Senin, 08 Juni 2015

WHY... DO ... THE NUCLEAR.. SO INTERESTING..?? WHY MUST NUCLEAR... THE WORLD SO.. FEEL URGENT...?? .... WHY RUSSIA....?? USA...?? ISRAEL....??? CHINA....?? ....IRAN...?? ..AND OTHERS..?? ... NUCLEAR.....!!! NUCLEAR...!!!!...??? There is undoubtedly a need for additional Mo-99 capacity but the greater SPECT market will have to reconcile to the fact that the surety of supply required to support this $13 billion industry will come at a price. Hopefully some of the US domestic programs will successfully transition to viable commercial businesses but this will take time and until this happens the US market will remain dependent on the "subsidised, aging facilities from abroad producing HEU based Mo-99"....>>>..... Proclamations of the virtues of various production processes that are under development lack realism when it comes to projected time scales and costs associated with the construction and licensing of these proposed Mo-99 production facilities. In the early attempts to establish domestic production in the USA, the National Nuclear Security Administration Global Threat Reduction Initiative put forward a program which was aimed at identifying and supporting Collaborative Agreement partners. In terms of the program, these partners were required to produce 3000 6 day Curies of LEU-based Mo-99 by the end of 2013. None of the partners were able to achieve this target and this is still the case some two years later. “Technetium-99m has become a trivially priced low value commodity with there being no correlation between the market price and the true cost of production.”.>>....Russia has increased its competitive edge in the nuclear plant construction market through the serial production of new reactors, the head of NIAEP-JSC ASE said yesterday. The company was formed in 2012 from the merger of Rosatom subsidiaries Nizhny Novgorod design institute and Atomstroyexport in order to consolidate Russia's nuclear power engineering expertise into a single division. Last year, it absorbed Atomenergoproekt. NIAEP-JSC ASE director Valery Limarenko spoke to reporters in Moscow during Atomexpo, Rosatom's annual conference and exhibition. "Something we have and no one else does is that we have learned to replicate nuclear power plants," Limarenko said. "Ask anyone else at this exhibition involved in nuclear power plant construction or operation if it is possible to build the same project in different countries. They will tell you that it isn't because a unit is tailor-made for each client."........>>> ..... Reviews of the various molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production initiatives currently under way in the USA and Canada tend either to ignore or to reference vaguely the important role of existing capacity in Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and South Africa in the supply of Mo-99 to the USA, writes Don Robertson. The sweeping statement that the USA currently imports the majority of its Mo-99 supply from "subsidised, aging facilities abroad most of which is produced with HEU" is most certainly not a fair or reasonable description of the Mo-99 industry in the rest of the world. If it were not for these alleged subsidised, aging, HEU based facilities abroad then, for example the USA would be without Mo-99 during the annual extended NRU (National Research Universal, in Canada) shutdowns.....>> .... There is undoubtedly a need for additional Mo-99 capacity but the greater SPECT market will have to reconcile to the fact that the surety of supply required to support this $13 billion industry will come at a price. Hopefully some of the US domestic programs will successfully transition to viable commercial businesses but this will take time and until this happens the US market will remain dependent on the "subsidised, aging facilities from abroad producing HEU based Mo-99"...>>..... Plans announced in 2006 for 28,600 t/yr U3O8 output by 2020, 18,000t of this from Russia* and the balance from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Mongolia have since taken shape, though difficulties in starting new Siberian mines makes the 18,000 t target unlikely. Three uranium mining joint ventures were established in Kazakhstan with the intention of providing 6000 tU/yr for Russia from 2007: JV Karatau, JV Zarechnoye and JV Akbastau. (see below and Kazakhstan paper) * See details for April 2008 ARMZ plans. In 2007 TVEL applied for the Istochnoye, Kolichkanskoye, Dybrynskoye, Namarusskoye and Koretkondinskoye deposits with 30,000 tU in proved and probable reserves close to the Khiagda mine in Buryatia. From foreign projects: Zarechnoye 1000 t, Southern Zarechnoye 1000 t, Akbastau 3000 t (all in Kazakhstan); Aktau (Uzbekistan) 500 t, Novo-Konstantinovskoye (Ukraine) 2500 t. In addition Russia would like to participate in development of Erdes deposit in Mongolia (500t) as well as in Northern Kazakhstan deposits Semizbai (Akmolonsk Region) and Kosachinoye.....??....>>.... The Russian Federation’s main uranium deposits are in four districts: The Trans-Ural district in the Kurgan region between Chelyabinsk and Omsk. Streltsovskiy in the Transbaikal or Chita region of SE Siberia near the Chinese and Mongolian borders. The Vitimsky district in Buryatia about 570 km northwest of Krasnokamensk. The more recently discovered remote Elkon district in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) some 1200 km north-northeast of the Chita region. Present production by ARMZ is principally from the Streltsovskiy district, where major uranium deposits were discovered in 1967, leading to large-scale mining, originally with few environmental controls. These are volcanogenic caldera-related deposits. Krasnokamensk is the main town serving the mines. ..>>


Study shines a light on uranium mill tailings

05 June 2015 
Areva Resources Canada and researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have completed a major study on the long-term condition of uranium mill tailings at the McClean Lake mill using the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron facility.

McClean Lake (Image: University of Saskatchewan)

Tailings - the waste from uranium ore milling operations - from McClean Lake are stored in the JEB tailings management facility, a former open pit mine. The management facility has been in operation since 1999, so drilling through the layers of material in the facility gives a snapshot of the tailings at different evolutionary stages.

Researchers used the CLS to investigate the life cycles of elements such as lead, arsenic, and molybdenum via X-ray Absorption Near-Edge Spectroscopy (XANES), a technique that can detect specific elements at very low concentrations. University of Saskatchewan lead researcher Andrew Grosvenor explained the approach. "We want to know how the materials that contain these elements of concern are changing over time, and if they reach a point where they form an insoluble product in which case everything would stay put," he said.

The study has involved analysing 25 samples of tailings of different ages and has for the first time succeeded in confirming the formation of solid molybdenum materials that eventually stop the element dissolving into water, as previously predicted by thermodynamic modelling.

McClean Lake is operated and 70%-owned by Areva Resources, with Denison Mines holding 22.5% and Overseas Uranium Resources Development (OURD) of Japan owning 7.5%. The mill produced over 50 million pounds of concentrate from three open-pit mines from 1999 to 2010, and has since been upgraded to mill ore from Cameco's Cigar Lake mine. It has been described as the most technologically advanced uranium mill in the world, able to process ore grades from less than 1% to 30% uranium without dilution.

Based on current mining and milling projections, approximately 5 million cubic metres of tailings will be generated at the McClean Lake Operation over the next 25 years, and will be stored in the JEB facility.

The study's findings will be invaluable to the long-term care of the McClean Lake site, and researchers are looking to move on to other elements of concern. "Once you understand the geochemical reactions that are occurring then you can start to predict what will be occurring over the next 50, 100 or 1000 years in the environment," Grosvenor said.
The research has been published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Uranium Markets

(Updated February 2015)
  • Production from world uranium mines now supplies over 90% of the requirements of power utilities.
  • Primary production from mines is supplemented by secondary supplies, principally by ex-military material and other inventories.
  • World mine production has expanded significantly since about 2005.
All mineral commodity markets tend to be cyclical, ie, prices rise and fall substantially over the years, but with these fluctuations superimposed on long-term trend decline in real prices, as technological progress takes place at mines. In the uranium market, however, high prices in the late 1970s gave way to depressed prices in the whole of the period of the 1980s and 1990s, with spot prices below the cost of production for all but the lowest cost mines. In 1996 spot prices briefly recovered to the point where many mines could produce profitably, but they then declined again and only started to recover strongly late in 2003.
Nevertheless the quoted “spot prices" apply only to marginal trading from day to day and in recent years have represented about one-quarter of supply. Most trade is via 3-15 year term contracts with producers selling directly to utilities. The contacted price in these contracts is, however, often related to the spot price at the time of delivery. However, as production has risen much faster than demand, fewer long-term contracts are being written.
The reasons for fluctuation in mineral prices relate to demand and perceptions of scarcity. The price cannot indefinitely stay below the cost of production (see below), nor will it remain at very high levels for longer than it takes for new producers to enter the market and anxiety about supply to subside.

Uranium (U3O8) Prices
Graph courtesy of UxC
Note that the Euratom long-term price is the average price of uranium delivered into the EU that year under long term contracts. It is not the price at which long-term contracts are being written in that year.


About 435 reactors with combined capacity of over 370 GWe, require some 78,000 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate containing 66,000 tonnes of uranium (tU) from mines (or the equivalent from stockpiles or secondary sources) each year. This includes initial cores for new reactors coming on line. The capacity is growing slowly, and at the same time the reactors are being run more productively, with higher capacity factors, and reactor power levels. However, these factors increasing fuel demand are offset by a trend for increased efficiencies, so demand is dampened – over the 20 years from 1970 there was a 25% reduction in uranium demand per kWh output in Europe due to such improvements, which continue today.
Each GWe of increased new capacity will require about 150 tU/yr of extra mine production routinely, and about 300-450 tU for the first fuel load.
Fuel burnup is measured in MW days per tonne U, and many utilities are increasing the initial enrichment of their fuel (eg from 3.3 towards 5.0% U-235) and then burning it longer or harder to leave only 0.5% U-235 in it (instead of twice this).
Source: Uranium Institute 1992
The graph from Sweden's Oskarsamn 3 reactor shows that with increasing fuel burn-up from 35,000 to 55,000 MWd/t a constant amount of uranium is required per unit of electrical output, and energy used (indicated by SWU) for increased levels of enrichment increases slightly. However, the amount of fabricated fuel used in the reactor drops significantly due to its higher enrichment and burn-up.

Swedish Fuel
In the USA, utilities have pursued higher enrichment and burnups, but in addition have reduced the tails assay from enrichment, owing to higher uranium prices, so that significantly less natural uranium feed is required. However, more enrichment is then needed, so there is a clear trade-off between energy input to enrichment and uranium input.

Enrichment SWU-tails
Because of the cost structure of nuclear power generation, with high capital and low fuel costs, the demand for uranium fuel is much more predictable than with probably any other mineral commodity. Once reactors are built, it is very cost-effective to keep them running at high capacity and for utilities to make any adjustments to load trends by cutting back on fossil fuel use. Demand forecasts for uranium thus depend largely on installed and operable capacity, regardless of economic fluctuations.
Looking ten years ahead, the market is expected to grow significantly. The WNA 2013 Global Nuclear Fuel Market Report reference scenario (post Fukushima accident) shows a 31% increase in uranium demand over 2013-23 (for a 36% increase in reactor capacity – many new cores will be required). Demand thereafter will depend on new plant being built and the rate at which older plant is retired – the reference scenario has a 25.6% increase in uranium demand for the decade 2020 to 2030. Licensing of plant lifetime extensions and the economic attractiveness of continued operation of older reactors are critical factors in the medium-term uranium market. However, with electricity demand by 2030 expected (by the OECD's International Energy Agency, 2008) to double from that of 2004, there is plenty of scope for growth in nuclear capacity in a world concerned with limiting carbon emissions.


