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Russia’s Rosatom is the world leader in international construction of nuclear power plants

In spite of western sanctions, Russia’s Rosatom is the world’s number two in uranium reserves and has become number one globally in the implementation of nuclear reactor projects. Currently, Rosatom is working on six reactor projects in Russia and 36 abroad. Rosatom has acquired 67 per cent of the world nuclear plant construction market, the orders portfolio exceeding $133 billion. Rosatom is working on nuclear plants in Turkey, China and Bangladesh, to name just a few of the countries, where the Russian corporation is present. Rosatom is highly respected as the global technological leader in high-performance clean energy solutions and was also recently named best Russian employer for the year of 2018 by an international headhunter firm. On the 15th and 16th of April 2019, the eleventh ATOMEXPO FORUM was held in Sochi, Russia, upon invitation by Rosatom.

The Russian State Corporation Rosatom (Росатом), established in 2007, has its headquarters in Moscow. The organization comprises more than 360 enterprises, including scientific research organizations and the world’s only nuclear icebreaker fleet. Since 2016, its General Director is Alexey Likhachev.

Rosatom was ranked number one as best employer of Russia in 2018 by HeadHunter, a top HR management platform and resource centre. In a vote, the company achieved the highest score by employees, candidates and experts out of over 1.000 big Russian companies. Commenting on the accolade, Tatyana Terentyeva, HR Director of Rosatom, said:

“We’re immensely proud of this achievement which is a testament to our strong company culture of always putting our people first. The growth of regional and international projects has given employees and applicants a chance of working in multicultural, cross-divisional and cross-functional project teams. Digitalisation, alone, will open vacancies for 1.000 new specialists this year, from software developers to product and data scientists.”

“We believe that the responsibility lies with human capital stakeholders, such as large multinationals, universities and governments to begin discussing the policy response in earnest. We hope that the gathering of these parties at the global Skills Summit, taking place alongside the WorldSkills 2019 Conference in Kazan this August, to address the global skills gap which affects everyone, will be an important starting point from which companies and governments can work together to help solve this issue”, she further commented (CISTON PR NEWSWIRE, 28.03.2019).

Rosatom is currently constructing the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey. Laying the foundation has already been completed. The 17.000 cubic metres of self-compacting concrete foundations are due to be followed by the construction of the exterior and interior walls of the reactor. Construction of the concrete bases for the auxiliary reactors and control room have also begun. The work meets International Atomic Energy Agency safety standards.

Rosatom said that the entire first reactor would be finished by the end of the year 2019, with engineering studies for the second reactor already in progress and documentation being prepared to construct the third reactor in Turkey’s Mediterranean province of Mersin. The Russian nuclear utility is due to build four reactors, each with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts. The plant is anticipated to have a working life of 8.000 hours per year and produce 35 billion kilowatts of electricity at full capacity. That will meet 10 per cent of Turkey’s electrical demands, according to the Turkish authorities. Akkuyu has an operational date for the first reactor in 2023 with full capacity targeted by 2025 (ENERGY REPORTERS, 15.03.2019).

In China, Rosatom built the Tianwan nuclear power plant, Phase I, Phase II and Phase III. Now, the Russians will construct Tianwan Phase IV. The general contract was signed in March this year for the construction of two further Russian-supplied reactors at the Tianwan nuclear power plant in China’s Jiangsu province. In addition, a technical design contract was signed for a second pair of reactors at the Xudabao site in Liaoning province.

Rosatom said that the contracts had been prepared in accordance with the strategic package of agreements signed during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to China, in June 2018. This package defines cooperation between Russia and China in the nuclear industry for the coming decades.

Tianwan Phase I – units 1 and 2 – was constructed under a 1992 cooperation agreement between China and Russia. The first concrete was poured in October 1999. The units were commissioned in June 2007 and September 2007, respectively. Tianwan Phase II – units 3 and 4 – was constructed from December 2012 until December 2018. Unit 3 entered commercial operation in February 2018, with unit 4 following in December 2018. Tiawan Phase III – units 5 and 6 – both featuring Chinese-designed 1080 MWe ACPR1000 reactors, were begun in December 2015. Units 5 and 6 are planned to go into commercial operation by the end of 2021 (WORLD NUCLEAR NEWS, 12.03.2019).

Another Rosatom construction site is located in Bangladesh. Both Dhaka and Moscow expressed their satisfaction over the progress of construction work of the Rooppur nuclear power plant. It is being implemented under an intergovernmental agreement, signed between Russia and Bangladesh in November 2011. In December 2015, Atomstroyexport, Rosatom’s subsidiary, was appointed as general contractor for the construction of the Rooppur plant with two VVER 1200 power units, each with a capacity of 1.200 megawatts. In 2015 and 2016, preparatory work was carried out at the construction site, working documentation was developed and licencing documents were prepared.

