Russia's Rosatom signs $10 billion worth of deals at AtomExpo

01 June 2016

Rosatom estimates that the "economic potential" of agreements and memoranda signed at AtomExpo 2016 is as much as $10 billion. Its director general, Sergey Kirienko, said yesterday that about 30 documents had been signed during the three-day annual conference and exhibition the Russian state nuclear corporation is hosting in Moscow this week.  

Among countries inking the latest agreements with Russia's nuclear industry are Bolivia, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia, he said. Of negotiations held by Rosatom subsidiaries, he highlighted those between Tenex, the uranium products and enrichment services provider, with energy companies from Europe and South America.

The raft of agreements signed by Rosatom and its subsidiaries at the Moscow conference cover fuel, finance, research, human resources and international cooperation in the development of nuclear power.

In addition to those agreements, delegates at the event also witnessed the signing of practical arrangements on cooperation between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Regional Network for Education in Nuclear Technology, or STAR-NET.

According to the IAEA's website, the STAR-NET initiative "seals collaboration" between educational institutions and nuclear industry-oriented training centres in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. It adds that the STAR-NET network involves interested stakeholders of non-profit, non-governmental and non-political organizations to facilitate education, professional training and promote knowledge-sharing within the nuclear sector.

The latest document was signed by Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA deputy general director and the head of the Vienna-based agency's nuclear energy department, and Mikhail Strikhanov, president of STAR-NET.

Rosatom said the signing marked "one more step towards cooperation between universities and the development of nuclear education in the post-Soviet space." Currently, STAR-NET brings together 13 universities with nuclear physics programs from the six countries.


Kirienko and the permanent secretary of the Zambian Cabinet Margaret Miyoba signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which the Rosatom head said provides a framework for opportunities to construct nuclear power facilities. The first joint projects will be establishment of a nuclear technologies centre and the training of Zambian nuclear power specialists in Russia, he added.

Rosatom deputy director general Nikolay Spassky and Kenya's Chargé d'Affaires in Russia, Hillary N Kyengo, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) covering a wide range of areas, including: assistance in the development of a nuclear energy infrastructure in Kenya; basic and applied research; design, construction and operation of nuclear power and research reactors; production and use of radioisotopes in industry, medicine and agriculture; radioactive waste management; education and training of specialists in the field of nuclear physics and nuclear energy. The two countries will also continue talks, Rosatom said, on the practical implementation of construction of the first nuclear power plant in Kenya. They also agreed to work towards the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Rosatom and another Russian state corporation, the Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs, or Vnesheconombank, have agreed to develop their cooperation to support Rosatom's investments in projects overseas. The bank is "ready to make every effort" to assist Rosatom as a "strategic partner", Vnesheconombank chairman Sergey Gorkov said. Kirienko noted the two corporations had worked together for more than a year and the agreement reflected the bank's "new strategic priorities". He added: "I am confident that implementation of projects in the framework of the signed agreement will help to address the global challenges of the nuclear industry and increase the energy security of the Russian Federation." The agreement will "contribute to the growth of the Russian economy and the expansion of Russia's presence in the global nuclear energy market," Rosatom said.

Rosatom and French energy company Engie signed an MoU to strengthen their cooperation in the maintenance and upgrading work of nuclear power reactors of both Russian and non-Russian design. The document, signed by Rosatom first deputy director general Kirill Komarov and Engie executive vice-president Didier Holleaux, also sharpens the two companies' focus on cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants outside Russia, as well as in joint activities in the development of national infrastructure in third countries in which they each have activities. They are also considering working together, for example, in the supply of equipment for nuclear and thermal power plants; electricity distribution; products and nuclear fuel cycle services; the final stage of the nuclear fuel cycle; nuclear research facilities, in particular within the framework of the international project ITER.

Komarov also signed an MoU with the CEO of Schneider Electric's operations in Russia and the CIS countries, Jean-Louis Stasi. The French multinational corporation specializes in electricity distribution and automation management. The MoU defines the use of Schneider Electric's electrical equipment and SCADA systems in Rosatom's nuclear power plant construction projects in third countries.  

Rusatom International Network

Rusatom International Network and the National Nuclear Centre of the Republic of Kazakhstan have signed an MoU on strategic cooperation. The document was signed by the Rosatom subsidiary's president, Alexander Merten, and the CEO of the Kazakh centre, Erlan Batyrbekov. The two sides plan to cooperate and exchange experience in the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including the development of human resources, implementation of joint educational programs, scientific and technical research and development, as well as environmental programs.

Merten also signed an MoU with Stefan Obarber, CEO of French engineering group Assystem, on cooperation in engineering and certification in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and other countries. The agreement also notes their interest in joint participation in the construction and commissioning of new nuclear reactors in third countries, and the supply of Russian equipment for thermal power projects in which Assystem acts as an engineering, procurement, and construction contractor or as an engineering, procurement, and construction management contractor. They will also look into cooperation in projects for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities and the management of radioactive waste. The MoU will improve Rosatom's engineering expertise and expand Assystem's geographical reach, the Russian corporation said.

Merten and Thomas Thor Associates' business manager for continental Europe, Jacob van de Haar, signed an MoU according to which the Dutch recruitment company and consultancy will assist Rosatom enterprises abroad in the recruitment and training of personnel, as well as in the development of national nuclear infrastructure in third countries through the organization of training programs and further education.