Mines in 2013 supplied some 70,800 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate (U3O8) containing 59,370 tU, about 91% of utilities' annual requirements. (See also paper World Uranium Mining). The balance is made up from secondary sources including stockpiled uranium held by utilities, and in the last few years of low prices those civil stockpiles have been built up again following their depletion about 1990-2005. At the end of 2013 they were estimated at more than 90,000 tU in Europe and USA, and a bit less in east Asia, mostly in China.
The perception of imminent scarcity drove the "spot price" for uncontracted sales to over US$ 100 per pound U3O8 in 2007 but it has settled back to $34-45 over the two years to the end of 2014. Most uranium however is supplied under long-term contracts and the prices in new contracts have, in the past, reflected a premium of at lease $10/lb above the spot market.
Note that at the prices which utilities are likely to be paying for current delivery, only one third of the cost of the fuel loaded into a nuclear reactor is the actual ex-mine (or other) supply. The balance is mostly the cost of enrichment and fuel fabrication, with a small element for uranium conversion.

Uranium Mine Production Cost Curve 2010

The above graph, from CRU Strategies, shows a cost curve for world uranium producers in 2010, and suggests that for 53,500 tU/yr production from mines in that year, US$40/lb is a marginal price. The cost curve may rise steeply at higher uranium requirements in 2012 (with production of 58,344 tU, 68,805 t U3O8).
With the main growth in uranium demand being in Russia and China, it is noteworthy that the vertically-integrated sovereign nuclear industries in these countries (and potentially India) have sought equity in uranium mines abroad, bypassing the market to some extent. Strategic investment in uranium production, even if it is not lowest-cost, has become the priority while world prices have been generally low. Russia’s ARMZ has bought Canada-based Uranium One, with 2013 production of over 5000 tU in several countries, and China’s CGNPC-URC has bought a majority share of the large Husab project in Namibia, with potential production of 5770 tU/yr (some to be sold into world markets). China’s SinoU (CNNC) has bought a 25% share in Langer Heinrich in Namibia, giving it over 500 tU/yr. It also has 37.5% of the SOMINA joint venture in Niger, entitling it to over 1800 tU/yr in future, and up to 49% of Zhalpak JV in Kazakhstan, adding another 500 tU/yr.

Supply from elsewhere

As well as existing and likely new mines, nuclear fuel supply may be from secondary sources including:
  • recycled uranium and plutonium from used fuel, as mixed oxide (MOX) fuel,
  • re-enriched depleted uranium tails,
  • ex-military weapons-grade uranium,
  • civil stockpiles,
  • ex-military weapons-grade plutonium, as MOX fuel.
Commercial reprocessing plants are operating in France and UK, and another is due to start up in Japan. The product from these re-enters the fuel cycle and is fabricated into fresh mixed oxide (MOX) fuel elements. About 200 tonnes of MOX is used each year, equivalent to less than 2000 tonnes of U3O8 from mines.
Military uranium for weapons is enriched to much higher levels than that for the civil fuel cycle. Weapons-grade is about 97% U-235, and this can be diluted about 25:1 with depleted uranium (or 30:1 with enriched depleted uranium) to reduce it to about 4%, suitable for use in a power reactor. From 1999 to 2013 the dilution of 30 tonnes per year of such material displaced about 9720 tonnes U3O8 per year of mine production. (see also paper on Military Warheads as a source of Nuclear Fuel).
The following graph gives an historical perspective, showing how early production went first into military inventories and then, in the early 1980s, into civil stockpiles. It is this early production which has made up the shortfall in supply from mines since the mid 1980s. However, the shortfall is diminishing towards the level of continuing secondary supplies.

World Uranium Production and Demand
The USA and Russia have agreed to dispose of 34 tonnes each of military plutonium by 2014. Most of it is likely to be used as feed for MOX plants, to make about 1500 tonnes of MOX fuel which will progressively be burned in civil reactors.
The following graph (WNA 2011 Market Report reference scenario) suggests how these various sources of supply might look in the decades ahead:

Reference Case Supply, tU
WNA Global Nuclear Fuel Market Reports.
IEA World Energy Outlook – to date.

Uranium production figures, 2003-2013

(December 2014)
Country or area Production (tU) % change
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2012-13
China ^
Czech Rep
Korea, S
South Africa

na not applicable
.. not yet available
* from decommissioning
^ UI/WNA estimate
NB: The figures in this table are liable to change as new data becomes available

Commissioning nuclear in Australia? A call to action

5 June 2015

Commissioning nuclear in Australia? A call to action
The World Nuclear Association calls on the global nuclear community to share its expertise with the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission so that it can plot a path for civil nuclear power. By Agneta Rising
It is only natural that Australia should consider an expanded role in the nuclear fuel cycle as it attempts to address its climate, energy and economic challenges. The country already has one of the most advanced nuclear research and medical facilities in the world and it is one of the largest suppliers of uranium. However, Australia currently makes no use of nuclear to generate electricity - in fact, it has laws in place prohibiting this. Most other civil nuclear fuel cycle activities are banned under law.
[Photo: Olympic Dam (Credit: BHP Billiton]
A Royal Commission into expanding nuclear fuel cycle activities is a chance to move on. The Commission is limited to investigating the opportunity for economic nuclear development in the state of South Australia, but in practice anything beyond further mining would require change at the national level. These kinds of opportunities come along very rarely. The South Australian Royal Commission offers nuclear industry professionals worldwide a chance to showcase their knowledge, expertise, experience and technology.
The Commission has released four 'Issues Papers' on:
1) uranium exploration, extraction and milling (comments by 24 July);
2) fuel conversion, enrichment, fabrication and reprocessing (3 August);
3) electricity generation(3 August);
4) waste management (24 July).
Should the South Australian government choose to expand South Australia's nuclear role, those who make high quality submissions may find opportunities in an exciting new market.

Nuclear energy in Australia - recent history

The anti-nuclear movement in Australia has been very influential. This led to a national prohibition on fuel fabrication, nuclear power, enrichment and reprocessing facilities, as set out in the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act of 1998. In the late 1970s it also led to the federal Australian Labor Party limiting uranium mining and export.
"Half of South Australia's 5.3GWe capacity is gas-fired"
The question of whether Australia should develop nuclear energy has been raised several times over the last 60 years, usually by conservative politicians (represented by the Liberal Party of Australia). The country has abundant coal close to population centres, and by using this for more than 80% of electricity it has enjoyed some of the world's lowest power prices. But climate change concerns have changed the outlook, and South Australia has always been less well-off than the eastern states in terms of electricity options. Half of South Australia's 5.3GWe capacity is gas-fired, and its average wholesale power price is 30% higher than in the eastern states.
A previous Liberal coalition federal government commissioned a high-level inquiry into nuclear energy and it reported positively in 2006 (the Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review, UMPNER). It concluded that any long-term energy strategy for Australia should include nuclear alongside coal, gas and renewable energy, and that commercial opportunities existed in uranium mining, processing and enrichment and in waste storage. Much has changed since then, notably the uranium price. UMPNER chairman Dr Ziggy Switkowski said that the Royal Commission inquiry was "timely for a number of reasons" and that "nuclear power still offers the greatest option in providing cost-effective, clean, base-load energy".
Dr Switkowski noted that "Australia, especially South Australia, will tick many boxes required for a vibrant nuclear industry: a leader in the nuclear nonproliferation regime, benign and sparsely populated geology, more than a third of the world's known uranium resources with established international markets, skilled workforce and experience in the nuclear supply chain, effective regulators and strong compliance ethos, support for industry development, job creation, and new intrastate commerce and export opportunities."

Nuclear plants in Australia?

Around 1960, nuclear power was considered for the large new power station at Port Augusta in South Australia, and in 1969 the South Australian government proposed a nuclear power plant in the state to supply the eastern states' grid.
"In 1976, the South Australian government...said nuclear power appeared inevitable"
In 1976, the South Australian government, in its submission to the Ranger Uranium Mine Inquiry, said nuclear power appeared inevitable for the state, perhaps by 2000. History proved different.
The 2006 UMPNER inquiry reported that nuclear power would be 20-50% more expensive than coal-fired power at that time and it would only be competitive if "low to moderate" costs (US$12-30/tCO2) were imposed on carbon emissions. It said: "Nuclear power is the least-cost low-emission technology that can provide base-load power" and has low life cycle impacts. Since then, household power prices have doubled.
The National Generators Forum published a report in 2006 (Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Power Generation) which concluded: "Stabilising emissions at present levels and meeting base-load requirements could be achieved with nuclear power at comparatively modest cost." Nuclear power would halve an expected increase in electricity prices of 120% to 2050 and "At $20 per tonne of CO2 price, nuclear starts to become more cost-effective than current fossil fuel technologies."
Whether nuclear power is feasible for Australia therefore depends on climate mitigation policies, on reducing coal or on a carbon price. Absent this, a more innovative approach will be needed to secure financing.

Enrichment possibilities

Back in the 1960s Australia started an enrichment research programme. The feasibility of an enrichment industry was investigated in the 1970s but work was never taken forward, in part due to the Labor party policy noted above. Nevertheless, the country boasts some serious credentials in the area and has pioneered research into new enrichment technology.
An Australian company started to develop a laser-based uranium enrichment technology in the mid-1990s. In 2006 it entered into an exclusive agreement with an international partner to commercialise the technology. In 2012 Global Laser Enrichment, as the enterprise is now known, received an operating licence from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and in 2013 it began exclusive negotiations with US Department of Energy for a tails processing facility.
Whether enrichment, and especially laser enrichment, could be a future option for Australia is surely an open question.

Nuclear waste considerations

Like all countries with a nuclear research and medical sector, Australia has its share of radioactive waste. A national initiative was launched last year seeking land-owner volunteers to step forward with potential sites for facilities to store intermediate-level waste, and for the disposal of low-level waste. Australia does not technically have any high-level waste. Its research reactor spent fuel is reprocessed abroad and the returned waste is classified as long-lived intermediate-level waste.
"A major research programme carried out in the 1990s to identify a suitable site for a potential multinational repository put Australia top of the list"
Nuclear power plants would change that equation. They would require a high-level waste repository, but could also help to subsidise the disposal of the comparatively small volume of medical and research waste.
There has never been serious consideration of a commercial reprocessing facility in Australia. However if nuclear power plants were introduced the question of whether to pursue a closed or open fuel cycle would have to be addressed.
A major research programme carried out in the 1990s to identify a suitable site for a potential multinational repository, Pangaea Resources, put Australia top of the list. However the proposal was unpopular and did not proceed. Whether attitudes have changed could be a question for the Commission.