In 2017, the regulatory authority of Bangladesh (BAERA) issued the required licence for the design and construction of the plant. In July 2018, unit 2 also went into the active phase of construction, following the “first concrete”. In August 2018, the installation of the “core catcher”, one of the most important passive safety systems, began at unit 1. The installation of the “core catcher” for unit 2 began in February 2019. Currently, construction of the main buildings of both power units is underway (DHAKA TRIBUNE, 10.03.2019)

Rosatom has further ambitious plans for NPP construction worldwide. Building a network of nuclear reactors across the world will help to extend Moscow’s influence into global energy markets, as it offers competitive deals and comprehensive service, including the provision of plutonium. Kirill Komarov, deputy CEO of Rosatom, told the media:

“We are the ultimate leader in the majority of nuclear sectors. Most of our projects are in the developing world. These are the countries which show the strongest economic growth. China, India, Southeast Asia, countries in the Middle East region. We see countries on the African continent and in Latin America.”

Kirill Komarov explained that “Rosatom is offering solutions for developing countries to enable them negotiating the regulatory challenges involved with going nuclear. Rosatom is a unique company in that we have activities in all areas of the nuclear business; starting with mining of natural uranium, enrichment fuel fabrication, developing our own nuclear equipment, construction of nuclear power plants, decommissioning, waste management … everything” (ENERGY REPORTERS, 05.10.2018).

General Director of Rosatom is Alexey Likhachev. He assumed office in October 2016. Alexey Likhachev graduated from Gorky State University and started his career as an engineer in the Gorky Research Institute of Instrumentation. In 1998, he graduated from the Economic Faculty of Nizhniy Novgorod State University with a Ph.D. in economics.

In 2007, Alexey Likhachev joined the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, where he held a wide variety of leadership positions. Throughout his career, he held senior positions in other governmental bodies and public organizations as well. He was a member of the State Duma, serving as Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Economic Policy, Entrepreneurship and Tourism, from 2000 to 2007.

According to Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom plans to retain its leading role in nuclear power plant construction worldwide, during the decade of 2020 to 2030. The Russian corporation aims to maintain a portfolio of foreign orders in the amount of at least $130 billion per year.

“Several years ago, we assumed the leading role on the global nuclear power plant construction market,” Alexey Likhachev said. “The market is moving, so our share on the market fluctuates between 68 and 72 per cent. I think we will be able to maintain it above 60 per cent at least, this is how we see our goals for the coming decade” (TASS, 13.01.2019).

Since the beginning of the 21st century, with President Vladimir Putin coming into power, the Russian Federation has moved upwards, building a vast nuclear empire spanning South and North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Rosatom is the government corporation behind this enormous expansion, exporting nuclear technology all over the world, thus becoming the world’s leading nuclear powerhouse.

The International Atomic Energy Agency predicts that nuclear power will continue to grow in the next 15 years. The agency’s latest report puts the low margin of growth at 17 per cent and the high at 94 per cent. The Russian Federation is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this projected growth – it has a rich legacy of research and engineering in the field, as well as a history of cooperation with countries on all continents.

The Russian Federation is ensuring its steady presence on almost every single continent through the export of nuclear power projects, expanding its sphere of influence beyond traditional military and hydrocarbon means. Building nuclear power plants is a geopolitical tool, allowing Russia to tie up strategic foreign governments into long-term cooperation. In this way, Russia is demonstrating its prowess by building nuclear rectors across the world (GEOPOLITICAL MONITOR, 17.05.2016).

With these projects, the Russian Federation is gaining a strong foothold on the ground because nuclear power plants require transfer of technological know-how and long-term engagement of scientists, engineers, diplomats. The plants are, in essence, embassies and commerce chambers, which guarantee Russian access to local governments and politicians. Besides, the Russian Federation is opening its universities for students from future nuclear clients and building networks of cadres across the world.

One of the possiblities for Rosatom to reach foreign government agencies and business people is the international ATOMEXPO Forum, a major event in the global nuclear industry. Upon invitation from Rosatom, the 11th forum took place in Sochi, on the 15th and 16th of April 2019. The forum included an exhibition and a convention with an extensive business programme, centred around a plenary discussion. The forum provided a good opportunity for networking and signing partnership agreements. The forum also offered an entertaining cultural programme with possibilities to visit the beautiful Russian seaside resort of Sochi on the Black Sea and the nearby Caucasus mountains.