An MoU signed by Merten and Joseph Moser, senior partner of the Austrian company Moser Architekten Ziviltechniker, will see the two companies cooperate in the design, construction and project management of centres for nuclear medicine and radiology. It also covers regulation of nuclear and radiation safety, including the assessment of radiation exposure of nuclear energy on the environment.

Xabier Ruiz Morin, director of nuclear services at Spanish engineering company IDOM Ingeniería y Consultoría SAU Csaba, inked an MoU together with Merten on cooperation in the maintenance and modernization of nuclear power plants with reactors of both Russian and non-Russian design. The agreement is also aimed at Rosatom's supply of manufacturing equipment for nuclear and thermal power plants, and at design and engineering projects for the construction, maintenance and modernization of nuclear power plants around the world. In addition, the parties have agreed to work together in the maintenance and construction of nuclear research installations, as well as in the final stages of the nuclear fuel cycle and decommissioning.

Rusatom Service

Rusatom Service, the Rosatom subsidiary that "provides customised solutions for the modernization and operating period extension of VVER-based nuclear power plants", has signed an MoU with the Czech Republic's Skoda JS on expanding their joint work in the nuclear sector. This includes their intention to cooperate in the project to complete the third and fourth units of the Mochovce nuclear power plant in Slovakia. Rusatom Service is to provide technical support for installation of primary circuit equipment, as well as for work on commissioning the two units, Rosatom said. The two companies also plan to explore possible cooperation in maintenance, repair, operations support and the supply of equipment and spare parts for nuclear power plants around the world, it added. The MoU was signed on 30 May by Rusatom Service general director Evgeny Sal'kov and Skoda JS chairman and CEO Joseph Perlik. 

Rusatom Service also signed an MoU with Slovak nuclear power plant research institute VUJE "to explore the possibilities of business cooperation in the field of maintenance and repair, operation support, training, supply of equipment and spare parts for nuclear power plants, as well as in extending the life of the project and the modernization of nuclear power plants around the world", Rosatom said. The document was signed by Rusatom Service's Sal'kov and the chairman of VUJE, Zoltán Harsányi.


According to Nuclear.Ru, Oleg Grigoriev, vice president for commerce and international cooperation at Rosatom's nuclear fuel manufacturer, TVEL, told the AtomExpo conference he expects the first TVS-Kvadrat test assembly will be loaded into a reactor in the USA in 2018, with full-scale manufacturing to follow in 2020. Grigoriev was referring to an agreement announced on 24 May between TVEL and Global Nuclear Fuel Americas (GNF-A) to work together to introduce Russian-designed pressurized water reactor fuel into the USA. 

They plan to introduce lead use assemblies (LUAs) of TVEL's TVS-K fuel design in the USA and to seek licensing approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to supply the fuel in reload quantities. TVS-K is a 17x17-lattice PWR nuclear fuel assembly developed by TVEL for use in Westinghouse-designed 3- and 4-loop PWRs, drawing on TVEL's experience in the development, manufacture and operation of nuclear fuel for Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactors. GNF, a GE-led joint venture with Hitachi and Toshiba Corporation, operates primarily through GNF-A in Wilmington and Global Nuclear Fuel-Japan Co in Kurihama, Japan.

Grigoriev reportedly told Atomexpo delegates that TVS-K's share of the commercial market "will be exactly 10% more than the current volume of this fuel in the American market of this type of fuel".

During the conference, TVEL signed a 'road map' on bilateral cooperation in the nuclear fuel cycle with Indonesia's National Atomic Energy Agency (BATAN). The document is aimed at implementing an MoU the two sides signed in December last year in Jakarta. Areas of cooperation may include TVEL's supply of nuclear fuel for a research reactor in Indonesia.

It also signed a contract with Poland's National Centre for Nuclear Research to supply fuel targets for the Maria research reactor. It was signed by TVEL's Grigoriev and the director of the Polish centre, Krzysztof Kurek. Kurek noted that TVEL had won the contracts in an open tender, following a seven-year break from the Polish market. He added that the agreement was "the second in a row" and reflected the "extremely favourable" bids TVEL had made "in terms of quality and market price". Kurek was referring to the contract signed last year for TVEL to supply low-enriched uranium to the Maria research reactor.

Meanwhile TVEL subsidiary Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) has announced its production of the first fuel rods for REMIX (from Regenerated Mixture) fuel. Rosatom said in a statement that this task had been assigned to SCC as it "has the required competencies to work not only with uranium, but also with plutonium". Evgeny Lachkanov, SCC head of project for the creation of experimental and industrial pilot production of dense fuel, said REMIX technology will enable Russia to achieve a closed nuclear fuel cycle and minimise the volume of radioactive waste it produces.

For several years the Khlopin Institute in Russia has been developing for Tenex a new fuel recycling model. REMIX fuel is produced directly from a non-separated mix of recycled uranium and plutonium from reprocessing used fuel, with a low-enriched uranium (LEU, up to 17% U-235) make-up comprising about 20% of the mix. This gives fuel initially with about 1% Pu-239 and 4% U-235 which can sustain burn-up of 50 GWd/t over four years. The used REMIX fuel is then reprocessed and recycled again, after low-enriched uranium top up. The wastes (fission products and minor actinides) are vitrified, as today from reprocessing for MOX, and stored for geological disposal. REMIX-fuel can be repeatedly recycled with 100% core load in current VVER-1000 reactors, and correspondingly reprocessed many times - up to five times according to Tenex, so that with less than three fuel loads in circulation a reactor could run for 60 years using the same fuel, with LEU recharge and waste removal on each cycle.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News