An advanced proposal

One South Australian has not been shy in seeking to shape the debate. Senator Sean Edwards proposes "that South Australia stakes its claim in the global nuclear fuel recycling industry." It would mean using the world's spent fuel for fast reactors, via a reprocessing plant. The venture would be supported financially because overseas governments would pay South Australia to take their fuel.
On the ABC Environment blog on 18 March, Edwards said, "In developing this proposal I have been in talks with potential foreign partners who have raised the possibility of meeting our capital costs if we meet their recycling needs. Read: no start-up costs. Those talks continue."
Continuous, reliable low-cost electricity would transform the state's economy. After processing and reuse of fuel, small amounts of relatively short-lived waste would remain. "The science is sound, the business case has been made and the public is behind us. The challenge is a political one," notes Edwards. There has been remarkably little pushback on this proposal.
The Commission is keeping an open mind regarding outcomes and is seeking to identify the pathway offering the most potential for economic rejuvenation to the state. However, it does raise intriguing questions as to exactly what kind of technology a nuclear newcomer might realistically expect to introduce. Is there a possibility to skip a generation? What are the benefits and risks of early adoption?

Public opinion shift

The time appears right for a new investigation and a Royal Commission is the most powerful and rigorous body that can be created under Australian law to deal with such a matter.
Public attitudes have begun to shift, making a national policy change achievable. In 2014, a polling of 1200 people carried out by the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy found that 48% of respondents support nuclear energy, while only 33% recorded any form of opposition. Just under 20% were neutral. These levels of acceptance are enviable, even for countries with nuclear energy and a clear basis to explore opportunities.
It will take a lot to change political inertia in Australia, but your expert response to the Issues Papers is a great starting point. Get involved, and help make a difference!About the author
Agneta Rising is Director General of the World Nuclear Association.


Russia achieves serial nuclear power plant construction

03 June 2015
Russia has increased its competitive edge in the nuclear plant construction market through the serial production of new reactors, the head of NIAEP-JSC ASE said yesterday. The company was formed in 2012 from the merger of Rosatom subsidiaries Nizhny Novgorod design institute and Atomstroyexport in order to consolidate Russia's nuclear power engineering expertise into a single division. Last year, it absorbed Atomenergoproekt.

NIAEP-JSC ASE director Valery Limarenko spoke to reporters in Moscow during Atomexpo, Rosatom's annual conference and exhibition.

"Something we have and no one else does is that we have learned to replicate nuclear power plants," Limarenko said. "Ask anyone else at this exhibition involved in nuclear power plant construction or operation if it is possible to build the same project in different countries. They will tell you that it isn't because a unit is tailor-made for each client."

Limarenko was referring to the different requirements among plant customers regarding seismicity, climate, water temperature, design regulations, localisation and investment.

"Serial production of nuclear power plants for construction around the world is a very difficult thing to do, but we have managed it because we are building a series of standard designs with various options covering seismicity, climate and the other parameters. Our competitive ability is very high because a company that can build a series of projects, has a very strong position on the market," he said.

NIAEP-JSC ASE consists of more than 20 entities, Limarenko said, with the major players being Atomstroyexport, which specialises in the construction of overseas nuclear power plants; NIAEP, which builds units in Russia; and general design company Moscow Atomenergoproekt. It also includes engineering company Spetzenergomontazh and Nikimt-Atomstroy, which designs and builds used nuclear fuel facilities.
The enlarged company employs 18,500 people at its Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod offices, of which 4000 are nuclear power plant designers.

Five victories

The company had five "victories", or highlights, last year, he said. The first was the start-up of unit 3 of the Rostov nuclear power plant near Volgodonsk in Russia two months ahead of schedule, in December. The same month, unit 1 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant entered commercial operation. The third victory was the signing, also in December, of an intergovernmental agreement for Russia to build two new reactors in India. The fourth was the signing in November of a protocol to an intergovernmental agreement to build two new reactors in Iran. In December, Russia also signed a contract for the Paks Phase 2 project in Hungary.

NIAEP-JSC ASE had a portfolio in 2014 worth about $60 billion and it plans to beat that figure in 2015, Limarenko said.

Thanks to its formation from other Rosatom subsidiaries, the company has all the structures required to design, construct and manage all the processes related to procurement and supply, he said. This year, it will further update its project management process with an information support system known as Multi-D. Rosatom has said that this technology enables it to carry out detailed modelling of construction and installation processes based on 3D-object models, which "significantly increases" the quality and speed of its work.

NIAEP-JSC ASE is able to remain within or below the budget of its projects, Limarenko said, thanks to its cost management system. "Similar to what designers do when they draw a 3D model of a nuclear power plant, a so-called smart model, we create a similar model in terms of costs," he said. "It is a mathematical model that is not static, but can be developed over time to consider several factors. With the breakdown of labour costs, price of equipment and price of materials, we know how much we have spent and how much we are going to spend at any moment. This system enables us to determine how much a project costs in any country with a link to a specific project and a particular place."

This year

Key tasks for this year, according to Limarenko, are commissioning of "the world's first" Generation III+ reactor - unit 1 of the Novovoronezh II plant. Next, it aims to commission unit 2 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, a Generation III project, he said. The third task will be to sign a general contract in Bangladesh where the company has already signed contracts covering the reactor design and the preparatory period of work.

NIAEP-JSC ASE is on schedule with unit 1 of the plant it is building at Ostrovets in Belarus, he said, and unit 2 there will be ahead of schedule. That project is also below budget, he added. This Generation III+ design is also being used for its Leningrad II and Baltic projects, he said. It will also be used for the Hanhikivi and Paks projects in Finland and Hungary, respectively, as well as for the plant it plans to build for Vietnam, he said.

Asked about progress at unit 1 of the Kudankulam plant, Limerenko said the reactor was now operating at 67% of its capacity, while unit 2 has entered the commissioning phase. In addition, India and Russia last year signed an agreement to build units 3 and 4.

"Now we are in negotiations about the design contract for units 3 and 4, which we expect to sign in the next couple of months," he said.

These units will be of the VVER-Toi (typical optimised, with enhanced information) design, which will require a four-year construction period between first concrete and commissioning, he said. Other projects that will use VVER-Toi technology include Kursk II in Russia and Akkuyu in Turkey, he added.

NIAEP-JSC ASE has completed the requirements of the first two contracts for its project in Bangladesh, he said, an engineering survey and the design of the reactor. A third contract will cover the preparatory period before the start of construction.
"I was at the site a month ago and talked with the [Bangladesh] energy minister and we evaluated that everything was going well," Limarenko said.
Asked about the equipment prepared for an Atomstroyexport project the Bulgarian government cancelled in 2012, Limeranko said "I hope the day will come when we get to complete the Belene plant". The main equipment of the nuclear island is ready and is currently in storage. "It's in a normal condition and in reliable hands.”

Limarenko said he was optimistic about the company's prospects in Iran.
Unit 1 at the Bushehr nuclear power plant is a VVER V-446 pressurised water reactor unit, which began commercial operation in September 2013. German constructor Siemens KWU began work on two pressurized water reactors at the Bushehr site on the Persian Gulf in 1975, but work was abandoned in 1979. Russian companies later completed the project. Construction of unit 2, a VVER-1000 reactor, is to start this year.

Unit 1 is currently in a two-year warranty period, during which Russian nuclear specialists remain at the site on a consultative basis and to provide technical support. That period ends soon, Limarenko said, "and we are planning the handover in September". NIAEP-JSC ASE is now carrying out general survey works for units 2, 3 and 4, he said, referring to an agreement signed in November last year for Russia to build up to eight new nuclear power reactor units in Iran - four at Bushehr and four at another, yet to be determined site.

Asked about the potential impact on the projects of the P5+1 talks with Iran on the country's nuclear program, Limarenko said he expected sanctions against the country to be lifted soon.
"As I understand it, these talks have been very tough, but are developing to the mutual satisfaction of all parties involved to support Iran in its pursuit of the peaceful atom," he said. We expect that after the end of the talks, all sanctions [against Iran] will be lifted and our cooperation in nuclear power plant construction in Iran will continue. We have the framework of an existing contract."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

The realities of Mo-99 production

27 May 2015
Reviews of the various molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production initiatives currently under way in the USA and Canada tend either to ignore or to reference vaguely the important role of existing capacity in Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and South Africa in the supply of Mo-99 to the USA, writes Don Robertson.

The sweeping statement that the USA currently imports the majority of its Mo-99 supply from "subsidised, aging facilities abroad most of which is produced with HEU" is most certainly not a fair or reasonable description of the Mo-99 industry in the rest of the world. If it were not for these alleged subsidised, aging, HEU based facilities abroad then, for example the USA would be without Mo-99 during the annual extended NRU (National Research Universal, in Canada) shutdowns.

Proclamations of the virtues of various production processes that are under development lack realism when it comes to projected time scales and costs associated with the construction and licensing of these proposed Mo-99 production facilities. In the early attempts to establish domestic production in the USA, the National Nuclear Security Administration Global Threat Reduction Initiative put forward a program which was aimed at identifying and supporting Collaborative Agreement partners. In terms of the program, these partners were required to produce 3000 6 day Curies of LEU-based Mo-99 by the end of 2013. None of the partners were able to achieve this target and this is still the case some two years later.

“Technetium-99m has become a trivially priced low value commodity with there being no correlation between the market price and the true cost of production.”

Don Robertson
This optimism regarding timescales is however quite understandable as it is only those, who have already constructed and operated large scale commercial Mo-99 production facilities, who will fully appreciate the complexities of production and the associated regulatory hurdles. It is therefore somewhat surprising that even Nordion is making optimistic projections as to when their novel SGE process will have achieved commercial readiness.

Most of the domestic programs were motivated on the basis of a supply shortage after October 2016 when medical isotope production was destined to cease in the NRU reactor. This was a position which had been consistently maintained until early in 2015 at which stage the Canadian government announced that it would support the extension of NRU operations until the end of March 2018 to help support global medical isotope demand should shortages occur in this time. Since it would appear that none of the current US domestic programs will be in commercial production by 2016, one could imagine that NRU will seamlessly continue to operate beyond October 2016 enabling Nordion to continue the supply of Mo-99 except for the annual NRU shutdown when presumably the suppliers from abroad will once again be required to step up to the plate.

Clearly capacity constraints are a major concern but this is the symptom arising from the real crisis confronting the industry namely the inappropriate pricing of technetium-99m (Tc-99m) and hence Mo-99. Historically, Mo-99 production evolved out of government research institutes and as a result government subsidisation was implicit in the industry. Because of these historical subsidisations, Tc-99m has become a trivially priced low value commodity with there being no correlation between the market price of the isotope and the true actual cost of production.