Seen in this light, Rosatom functions not only as a powerhouse exporting nuclear power plants but also as a corporation of diplomatic and geopolitical importance for Russia.


Olivia Kroth: The journalist and author of four books lives in Moscow.

Her blog: https://olivia2010kroth.wordpress.com

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Olivia KrothPierre VaillantVethYou can call me ALOrinoco Tarbaby Recent comment authors
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You can call me AL
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You can call me AL

Very Impressive.

As a side issue, did you know that Britain’s nuclear industry was on par with the US and the USSR and for a reason, I still cannot find or fathom; we literally gave it all away. If anyone can assist on this topic, I would be appreciative.

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

The same thing happened to the British aerospace industry after 1945. For details see “Empire of the Clouds” – an excellent book, but it will make you weep if you are British. It explains how government after government commissioned world-leading projects, only to cancel them as soon as they had shown their soundness and were ready to be put to good use. In every case orders were to disperse the teams, destroy the tools and plant, and sometimes even to destroy the documents. Always, full details were given – free, gratis and for nothing – to the USA. Consider also… Read more »

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

I am British, I wept when Nimrod II was cancelled for US crap, the day Concord was pulled because of lack of maintenance from a US airline and subsequent damage caused, then the US purchase of all our Harriers for a pittance; I weep softly listening and watching the Yankers spout aggressive BS out everyday and the UK echos it and turn on the speakers… the trident missiles, the F-35s flying coffins and now I shall weep the satellites and the loss of encryption and automated decryption. I weep because I am British and not back in my school days… Read more »

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

PS you bugger, I am totally cheesed off now. LOL.

Free Range American
Guest
Free Range American

What is it with this ‘cheese off’ briticism? To this dumb Yank it sounds like you were so annoyed that you blew a cheesy-smelling fart in the direction of some one or thing you didn’t like.

Not only that but buggers are nose-born things. Quite the insult in preschool circles nationwide. 😉

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Don’t cry, Free Range American. You make excellent cheese burgers in the USA, let the British have their wonderful Cheddar cheese. To each his own …

Olivia Kroth
Guest

I can understand your frustration, Tom Welsh.
“Always, full details were given – free, gratis and for nothing – to the USA.”
Yes, the British should become more independent from the USA. The UK and USA are not Siamese twins, after all.

Free Range American
Guest
Free Range American

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. We’ll chew you up and spit you out at the first whisper of dissent. Best to always follow three steps behind, so there’ll be no missteps.

Better believe it. It’s in our genes.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

“Wham, bam”? Is that Chinese? It is certainly not Russian, I understand Russian.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

Wasn’t Calder Hall the world’s first working nuclear power station?

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

No, those peski Ruskies – On June 26, 1954, at Obninsk, Russia.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Ah haha haha! Those “pesky Ruskies” might not know how to use the nerve poison “Novichok” correctly but they surely know how to build super nuclear power reactors.

NoviDuck
Guest
NoviDuck

I never did understand that. Could the ducks have been the carriers and spit novichok at them on command? Shouldn’t someone be visiting Russian duck training centers on the sly, with a bodycam to catch the training in the act? Does novichok roll off a duck’s bill like it does off doorknobs? These are all things a serious investigation would reveal.

That said, if they’d thought to break up Skripal’s basement floor instead of lifting his roof, they’d maybe have finally gotten to the bottom of things.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Novichok is a strange thing. So many questions but no answers.

Veth
Guest
Veth

Only Russia did it

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

Yep, I do not think the US like the facts any more.

Rovin' in the Punjab
Guest
Rovin' in the Punjab

Just a guess. Someone installed a Lucas failsafe switch?

lizzie dw
Guest
lizzie dw

so does anybody think about fukushima?

Olivia Kroth
Guest

No, not at all.

Orinoco Tarbaby
Guest
Orinoco Tarbaby

Probably some Japanese politician named Shima was considering evicting the US from Okinawa and Japan was sent a message, Washington style.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Yes, probably. I think so too.

Proudly Assembled in America
Guest
Proudly Assembled in America

I owned a Westinghouse washer and dryer for many years and I wouldn’t want anyone else operating my nuclear power plant.

Just one minor complaint: They should really start thinking about replacing those plastic dryer basket gears with something not quite so meltable.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

That’s fine. You stay with your Westinghouse washer and dryer, while the rest of the world buys Rosatom nuclear power plants. :))

Veth
Guest
Veth

Russai junk explodes..haha

Pierre Vaillant
Guest
Pierre Vaillant

Atomic energy me like!

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Me, too.

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