating nuclear power plant named Akademik Lomonosov (pictured above). Construction started several years ago and, by December this year, Rosatom plans to load nuclear fuel and will be ready to transport the floating facility to its new location in 2017.