Back in 2009 there was an isotope supply crisis resulting from the extended closure of NRU. The supply shortages resulted in disruptions in the availability of critical nuclear medicine based diagnostic procedures. This impact on global healthcare led the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency, at the request of its member countries, to establish the High Level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes. Soon after its inception, this group identified and publicised that the unreliable supply of Mo-99 and Tc-99m could be directly attributed to the inappropriate pricing structure of the supply chain. It was emphasised that, unless this was urgently addressed, supply disruptions would continue, jeopardising the future of nuclear medicine diagnostic imaging. Unfortunately five years later, despite this warning, little to no progress has been made with the rectification of the situation and there is continual downward pressure on the price of Tc-99m.

Since it has been generally accepted that any form of government subsidisation should be removed from the industry all Mo-99 producers are presumably obliged to manage their businesses on sound commercial principles and of necessity deliver an appropriate ROI to shareholders and investors. Unfortunately the increasing operational costs on the one hand and the constant downward pressure on the price of Tc-99m and hence Mo-99 has resulted in a business environment which does not readily present itself as an attractive investment opportunity.

Over the years SPECT (Single photon emission computed tomography) diagnostic imaging has grown to a level where some 100 000 Tc-99m based scans are performed per day with an installed infrastructure of some 22 000 SPECT cameras worldwide. The market value of this industry, which significantly contributes to the general well-being of the global population, is estimated to be in the region of $13 billion. This important industry remains extremely vulnerable due to a tendency of some downstream participants in the supply chain to chase short term profitability at the expense of long term sustainability. It has, for example, been shown that if the current price of Mo-99 were doubled (which would enable producers to move towards some form of business sustainability), the final cost of a diagnostic procedure would increase by around 2%. Despite this the downward pressure on the price of Tc-99m and Mo-99 remains.

Over the years there have been significant investments in failed Mo-99 production ventures. Even today significant sums are being expended on a variety of novel production methods which are very interesting from a scientific perspective but might well not be able to make the transition from laboratory scale to full blown commercial production. Those that are able to successfully make the transition will take a lot longer and cost much more than was initially projected. Furthermore, if the Tc-99m and Mo-99 pricing level is not radically revised the technologically successful ventures will be at best marginal businesses.

There is undoubtedly a need for additional Mo-99 capacity but the greater SPECT market will have to reconcile to the fact that the surety of supply required to support this $13 billion industry will come at a price. Hopefully some of the US domestic programs will successfully transition to viable commercial businesses but this will take time and until this happens the US market will remain dependent on the "subsidised, aging facilities from abroad producing HEU based Mo-99".

Don Robertson
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Don Robertson is the retired managing director of NTP Radioisotopes SOC Ltd, a subsidiary of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa). NTP Radioisotopes conducts its operations from the Pelindaba nuclear facility near Pretoria.

China, Egypt agree to nuclear cooperation

28 May 2015
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in the construction of power reactors has been signed between China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the Egyptian Nuclear Power Plant Authority (NPPA).

CNNC-Egypt May 2015 - 460 (CNNC)
The signing of the MOU (Image: CNNC)

The MOU was signed during a CNNC delegation's visit to Egypt between 21 and 23 May. The signing was witnessed by Egypt's first undersecretary of the ministry of electricity and renewable energy Hassan Mahmoud Hassanein.

In a statement CNNC said the signing of the MOU marks a new phase in work to develop nuclear energy in Egypt and that the company has now become "one of the official partners for Egypt's nuclear power projects".

In February, Egypt and Russia signed an MOU on the construction of a nuclear power plant in the North African country. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Egyptian ministry of electricity and renewable energy "agreed to launch detailed discussions on the prospective project," Rosatom said in a statement.

Rosatom subsidiary Rusatom Overseas and the NPPA signed a project development agreement for a nuclear power plant with a desalination facility.

The El-Dabaa site on Egypt's Mediterranean coast was selected for a nuclear plant in 1983, but this scheme was scrapped after the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine. However, in 2006, the same site was named in plans to build a 1000 MWe reactor for electricity generation and water desalination by 2015, in a $1.5-$2 billion project that would be open to foreign participation.

Early in 2010 the proposal had expanded to four plants by 2025, the first costing about $4 billion and being on line in 2019 or 2020. Plans were put on hold in 2011 until the political situation stabilised following the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Egypt and Russia agree to build nuclear reactors

10 February 2015

Egypt and Russia have agreed to build a nuclear power plant together and officials from both countries have signed a memorandum of understanding on the proposed project.

Egypt's president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, announced the plan during a joint press conference in Cairo with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is on a state visit to Egypt.

Within the framework of the visit, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy "agreed to launch detailed discussions on the prospective project," Rosatom said in a statement.

Rusatom Overseas and Egyptian Nuclear Power Plants Authority have signed a project development agreement for a nuclear power plant with a desalination facility.

Sergey Kirienko, Rosatom director general, said the agreement provides for the construction of two nuclear power units, with the prospect of a further two.

"In a very short period of time, we need to prepare for the signing of two intergovernmental agreements - one on nuclear power plant construction and one on financing. During the negotiations, we have been set the task to perform at maximum speed, and Rosatom is ready for that."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle

(Updated 22 May 2015)
  • A major increase in uranium mine production is planned.
  • There is increasing international involvement in parts of Russia's fuel cycle.
  • Exports are a major Russian political and economic objective.


Russia uses about 3800 tonnes of natural uranium per year. After enrichment, this becomes 190 tU enriched to 4.3% for 9 VVER-1000 reactors (at 2004, now 13), 60 tU enriched to 3.6% for 6 VVER-440s, 350 tU enriched to 2.0% for 11 RBMK units, and 6 tU enriched to 20% (with 9 tU depleted) for the BN-600. Some 90 tU recycled supplements the RBMK supply at about 2% enrichment. This RepU arises from reprocessing the used fuel from BN, VVER-440 and marine and research reactors.

There is high-level concern about the development of new uranium deposits, and a Federal Council meeting in April 2015 agreed to continue the federal financing of exploration and estimation works in Vitimsky Uranium Region in Buryatia. It also agreed to financing construction of the engineering infrastructure of Mine No. 6 of Priargunsky Industrial Mining and Chemical Union (PIMCU). The following month the Council approved key support measures including the introduction of a zero rate for mining tax and property tax; simplification of the system of granting subsoil use rights; inclusion of the Economic Development of the Far East and Trans-Baikal up to 2018 policy in the Federal Target Program; and the development of infrastructure in Krasnokamensk.

Uranium resources and mining

Russia has substantial economic resources of uranium, with about 10% of world reasonably assured resources plus inferred resources up to US$ 130/kg – 487,000 tonnes U (2011 'Red Book'). Historic uranium exploration expenditure is reported to have been about $4 billion. The Federal Natural Resources Management Agency (Rosnedra) reported that Russian uranium reserves grew by 15% in 2009, particularly through exploration in the Urals and Kalmykia Republic, north of the Caspian Sea.

Uranium production has varied from 2870 to 3560 tU/yr since 2004, and in recent years has been supplemented by that from ARMZ Kazakh operations, giving 7629 tU in 2012. In 2006 there were three mining projects in Russia, since then others have been under construction and more projected, as described below. Cost of production in remote areas such as Elkon is said to be US$ 60-90/kg. Spending on new ARMZ domestic projects in 2013 was RUR 253.5 million, though in November 2013 all Rosatom investment in mining expansion was put on hold due to low uranium prices.

Plans announced in 2006 for 28,600 t/yr U3O8 output by 2020, 18,000t of this from Russia* and the balance from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Mongolia have since taken shape, though difficulties in starting new Siberian mines makes the 18,000 t target unlikely. Three uranium mining joint ventures were established in Kazakhstan with the intention of providing 6000 tU/yr for Russia from 2007: JV Karatau, JV Zarechnoye and JV Akbastau. (see below and Kazakhstan paper) 

* See details for April 2008 ARMZ plans. In 2007 TVEL applied for the Istochnoye, Kolichkanskoye, Dybrynskoye, Namarusskoye and Koretkondinskoye deposits with 30,000 tU in proved and probable reserves close to the Khiagda mine in Buryatia.

From foreign projects: Zarechnoye 1000 t, Southern Zarechnoye 1000 t, Akbastau 3000 t (all in Kazakhstan); Aktau (Uzbekistan) 500 t, Novo-Konstantinovskoye (Ukraine) 2500 t. In addition Russia would like to participate in development of Erdes deposit in Mongolia (500t) as well as in Northern Kazakhstan deposits Semizbai (Akmolonsk Region) and Kosachinoye.

ARMZ Uranium Production Plans 2007
*(this chart is now slightly out of date but still gives a general picture)

AtomRedMetZoloto (ARMZ) is the state-owned company which took over Tenex and TVEL uranium exploration and mining assets in 2007-08, as a subsidiary of Atomenergoprom (79.5% owned). It inherited 19 projects with a total uranium resource of about 400,000 tonnes, of which 340,000 tonnes are in Elkonskiy uranium region and 60,000 tonnes in Streltsovskiy and Vitimskiy regions. The rights to all these resources had been transferred from Rosnedra.

JSC ARMZ Uranium Holding Company (as it is now known) became the mining division of Rosatom in 2008, responsible for all Russian uranium mine assets and also Russian shares in foreign joint ventures. In 2008, 78.6% of JSC Priargunsky, all of JSC Khiagda and 97.85% of JSC Dalur was transferred to ARMZ. In March 2009 the Federal Financial Markets Service of Russia registered RUR 16.4 billion of additional shares in ARMZ placed through a closed subscription to pay for uranium mining assets, on top of a RUR 4 billion issued in mid 2008 to pay for the acquisition of Priargunsky, Khiagda and Dalur. In November 2009 SC Rosatom paid a further RUR 33 billion for ARMZ shares, increasing its equity to 76.1%.

In 2009 and 2010 ARMZ took a 51% share in Canadian-based Uranium One Inc, paying for this with $610 million in cash and by exchange of assets in Kazakhstan: 50% of JVs Akbastau, Karatau and Zarechnoye, mining the Budenovskoye and Zarechnoye deposits. (An independent financial advisor put the value of ARMZ's stakes in the Akbastau and Zarechnoye JVs at $907.5 million.) Uranium One has substantial production capacity in Kazakhstan, including now those two mines with Karatau, Akdala, South Inkai and Kharasan, as well as small prospects in USA and Australia. In 2013 ARMZ completed the purchase of outstanding shares in Uranium One, and it became a full subsidiary of ARMZ.

Following this, Rosatom established Uranium One Holding NV (U1H) as its platform for all international uranium mining assets belonging to Russia, with headquarters in Amsterdam. It lists assets in Kazakhstan, USA, Australia and Tanzania. In 2013 it accounted for 5086 tU production at average cash cost of $16/lb U3O8, and reported 229,453 tU measured, indicated and inferred resources (attributable share). The company plans to extend its interests into rare earths. Its ‘strategic partner’ is JSC NAC Kazatomprom.

