Reorganisation to aid Russian nuclear

11 January 2007

Russia's variety of state-owned nuclear companies are being combined into a national giantcalled AtomEnergoProm. Officials hope the new set-up will be competitive and will aid build programmes.

Russia’s State Duma (parliament) passed the first reading in December of legislation to set up a vertically integrated state-owned holding company, AtomEnergoProm, to be responsible for the civil nuclear industry. The legislation could be in place in January 2007, according to the head of Russia’s federal atomic energy agency (Rosatom), Sergei Kirienko. Two more readings are required in the Duma and one reading by the Federation Council, the upper house, before the law is signed by the president. The bill is expected to go through all these stages in a matter of weeks.  

The restructuring and rationalisation of Russia’s nuclear industry is designed to support its ambitious nuclear build programme and to increase the competitiveness of Russian companies on the international market Kirienko said on 22 December that the changes were called for "called for to provide conditions for a massive development of nuclear power in the country as well as active participation of Russia’s nuclear power in the world’s developing markets."

In October, the Russian government approved a nuclear development programme for 2007-10. Russia intends to launch ten new nuclear power plants by 2015 with a total generating capacity of 11 GWe, pushing up the nuclear share of generation to 22-30% from the 15.5% currently produced by the country's 31 power reactors. Total funding for the development programme is 1,471 billion roubles ($55 billion), including 674.8 billion roubles ($26 billion) from the federal budget.

The programme envisages completing two VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors (Rostov 2 and Kalinin 4) by 2009 and 2011, and by 2012, finishing Beloyarsk 4 with its BN-800 fast reactor, which is seen as the lead unit for developing closed nuclear fuel cycle technology.

From 2007 to 2008, three new-series VVER-1000 reactors will begin construction at Novovoronezh phase two and Leningrad phase two. These should be brought into service in 2012-3. Kirienko said the agency had also decided to support completing the Kursk 5 unit, the only RBMK reactor still under construction, but a government decision was still needed.

Russia is also pushing ahead with the construction of floating nuclear power plants. REA plans to build a fleet of seven by 2015 in addition to one already under construction, REA deputy general director Sergey Krysov said in November. The plant comprises two 35 MWe KLT-40S reactor units, originally designed for icebreaker propulsion, placed on a purpose-built barge. Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom needs at least five mobile power plants to develop offshore oil and gas fields and for upstream operations on the Yamal and Kola peninsulas, Krysov said. Each floating power plant will save about 150 million cubic meters of gas a year, he said. Krysov said there was a lot of interest in floating reactors both in Russia and abroad, and REA was in negotiations with potential customers in Australia, Chile, China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Vietnam.

Further information

WNA's Nuclear Power in Russia information paper