Plans to co-locate power and smelting plants

10 April 2007

A new company could be set up to build and operate a combined nuclear power and aluminium smelting facility in Russia's far east, according to Rusal and Rosatom.

Rosatom (Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency) and United Company Rusal, the world's largest aluminium and aluminium oxide producer, made joint statements on 9 April explaining that they will undertake a feasibility study on an "energy metallurgical company comprising a nuclear power plant and an aluminium plant."

A working group is currently preparing a feasibility report which will specify the parameters of the nuclear power plant and the aluminium plant. Once that report is complete, at the end of the year, Rusal and Rosatom would prepare a schedule for the project which would be financed as a public-private partnership.

Currently visiting Japan, Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko, said: "Given the fact that the compound will be built in the vicinity of Japan, I deem is right and realistic to consider cooperation prospects and to engage Japanese companies - and possibly Chinese and South Korean ones as well - in supplying equipment for the plant and in designing it jointly."

At a later press conference Kiriyenko said that the plant could produce 600,000 tonnes of aluminium each year and the adjacent nuclear plant would include at least two reactor units. Rusal chief executive Alexander Bulygin said the project could cost $2-5 billion.

Aluminium smelting employs large scale electrolysis that demands large continuous supplies of electric power which account for up to 40% of the eventual product cost.
It is likely that a large nuclear plant would supply the majority of its electricity directly to the neighbouring aluminium plant, selling any excess over the grid.

The announcement came with the signing of a memorandum between the two on implementation of long-term join investment projects, described as a "logical continuation" of the cooperation they started in August 2006.

Rusal was formed in March 2007 from the pre-existing Rusal along with SUAL and the aluminium oxide assets of a third company called Glencore. It now holds 12.5% of the world aluminium and 16% of aluminium oxide markets.

The company already operates very many aluminium plants, including one at Krasnoyarsk, in the far east of Russia. Rusal CEO Alexander Bulygin said: "We consider cooperation with Rosatom to be one of the key areas of our growth as an energy and metals corporation. Our participation in the development of the Russian nuclear industry will not only foster the implementation of Russia's energy security strategy but will also enable us to expand and diversify the company's energy base through state-of-the-art technology."

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