ARMZ remains responsible for uranium mining in Russia. At the end of 2013 it was 82.75% owned by Rosatom and 17.25% TVEL. Exploration expenditure has nearly doubled in two years to about US$ 52 million in 2008. In 2013 the government approved an exploration budget of RUR 14 billion ($450 million) through to 2020, principally in the Far East and Northern Siberia. Deposits suitable for ISL mining will be sought in the Transurals, Transbaikal and Kalmykyia. Other work will be in the Urals, Siberian, Far East Federal Districts (Zauralsky, Streltsovsky, Vitimsky and Vostochno-Zabaikalsky, and Elkonsky ore regions).

CJSC Rusburmash (RBM) is the exploration subsidiary of ARMZ.
In December 2010 ARMZ made a $1.16 billion takeover bid for Australia's Mantra Resources Ltd which has a prospective Mkuju River project in southern Tanzania, which was expected in production about 2013 at 1400 tU/yr. This is now under U1H.

Domestic mining

In 2009 the government accepted Rosatom’s proposal for ARMZ and Elkonsky Mining and Metallurgical Combine to set up the “open-type joint stock company” EGMK-Project. The state’s contribution through Rosatom to the EGMK-Project authorized capital will be RUR 2.657 billion, including RUR 2.391 billion in 2009 and RUR 0.266 billion in 2010. EGMK-Project is being set up to draw up the project and design documentation for Elkonsky Mining and Metallurgical Combine (see below).
The Russian Federation’s main uranium deposits are in four districts:
  • The Trans-Ural district in the Kurgan region between Chelyabinsk and Omsk.
  • Streltsovskiy in the Transbaikal or Chita region of SE Siberia near the Chinese and Mongolian borders.
  • The Vitimsky district in Buryatia about 570 km northwest of Krasnokamensk.
  • The more recently discovered remote Elkon district in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) some 1200 km north-northeast of the Chita region.
Present production by ARMZ is principally from the Streltsovskiy district, where major uranium deposits were discovered in 1967, leading to large-scale mining, originally with few environmental controls. These are volcanogenic caldera-related deposits. Krasnokamensk is the main town serving the mines.
In 2008 ARMZ said that it intended to triple production to 10,300 tU per year by 2015, with some help from Cameco, Mitsui and local investors. ARMZ planned to invest RUR 203 billion (US$ 6.1billion) in the development of uranium mining in Russia in 2008-2015. It aimed for 20,000 tU per year by 2024. Total cost was projected at RUR 67 billion ($2 billion), mostly at Priargunsky, with RUR 4.8 billion ($144 million) there by end of 2009 including a new $30 million, 500 tonne per day sulfuric acid plant commissioned in 2009, replacing a 1976 acid plant.

Russian uranium mining

Production centre Region First production Orebody Known resources: tU Capacity: tU/yr
Priargunsky Transbaikal/ Chita 1968 volcanic 98,000 3000
Dalur Trans-ural/ Zauralsk 2004 sandstone 11,000 800
Khiagda Vitimsky, Buryatia 2010 sandstone 32,000 1000
Gornoye Transbaikal/ Chita deferred granite 3200 300
Olovskaya Transbaikal/ Chita deferred volcanic 8210 600
Elkon Yakutia/ Sakha (2020) metasomatite 303,600 5000
Lunnoye Yakutia/ Sakha (2016?) polymetallic 800 100 with gold
Source: 2014 ‘Red Book’ except Olovskaya and Lunnoye.

Russian uranium production, tonnes U

Production centre 2012 2013 2014 2015
Priargunsky 2011 2133 1970
Dalur 529 562 578
Khiagda 332 440 442 plan 500+
Gornoye - -
Olovskaya - -
Elkon - -
Lunnoye - -
Total 2872 3135   2990

Trans-Ural/Zauralsk district, Kurgan region

A modest level of production is from Dalur in the Trans-Ural or Zauralsk uranium region. This is a low-cost (US$ 40/kg) acid in situ leach (ISL) operation in sandstones. Uksyanskoye is the town supporting Dalur mine. ARMZ’s 2008 plan had production at Dalur by acid ISL increasing from 350 to 800 tU/yr by 2019 (expanding from the Dalmatovskoye field to Khokhlovskoye then Dobrovolskoye). In 2014 it produced 578 tU. In 2014 JSC Dalur completed further exploration of the Khokhlovskoye deposit and increased its resources from 4700 to 5500 tonnes. Production from it will increase from 50 tU in 2015 to 200 t/yr by 2019. Dalur reserves in 2013 were quoted by ARMZ at 9,900 tonnes.

Streltsovskiy district, Chita/ Transbaikal region

Here, several large underground mines operated by JSC Priargunsky Industrial Mining and Chemical Union (PIMCU – 85% ARMZ) supply low-grade ore to a central mill near Krasnokamensk. Historical production from Priargunsky is reported to be 140,000 tU (some from open cut mines) and 2011 known resources (RAR + IR) are quoted as 115,000 tU at 0.159%U. In 2013 ‘reserves’ were quoted by ARMZ at 108,700 tonnes. Production is up to about 3000 tU/yr, about one tenth of it from heap leaching. In 2014 production was 1970 tU. 

The company has six underground mines, most of them operating: Mine #1, Mine #2, Glubokiy Mine, Shakhta 6R, Mine #8 with extraction from Maly Tulukui deposit, and Mine #6 developing the Argunskoye and Zherlovoye deposits. In 2014 PIMCU closed Mine #2 temporarily and commenced full production from Mine #8. Mining the Tulukui pit (apparently of mine #4) ceased in the early 1990s due to low grades, but now low-cost block-type underground leaching will be employed in the pit bottom from March 2015 to recover the remaining 6000 tU. Following this the pit will be filled with low-grade ore for heap leaching. Mine #2 was making a loss in 2013 due to market conditions, and stoping operations resumed in February 2015, with production target 130 tU for the year, from average grade 0.15%. It is now known as section 2 of mine #8. Some production has been exported to France, Sweden and Spain.

ARMZ's 2008 plan called for Priargunsky's production to be expanded from 3000 to 5000 tU/yr by 2020. Mine #6 development began in 2009 for stage 1 production from 2015 to reach full capacity in 2019, at a cost of RUR 30 billion ($975 million), but this was put on hold in 2013. In March 2015 ARMZ said it hoped to find co-investors in the project, and federal funds may be forthcoming. Stage 2 was to commence in 2024. Mine #8 began producing in 2011, towards phase 1 target capacity of 400 t/yr by the end of 2014. Total cost of development will be RUR 4.8 billion (RUR 3.5 billion for phase 1). However, a re-evaluation of reserves in 2012 suggested that mineable resources apart from Mine #6 amounted to only 32,000 tU. Mine #8 resources were quoted at 12,800 tU in December 2012. In 2014 PIMCU investigated the Streltsovskoye ore field, as part of the Kaldera project. Four promising areas over 100 sq km were identified with resources estimated at 80,000 tU, and they will be explored over 2015-17.

In 2014 PIMCU completed an upgrade of its sulfuric acid plant to take daily production from 400 to 500 tonnes, for use in both the conventional mill and in underground and heap leaching. Also the mill (hydrometallurgical plant) process was improved.

Development of Olovskoye and Gornoye deposits* in the Transbaikal region near Priargunsky towards Khiagda would add 900 tU/yr production for RUR 135 billion ($5.7 billion). Measured resources together are 12,200 tU and inferred resources 1600 tU, all at 0.072% average (JORC-compliant). In 2007 newly-formed ARMZ set up two companies to undertake this, and possibly attract some foreign investment:
  • Gornoye Uranium Mining Company to develop the Gornoye and Berezovoye mines in the Krasnochikoysky and Uletovsky districts in Chita, with underground mining and some heap leach (ore grade 0.226%U) to produce 300 tU/yr from 2014.
  • Olovskaya Mining & Chemical Company to develop the Olovskoye deposits in the Chernyshevsk district of Chita region with underground, open cut and heap leach to produce 600 tU/yr from 2016.
  • However, according to the 2014 'Red Book', both these are on hold.
* 2006 plans were for 2000t/yr at new prospects in Chita Region and Buryatia (Gornoye, Berezovoye, Olovskoye, Talakanskoye properties etc.), plus some 3000t at new deposits.
In 2006 Priargunsky won a tender to develop Argunskoye and Zherlovoye deposits in the Chita region with about 40,000 tU reserves. Dolmatovsk and Khokhlovsk have also been identified as new mines to be developed (location uncertain).

Vitimsky district, Buryatia

JSC Khiagda's operations are at Vitimsky in Buryatia about 570 km northwest of Krasnokamensk, serving Priargunsky's operations in Chita region, and 140 km north of Chita city. They are starting from a low base – in 2010 production from the Khiagdinskoye ore field was 135 tU, rising to 440 tU in 2013 (fully utilising the pilot plant) and targeting 1000 tU/yr from 2018 with a new plant. These are a low-cost (US$ 40/kg) acid in situ leach (ISL) operations in sandstones, and comprise the only ISL mine in the world in permafrost. Groundwater temperature is 1-4°C, giving viscosity problems, especially when winter air temperature is -40°C. The main uranium mineralisation is a phosphate, requiring oxidant addition to the acid solution. In the Khiagdinskoye field itself there are eight palaeochannel deposits over 15 x 8 km, at depths of 90 to 280 metres (average 170 m). Single orebodies are up to 4 km long and 15 to 400 m wide, 1 to 20 m thick.
JSC Khiagda has resources of 55,000 tU amenable to ISL mining, with potential estimated at 100,000 tU, though in 2013 ‘reserves’ were quoted by ARMZ at 39,800 tonnes. The 2008 ARMZ plan envisaged production from JSC Khiagda's project increasing to 1800 tU/yr by 2019, but in 2013 the higher target was postponed. In 2014 JSC Khiagda continued construction of the main production facility and on the sulfuric acid plant which is due for commissioning in mid-2015. Its design capacity is 110,000 t/yr. The company aims to start mining the Istochnoye and Vershinnoye deposits 5-10 km from Khiagdinskoye from 2016 and 2017 respectively, and development of these is proceeding. In 2013 reserves were confirmed for the Dybrynskoye, Koretkondinskoye, Kolichikanskoye and Vershinnoye fields or deposits. The other two fields in the immediate vicinity are Namaru and Tetrakhskoye. All these occur over an area about 50 x 20 km and within 15 km of Khiagdinskoye field. There are also plans to install plant for extracting rare earth oxides (REO) as by-product. The nearest towns are Romanovka, 133 km north of Chita, and Bagdarin.

