Enel becomes the latest Russian associate

15 March 2007

A memorandum of understanding has been signed by Enel of Italy and Russia's Rosatom to cooperate on new nuclear power plants. Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko signed a deal on 14 March, the latest in a line of such agreements.

Enel is Italy's largest utility, which although unable to employ nuclear energy at home under Italy's nuclear phase-out laws, has recently been active in finding European partners for nuclear projects. It is involved in the completion of units 3 and 4 of the
Mochovce plant in Slovakia and may participate in new nuclear plants in France.

The memorandum of understanding between Rosatom (Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency) and Enel would see the two cooperate on nuclear power projects in third countries, thought to be most likely in central and Eastern Europe. Cooperation on manufacturing components for nuclear plants and on joint control of power grids was also mentioned.

Rosatom told Nuclear.Ru that it would like any cooperation to involve other Russian firms: plant constructor AtomStroyExport (ASE); plant operator Rosenergoatom; uranium producer Tekhsnabexport (Tenex); and nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL. Ultimately, Russian officials will combine those companies into a full-scope nuclear giant, Atomprom.

The agreement with Enel is the most recent success for Russian officials who have been conducting an exhaustive world tour.

Earlier this month, executives from ASE flew to Morocco to discuss the possibility of building nuclear plants at the Sidi Boulbra site. Moroccan officials are currently working on a feasibility study.

At a recent meeting in Chile, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Kislyak said his country was ready to cooperate with Chile on nuclear projects, confirming that Russia was taking an increasing interest in South America.

In February, a high-level delegation toured Africa, making agreements to enter joint-venture projects to mine uranium in Namibia and discussing the possibility of nuclear power in the country too. Kiriyenko said Russia would be ready to build a floating nuclear power plant for Namibia.

In South Africa an agreement was made for cooperation through the nuclear fuel cycle up to power generation. Tenex and another Russian firm, Renova, signed an agreement with Harmony Gold to cooperate in uranium mining and Tenex lobbied to extend its contract to supply South Afica's enriched uranium. Another agreement between Tenex and Renova concerned uranium mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Meanwhile, ASE continues the construction of nuclear power plants in China (at Tianwan), India (Kudankulam), Iran (Bushehr), and is preparing to start work in Bulgaria (Belene).

Further information


Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom)

WNN: Reorganisation to aid Russian nuclear