Russian nuke desire soars at home, abroad

Russian nuke desire soars at home, abroad

MOSCOW - Reuters
Russian nuke desire soars at home, abroad

Russian Rosatom is now building 28 nuclear reactors in the world. REUTERS photo

Backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, state-run atomic energy company Rosatom is redoubling its efforts to sell to developing countries.

“We want to make profits out of nuclear energy. We want to power the world,” Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko, a reform-minded politician and Russia’s youngest-ever prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin, told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Forum late Monday.

Unlike Germany, where public disillusionment after Fukushima has ushered in plans to exit nuclear power,Russia is aggressively building reactors not only at home but leading the charge abroad.

In Russia there are nine reactors under construction, making it the world’s second busiest market behind China.

More nuclear power will allow Russia to export more of its oil and gas and government plans call for nuclear to account for 25 percent of the domestic energy market by 2030, up from 16 percent powered by 33 reactors currently.

Of the 68 nuclear reactors under construction worldwide, Rosatom is building 28 - the nine in Russia plus 19 abroad including a controversial first plant for Iran, information from the IAEA and Rosatom shows.

Twin reactors in Turkey

In comparison, French rival Areva has just four reactors under construction while Toshiba Corp unit Westinghouse - although involved in building in the United States, China and South Korea - has not completed a reactor since 1995.

It has won recent sales by offering full package deals to nuclear newcomers such as Belarus and Bangladesh, which have neither the money nor know-how to build a first reactor.

Twin reactors sold to Turkey will be the first to operate under this BOO model - although Ankara has awarded a $22-billion deal to a Japanese-French consortium to build its second nuclear power plant.
Rosatom estimates it will have orders for 80 reactors abroad by 2030, many under its BOO scheme.
Power generation is a lucrative business, but it is unclear how profitable Rosatom’s export arm is. Russia has earmarked 1.247 trillion roubles ($37.50 billion) in taxpayers’ money for Rosatom over the next eight years.

Rosatom says since Fukushima, nuclear firms have been forced to protect against even further risks. The reactors to be built in Turkey are designed to withstand the impact of an earthquake or a plane crashing into them.