Elkon district, Sakha/Yakutia

ARMZ’s principal focus is development of the massive Elkon project with several mines in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) some 1200 km north-northeast of the Chita region. The Elkon project is in a mountainous region with difficult climate conditions and little infrastructure, making it a challenging undertaking. Production from metasomatite deposits is planned to ramp up to 5000 tU/yr over ten years, for RUR 90.5 billion ($3 billion), and 2020 start up is now envisaged. Elkon is set to become Russia's largest uranium mining complex, based on resources of over 270,000 tU. It will involve underground mining, radiometric sorting, milling, processing and uranium concentrate production.
Elkon Mining and Metallurgical Combine (EMMC) was set up by ARMZ to develop the substantial Elkonsky deposits. The Elkon MMC project involves the JSC Development Corporation of South Yakutia and aims to attract outside funding to develop infrastructure and mining in a public-private partnership, with ARMZ holding 51%. Foreign equity including from Japan, South Korea and India is envisaged, and in March a joint venture arrangement with India was announced. The Elkon MMC developments are to become “the locomotive of the economic development of the entire region”, building the infrastructure, electricity transmission lines, roads and railways, as well as industrial facilities, from 2010. Of 15 proposed construction sites, three have been tentatively selected: at the mouth of Anbar River, Diksi Village and Ust-Uga Village. The building of four small floating co-generation plants to supply heat and electricity to northern regions of Yakutia is linked with the Elkon project in southern Yakutia.
There are eight deposits in the Elkon project with resources of 320,000 tU* (RAR + IR) at average 0.146%U, with gold by-product: Elkon, Elkon Plateau, Kurung, Neprokhodimoye, Druzhnoye (southern deposits), as well as Severnoye, Zona Interesnoye and Lunnoye (see above). In mid 2010 ARMZ released JORC-compliant resource figures for the five southern deposits: 71,300 tU as measured and indicated resources, and 158,500 tU as inferred resources, averaging 0.143%U. ARMZ pointed out that the resource assessment against international standards will increase the investment attractiveness of EMMC. However, in September 2011 ARMZ said that production costs would be US$ 120-130 /kgU, which would be insufficient in the current market, and costs would need to be cut by 15-20%.
* 257,800 tU of this was in the five southern deposits. The 2011 Red Book gives 271,000 tU resources for Elkon, or 319,000 tU in situ.
First production from EMMC was expected in 2015 ramping up to 1000 tU/yr in 2018, 2000 tU/yr in 2020 and 5000 tU/yr by 2024 based on the southern deposits as well as Severnoye and Zona Interesnoye. This schedule has slipped by about five years. Also, it is remote, and mining will be underground, incurring significant development costs. ARMZ and EMMC are seeking local government (Sakha) support for construction of main roads and railways to access the Elkon area, and make investment there more attractive.
JSC Lunnoye was set up by ARMZ at the same time as EMMC to develop a small deposit jointly by ARMZ (50.1%) and a gold mining company Zoloto Seligdara as a pilot project to gain practical experience in the region in a polymetallic orebody. Lunnoye is expected in full production in 2016, reaching 100 tU/yr. It has reserves of 800 tU and 13 t gold, and is managed by Zoloto Seligdara. ARMZ in mid 2011 expressed impatience with the rate of development.

Further prospects

The Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency (Rosnedra) was planning to transfer about 100,000 tonnes of uranium resources to miners, notably ARMZ, in 2009-10, and 14 projects, mainly small to medium deposits, were prepared for licensing then. They are located mainly in Streltsovskiy (Chita), Zauralskiy (Trans-Ural) and Vitimskiy uranium regions.
The projects prepared for licensing include:
in Chita Region – Zherlovskoye, Pyatiletnee, Dalnee and Durulguevskoye;
in Republic of Buratiya – Talakanskoye, Vitlausskoye, Imskoye, Tetrakhskoye, and Dzhilindinskoye;
in Kurgan Region – Dobrovolnoye;
in Khabarovsk Territory – Lastochka;
in Republic of Tyva – Ust-Uyuk and Onkazhinskoye;
in Republic of Khakassia – Primorskoye.
All together these projects have 76,600 tonnes of reasonably assured and inferred resources, plus 106,000 tonnes of undiscovered resources.
In February 2009 Rosnedra published a list of deposits to be offered for tender in 2009. They are located in the Republic of Karelia, Irkutsk Region and Leningrad Region. In particular, Tyumenskiy in Mamsko-Chuiskiy District of Irkutsk Region is to be offered for development. Also, in the second quarter of 2009 Shotkusskaya ploshchad in Lodeinopolsky District of Leningrad Region will be put out to tender. In the Republic of Karelia the offer comprises Salminskaya ploshchad in Pitkyaranskiy District and the Karku deposit. None of these 2009 offerings has reasonably assured or inferred resources quoted, only "undiscovered" resources in Russia's P1 to P3 categories.

Foreign and private equity in uranium mining

In October 2006 Japan's Mitsui & Co with Tenex agreed to undertake a feasibility study for a uranium mine in eastern Russia to supply Japan. First production from the Yuzhnaya mine in Sakha (Yakutia) Republic is envisaged for 2009. Mitsui has an option to take 25% of the project, and is funding $6 million of the feasibility study. Construction of the Yuzhnaya mine is likely to cost US$ 245 million, with production reaching 1000 tU/yr by 2015. This would represent the first foreign ownership of a Russian uranium mine.
Following from previous deals with Tenex, in November 2007 Cameco signed an agreement with ARMZ. The two companies are to create joint ventures to explore for and mine uranium in both Russia and Canada, starting with identified deposits in northwestern Russia and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Nunavut.
In addition to ARMZ, private companies may also participate in tenders for mining the smaller and remote uranium deposits being prepared for licensing in Russia. ARMZ is open to relevant investment projects with strategic partners, and Lunnoye deposit is an example where a private company Zoloto Seligdara is partnering with ARMZ.

Mine rehabilitation

Some RUR 340 million (US$10m) is being allocated in the federal budget to rehabilitate the former Almaz mine in Lermontov, Stavropol Territory, in particular Mine 1 on Beshtau Mountain and Mine 2 on Byk Mountain, as well as reclamation of the tailings dump and industrial site of the hydrometallurgical plant. The work will be undertaken by Rosatom organizations under Rostechnadzor. In 2008, rehabilitation of Lermontovsky tailings was included in a federal target program, and over RUR 360 million was allocated for the purpose.

Secondary supplies

Some uranium also comes from reprocessing used fuel from VVER-440, fast neutron and submarine reactors - some 2500 tonnes of uranium has so far been recycled into RBMK reactors.
Also arising from reprocessing used fuels, some 32 tonnes of reactor-grade plutonium has been accumulated for use in MOX. Added to this there is now 34 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium from military stockpiles to be used in MOX fuel for BN-600 and BN-800 fast neutron reactors at Beloyarsk, supported by a $400 million payment from the USA. Some of this weapons plutonium may also be used in the MHR high-temperature gas-cooled reactor under development at Seversk.
About 28% of the natural uranium feed sent to USEC in USA for enrichment, and contra to the LEU supplied from blended-down Russian military uranium, is being sent to Russia for domestic use. The value of this to mid 2009 was US$ 2.7 billion, according to Rosatom. See also Military Warheads as Source of Fuel paper.
Russia's uranium supply is expected to suffice for at least 80 years, or more if recycling is increased. However, from 2020 it is intended to make more use of fast neutron reactors.

Fuel Cycle Facilities: front end

Many of Russia's fuel cycle facilities were originally developed for military use and hence are located in former closed cities (names bracketed) in the country. In 2009 the conversion and enrichment plants were taken over by the newly-established JSC Enrichment & Conversion Complex, and in 2010 this became part of TVEL, a subsidiary of Atomenergoprom.
Seversk is a particular focus of new investment, with Rosatom planning to spend a total of RUR100 billion on JSC Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) over 2012-20 to develop its “scientific, technical and production potential in terms of nuclear technology.” SCC comprises several nuclear reactors and plants for conversion, enrichment, separation and reprocessing of uranium and separation of plutonium. In 2012 Rosatom announced that it was investing RUR 45.5 billion ($1.6 billion) in SCC at Seversk to 2017 for modernising the enrichment capacity and setting up a new conversion plant.


Russia’s total uranium conversion capacity is about 25,000 tU/yr, but only about half of this is used as of 2013.
TVEL plans to consolidate its conversion capacity at JSC Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) at Seversk near Tomsk, where some capacity already operates. In 2012 Rosatom said it would spend RUR 7.5 billion to set up a new conversion plant at SCC Seversk, to commence operation in 2016. The new plant is designed to have a capacity of 20,000 tU per year from 2020, including 2000 t of recycled uranium. Public hearings on the project were under way in 2014.
The main operating conversion plant has been at Angarsk near Irkutsk in Siberia, with 18,700 tonnes U/yr capacity – part of TVEL's JSC Angarsk Electrolysis & Chemical Combine (AECC). In anticipation of the planned new plant at SCC Seversk however, the Angarsk conversion plant was shut down in April 2014.
TVEL also had conversion capacity at Kirovo-Chepetsky Chemical Combine (KCCC) in Glazoy, which was shut down in the 1990s. Since 2009 this has been a RosRAO site, for clean-up
The Elektrostal conversion plant, 50 km east of Moscow, has 700 tU/yr capacity for reprocessed uranium, initially that from VVER-440 fuel. It is owned by Maschinostroitelny Zavod (MSZ) whose Elemash fuel fabrication plant is there. Some conversion of Kazakh uranium has been undertaken for west European company Nukem, and all 960 tonnes of recycled uranium from Sellafield in UK, owned by German and Netherlands utilities, has been converted here. UK-owned recycled uranium has also been sent there.


Four enrichment plants totalling 24 million kg SWU/yr of centrifuge capacity operate at Novo-Uralsk near Yekaterinburg in the Urals, Zelenogorsk (Krasnoyarsk-45), Seversk near Tomsk and Angarsk near Irkutsk – the last three all in Siberia. The first two service foreign primary demand and Seversk specialises in enriching reprocessed uranium, including that from western Europe. As of early 2011, all are managed by TVEL, rather than Tenex (Techsnabexport).
Plant Operator Capacity (M SWU/yr) Special features
Novouralsk JSC Urals Electrochemical Combine 10 Can enrich to 30%,
Tails enrichment
Zelenogorsk PA ElectroChemical Plant (ECP) 8.7 (expanding to 12) Tails enrichment
Seversk JSC Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) 3.0 RepU enrichment
Angasrk JSC Angarsk Electrolysis & Chemical Combine 2.6 Tails enrichment
total 24.3

The Novouralsk (Novo-Uralsk) plant is part of the JSC Urals Electrochemical Combine (UECC) in the Sverdlovsk region. It has operated 8th generation centrifuges since 2003, and is now starting to operate 9th generation units. The TVEL-Kazakh JV Uranium Enrichment Centre (UEC) is buying a 25% share of UECC and becoming entitled to half its output – up to 5 million SWU/yr (see below). In April 2013 the government commission for control over foreign investments approved this sale.

The Zelenogorsk plant is known as the PA ElectroChemical Plant (ECP) in the Krasnoyarsk region (120 km east of that city), and has ISO 14001 environmental accreditationand is starting to run 9th generations centrifuges. Rosatom plans to invest RUR 70 billion ($2.3 billion) by 2020 in developing the plant, with up to 90% of the new centrifuges installed there to make it the main enrichment plant. It is the site of a new deconversion plant (see below).

The Seversk plant is part of the JSC Siberian Chemical Combine (Sibirsky Khimichesky Kombinat – SKhK or SCC), Tomsk region, which opened in 1953. It is about 15 km from Tomsk. As well as the enrichment plant with substantial capacity for recycled uranium the site has other facilities, and several plutonium production reactors (now closed). It is starting to run 9th generations centrifuges. 

Angarsk, near Irkutsk in Siberia, is part of the JSC Angarsk Electrolysis & Chemical Combine (AECC). It is the only enrichment plant located outside a "closed" city, nor has it had any defence role, and hence was to be the site of the new International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) and fuel bank. In 2014 AECC said it would retain its present capacity. In December 2014 it started to undertake enrichment of tails (depleted UF6) stored on site, and expects this to continue to 2030.

Diffusion technology was phased out by 1992 and all plants now operate modern gas centrifuges, with fitting of 8th generation equipment now complete. This has a service life of up to 30 years, compared with half that previously. The last 6th & 7th generation centrifuges were set up in 2005, 8th generation equipment was supplied over 2004 to 2012, and about 240,000 units per year replaced 5th generation models. (6th generation units are still produced for export to China.) The technology is attributed by Nuclear.Ru to VNIPIET in St Petersburg, though Tenex took over responsibility for manufacturing the equipment through JSC Russian Gas Centrifuge and JSC Khimprom Engineering. Production was consolidated at Kovrov Mechanical Plant (KMP) in Vladimir region and the Urals Gas Centrifuge Plant (UZGT) in Novouralsk – some had been at Tocmash to 2012. The first 9th generation centrifuges were supplied to UECC early in 2013 from UZGT, following 2012 production at KMP.

The UECC Novouralsk plant is the largest (10 M SWU/yr) and can enrich to 30% U-235 (for research and BN fast reactors), the others only to 5% U-235. The JSC Electrochemical Plant (ECP) at Zelenogorsk is 5.8 M SWU/yr and is introducing ISO9001 quality assurance system. In June 2011 Rosatom said the plant's capacity was now 8.7 M SWU/yr and it planned to increase that to 12 M SWU/yr by 2020 at a cost of RUR 45-60 billion with a view to exporting its services. In mid 2012 the first 8th-generation centrifuges were installed and commissioned here.

A significant proportion of the capacity of both plants – some 7 M SWU/yr – was taken up by enrichment of former tails (depleted uranium), including for west European companies Areva and Urenco. According to WNA sources, about 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes of tails per year, with U-235 assays between 0.25% and 0.40%, has been shipped to Russia for re-enrichment to about 0.7% U-235 since 1997. The tails were stripped down to about 0.10% U-235, and remain in Russia, being considered a resource for future fast reactors. The contracts for this work for Urenco and Areva ended in 2010.

A portion of the Zelenogorsk capacity, about 4.75 M SWU/yr, is taken up with re-enrichment of tails to provide 1.5% enriched material for downblending much of the Russian HEU destined for USA (though all the other three plants may have contributed over the 20 years). 

Seversk capacity is about 3 M SWU/yr, and some recycled uranium (from reprocessing) has been enriched here for Areva, under a 1991 ten-year contract covering about 500 tonnes UF6. (French media reports in 2009 alleging that wastes from French nuclear power plants was stored at Seversk probably refer to tails from enrichment of the recycled uranium.) It is understood to be enriching the 960 tU of reprocessed uranium from Sellafield in UK, belonging to its customers in Germany and Netherlands, sent to Elektrostal in eight shipments over 2001-09.

In 2012 Rosatom announced that it was investing RUR 45.5 billion ($1.6 billion) in SCC at Seversk to 2017 for modernising the enrichment capacity and setting up a new conversion plant.

Angarsk (AECC) is the smallest of three Siberian plants, with capacity of about 2.6 million SWU/yr. In July 2011 TVEL confirmed that there were no plans to expand it. The International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) has been set up at Angarsk (see following IUEC section).

TVEL-Kazakh JV Uranium Enrichment Centre (UEC)

In the context of a December 2006 agreement with Kazakhstan, in 2008 Kazatomprom set up a 50-50 joint venture with Techsnabexport (Tenex) for financing a 5 million SWU/yr increment to the Angarsk plant, with each party to contribute about US$ 1.6 billion and hold 50% equity. It then appeared that initial JV capacity would be about 3 million SWU/yr, with first production in 2011. However, in 2010 Rosatom announced that this would not proceed, due to surplus world capacity, but other joint venture enrichment arrangements with Kazatomprom were offered, notably up to a 49% share in Novouralsk or Zelenogorsk.

After deciding that it would be uneconomic to expand capacity at Angarsk, in March 2011 it was announced that Kazatomprom would buy a share in Urals Electrochemical Combine (UECC) which owns the Novouralsk plant through its 50% equity in the TVEL-Kazakh JV Uranium Enrichment Centre (UEC), "instead of building new capacity at AECC" at Angarsk where UEC was originally established. In mid-2011 it was reported that Kazatomprom would acquire shares in UECC either directly (30%) or in the event as a 50% shareholder in UEC with TVEL, related to the need to enrich 6000 tU/yr. Over 2012-13 UEC acquired 25% of UECC, and UEC became operational in the second half of 2013, with access to 5 million SWU/yr – about half of UECC production. The cost of the Kazatomprom share, earlier estimated by it at $500 million, was not disclosed. The first batch of enriched uranium was shipped in November 2013. UEC share of production in 2014 was 4.99 million SWU.


Russia's W-ECP deconversion plant is at Zelenogorsk Electrochemical Plant (ECP). The 10,000 t/yr deconversion (defluorination) plant was built by Tenex under a technology transfer agreement with Areva NC, so that depleted uranium can be stored long-term as uranium oxide, and HF is produced as a by-product. The W-ECP plant is similar to Areva's W2 plant at Pierrelatte in France and has mainly west European equipment. It was commissioned in December 2009 and to the end of 2014 had processed 40,000 t DU fluoride. The Russian-designed phase 2 for production of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride was commissioned in December 2010. During the five years to end of 2014, a total of over 25,000 tonnes of hydrofluoric acid and some 4500 t of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride were shipped to customers.

Fuel fabrication

This is undertaken by JSC TVEL, which supplies 76 nuclear reactors in Russia and 13 in other countries as well as 30 research reactors and fuel for naval and icebreaker reactors. Its operations are certified against ISO 9001 and it has about 17% of the world market for fabricated fuel.
TVEL has the following fuel fabrication plants with combined capacity of 2500 t/yr finished fuel:
  • The huge Maschinostroitelny Zavod (MSZ) at Elektrostal 50 km east of Moscow – known as Elemash.
  • Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NCCP) in Siberia.
  • Chepetsk Mechanical Plant (CMP) near Glazov in Udmurtiya which makes zirconium cladding and also some uranium products.
Most fuel pellets for RBMK and VVER-1000 reactors were being made at the Ulba plant at Ust Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan, but Elemash and Novosibirsk have increased production. MSZ/Elemash produces fuel assemblies for both Russian and west European rectors using fresh and recycled uranium. It also fabricates research reactor and icebreaker fuel. Novosibirsk produces mainly VVER 440 & 1000 fuel, including that for initial use in China. MSZ/Elemash is the principal exporter of fuel assemblies. Total production is about 1400 t/yr, including fuel assemblies for VVER-440, VVER-1000, RBMK-1000, BN-600 reactors, powders and fuel pellets for delivery to foreign clients. The plant also produces nuclear fuel for research reactors.
TVEL’s NCCP also produces pure lithium-7 for use in PWR cooling systems, and accounts for over 70% of world supply.

Some PWR reactors, e.g. Kalinin 2 and Balakovo 3, are using recycled uranium in TVSA fuel assemblies from TVEL.

In late 2007 it was decided that MOX fuel production using recycled materials should be based on electrometallurgical (pyrochemical) reprocessing and vibropack dry processes for fuel fabrication, as developed at RIAR. The goals for closing the fuel cycle included minimising cost, recycle of minor actinides (for burning), excluding separated plutonium, and arrangement of all procedures in remote systems to allow for 'hot' materials.
There is no plan or provision to use MOX in light-water reactors.

FNR fuel fabrication, MOX and nitride

A 60 t/yr commercial mixed oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) started up at Zheleznogorsk (formerly Krasnoyarsk-26, 70 km NE of Krasnoyarsk) in 2014, operated by the Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC or GKhK). This was built at a cost of some RUR 7 billion as part of Rosatom’s Proryv, or 'Breakthrough', project, to develop fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle whose mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel will be reprocessed and recycled. It is also the Russian counterpart to the US MFFF for disposition of 34 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium. The MFFF will make 400 pelletised MOX fuel assemblies per year for the BN-800 and future BN-1200 fast reactors. The capacity is designed to be able to supply five BN-800 units. First production of fuel assemblies for Beloyarsk 4 is expected in 2014, and full capacity is expected in 2016. It is built in rock tunnels at a depth of about 200 metres.

Longer-term MCC Zheleznogorsk is intending to produce MOX granules for vibropacked fuel using civil plutonium oxide, ex-weapons plutonium metal and depleted uranium. Initial capacity of 14 t/yr of granules was funded to RUR 5.1 billion (US$ 169 million) over 2010-12. The granulated MOX is sent to RIAR Dimitrovgrad for vibropacking into FNR fuel assemblies. 

A small pelletised MOX fuel fabrication plant has operated at the Mayak plant at Ozersk since 1993, for BN-350 and BN-600 fuel (40 fuel assemblies per year), and it will supply some initial pelletised MOX fuel for BN-800 start-up. A new 14 tonne per year plant to fabricate dense mixed nitride fuel for fast neutron reactors is planned at PA Mayak, to operate from 2018. In the federal target program to 2020, RUR 9.35 billion (US$ 310 million) is budgeted for it. Later it may be expanded to 40 tonnes per year.

The Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR or NIIAR) at Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk, has a small MOX fuel fabrication plant. This produces vibropacked fuel which is more readily recycled. Under the federal target program this was allocated RUR 2.95 billion (US$ 83 million) for expansion to produce 400 fuel assemblies per year, from 2012. Its main research has been on the use of military plutonium in MOX, in collaboration with France, USA and Japan.

A fabrication plant for dense MOX fuel for fast reactors is planned for the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) at Seversk, to be completed by the end of 2017, and RUR 5.8 billion has been allocated by TVEL for the equipment. This was to use military plutonium.

Vibropacked MOX fuel (VMOX) is seen as the way forward. This is made by agitating a mechanical mixture of (U, Pu)O2 granulate and uranium powder, which binds up excess oxygen and some other gases (that is, operates as a getter) and is added to the fuel mixture in proportion during agitation. The getter resolves problems arising from fuel-cladding chemical interactions. The granules are crushed UPuO2 cathode deposits from pyroprocessing. VMOX needs to be made in hot cells. It has been used in BOR-60 since 1981 (with 20-28% Pu), and tested in BN-350 and BN-600 as part of a hybrid core (with some military plutonium). This was evaluated by OKBM and Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute.

The V.G. Khlopin Radium Institute has developed REMIX fuel. REMIX (from Regenerated Mixture) fuel is produced directly from non-separated mix of recycled uranium and plutonium from reprocessing used fuel with a LEU (16% U-235) uranium make-up. REMIX-fuel “can be repeatedly recycled with 100% core load in current VVER-1000 reactors and, correspondingly reprocessed many times.” In addition, the use of REMIX-fuel allows reducing consumption of natural uranium in VVERs by 20% at each recycle as compared with open fuel cycle. REMIX could serve as a replacement for existing reactor fuel. 

In collaboration with TVEL, the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) at Seversk is making test batches of dense nitride fuel for fast reactors. SCC completed tests on the first TVS-4 nitride fuel assembly in the BN-600 reactor in September 2014. In April 2015 two ETVS-5 fuel assemblies with nitride were put into the BN-600 for testing. RUR 17 billion is budgeted for the nitride fuel development, which is mainly for the BREST-300 reactor and part of the Proryv or Breakthrough project. Construction of the pilot nitride fuel plant started in March 2014 with a view to operation from 2017-18, in time to produce fuel for the first BREST-300 reactor. Construction of the reactor is set to begin in 2016 for 2020 operation. A nitride fuel reprocessing facility is expected to come online at SCC in 2022, and the Proryv project at SCC is expected to be fully operational from 2023.

TVEL owns 35% equity in the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Kazakhstan. This has major new investment under way. It has secured both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditation. Since 1973 Ulba has produced nuclear fuel pellets from Russian-enriched uranium which are used in Russian and Ukrainian VVER and RBMK reactors. Some of this product incorporates gadolinium and erbium burnable poisons. Ulba briefly produced fuel for submarines (from 1968) and satellite reactors. Since 1985 it has been able to handle reprocessed uranium, and it has been making fuel pellets incorporating this for western reactors, supplied through TVEL.
TVEL's Moscow Composite Metal Plant designs and makes control and protection systems for nuclear power reactors.

International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC)

The IUEC concept was inaugurated at the end of 2006 in collaboration with Kazakhstan, and in March 2007 the IAEA agreed to set up a working group and continue developing the proposal. In September 2007 the joint stock company Angarsk International Uranium Enrichment Centre (JSC Angarsk IUEC) was registered and a year later Rostechnadzor licensed the centre. 
Late in 2008 Ukraine's Nuclear Fuel Holding Company, SC Nuclear Fuel, decided to take a 10% stake in it, matching Kazatomprom's 10%, and this was effected in October 2010. Armenia finalised its 10% share in IUEC in May 2012 (2600 shares for RUR 2.6 million). Negotiations since then have proceeded with South Africa, Vietnam, Bulgaria, UAE, and Mongolia (in connection with Russian uranium interests there). Russia also invited India to participate in order to secure fuel for its Kudankulam plant. The aim is for Techsnabexport/TVEL eventually to hold only 51%. Each of the 26,000 IUEC shares is priced at RUR 1000.
Present equity in JSC Angarsk IUEC: TVEL 70%, Kazatomprom 10%, Ukraine: Nuclear Fuel 10%, Armenia NPP 10%.
The centre is to provide assured supplies of low-enriched uranium for power reactors to new nuclear power states and those with small nuclear programs, giving them equity in the project, but without allowing them access to the enrichment technology. Russia will maintain majority ownership. IUEC will sell both enrichment services (SWU) and enriched uranium product. Arrangements for IAEA involvement were being sorted out in 2009, and in 2010 a feasibility study commenced on IUEC investment, initially for equity in JSC Angarsk Electrolysis & Chemical Combine (AECC) so that part of its capacity supplies product to IUEC shareholders.
The existing enrichment plant at Angarsk was to feed the IUEC and accordingly was removed from the category of "national strategic installations", though it had never been part of the military program. In February 2007 the IUEC was entered into the list of Russian nuclear facilities eligible for implementation of IAEA safeguards. The USA has expressed support for the IUEC at Angarsk.
Development of the IUEC was envisaged in three phases:
  1. Use part of the existing capacity at Angarsk in cooperation with Kazatomprom and under IAEA supervision.
  2. Expand Angarsk capacity (perhaps double) with funding from new partners by 2017.
  3. Full internationalisation with involvement of many customer nations under IAEA auspices.
In 2012-13 the IUEC website ( said that “the JSC IUEC has been established within the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Complex, but it can use capacities of other three Russian combines to diversify production and optimize logistics.”

IUEC guaranteed LEU reserve ('Fuel Bank')

In November 2009 the IAEA Board approved a Russian proposal to create an international guaranteed reserve or "fuel bank" of low-enriched uranium under IAEA control at the IUEC at Angarsk. This was established a year later and comprises 123 tonnes of low-enriched uranium as UF6, enriched 2.0 - 4.95% U-235 (with 40t of latter), available to any IAEA member state in good standing which is unable to procure fuel for political reasons. It is fully funded by Russia, held under safeguards, and the fuel will be made available to IAEA at market rates, using a formula based on spot prices. Following an IAEA decision to allocate some of it, Rosatom will transport material to St Petersburg and transfer title to IAEA, which will then transfer ownership to the recipient. The 120 tonnes of low-enriched uranium as UF6 is equivalent to two full fuel loads for a typical 1000 MWe reactor, and in 2010 was worth some US$ 250 million. 

This initiative will complement the proposed IAEA 'fuel bank' in Kazakhstan by making more material available to the IAEA for assurance of fuel supply to countries without their own fuel cycle facilities. In May 2012 it was announced that this IAEA ‘fuel bank” would be located at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Kazakhstan, which has 50 years experience in handling UF6. The IAEA signed an agreement for this with the Kazakh government in April 2015.

Used Fuel and Reprocessing

Russian policy is to close the fuel cycle as far as possible and utilise recycled uranium, and eventually also to use plutonium in MOX fuel. However, its achievements in doing this have been limited – in 2011 only about 16% of used fuel was reprocessed, this being from VVER–440s, BN-600, research reactors and naval reactors. It is used for RBMK fuel. Rosatom’s head of used fuel management has said that the target for 2020 is 100%. He outlined several projects towards this at two sites:
  • At Mayak Production Association in Ozersk, the RT-1 spent fuel reprocessing facility will be first updated, and then decommissioned in about 2030.
  • At Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) in Zheleznogorsk, the MOX fuel fabrication plant for fast reactors would be completed in 2014 (see above).
  • At MCC the pilot demonstration center (PDC), for used nuclear fuel reprocessing will be completed by 2016.
  • At MCC the full-scale RT-2 facility will be completed to reprocess VVER, RBMK and BN used fuel into mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel or into Remix – the regenerated mixture of uranium and plutonium oxides.
  • At MCC the spent fuel pool storage is replaced by dry storage, which will become the destination for all of Russia’s used fuel..
All used fuel is stored at reactor sites for at least three years to allow decay of heat and radioactivity. High burn-up fuel requires longer before it is ready to transport. At present the used fuel from RBMK reactors and from VVER-1000 reactors is stored (mostly at reactor sites) and not reprocessed. It is expected that used fuel in storage will build up to about 40,000 tonnes by the time substantial reprocessing at MCC Zheleznogorsk gets under way about 2022. The materials from this will be burned largely in fast reactors by 2050, when none should remain.

In late 2007 it was decided that MOX fuel production using recycled materials from both light water and fast reactors should be based on electrometallurgical (pyrochemical) reprocessing. The goals for closing the fuel cycle are minimising cost, minimising waste volume, recycle of minor actinides (for burning), excluding separated plutonium, and arrangement of all procedures in remote-handled systems. This reprocessing route remains to be developed.

RT-1 reprocessing plant

Used fuel from VVER-440 reactors Kola 1-4 and Rovno 1-2 in Ukraine), the BN-600 (Beloyarsk) and from naval reactors is sent to the Mayak Chemical Combine's 400 t/yr RT-1 plant (Chelyabinsk-65) at Ozersk, near Kyshtym 70 km northwest of Chelyabinsk in the Urals for reprocessing. The original reprocessing plant at the site was hastily built in the mid 1940s, for military plutonium production in association with five producer reactors (the last shut down in 1990). The RT-1 plant started up in 1971 and employs the Purex process. It had reprocessed about 5000 tonnes of used fuel to 2012 and is reported to be running at about 100 t/yr capacity, following the loss of foreign contracts, but also that reprocessing does not keep pace with inputs, so some used fuel is stored there, along with vitrified HLW. About 93% of its feed is from Russian and Ukrainian VVER-440 reactors, about 3% from naval sources or icebreakers and 3% from BN-600. It earlier reprocessed BN-350 used fuel. Damaged used fuel is to be reprocessed there to avoid the need for prolonged storage.
Recycled uranium is enriched to 2.6% U-235 by mixing RepU product from different sources and is used in all fresh RBMK fuel, while separated plutonium oxide is stored. High-level wastes are vitrified and stored. A project to upgrade the RT-1 plant and enable it to take VVER-1000 fuel is due to be completed in 2015. The 2009 federal program had it reaching 500 t/yr from 2012. However, after the commissioning of the RT-2 plant at MCC, it is due to be decommissioned about 2030. Used fuel storage capacity there is being increased from 6000 to 9000 tonnes.

Zheleznogorsk MCC, Pilot Demonstration Centre and RT-2 reprocessing plant

VVER-1000 used fuel is sent to the Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC) (Gorno-Khimichesky Kombinat - GHK) at Zheleznogorsk (Krasnoyarsk-26) in Siberia for storage. The site is about 60 km north of Krasnoyarsk. This fuel comes from three Russian, three Ukrainian and one Bulgarian plants. A large pool storage facility was built by MCC at Zheleznogorsk in 1985 for VVER-1000 used fuel, though its 6000 tonne capacity would have been filled in 2010. The facility was fully refurbished over 2009-10, and some dry storage capacity was commissioned in 2011. In December 2009 Rostechnadzor approved pool storage expansion to 7200 tonnes and in August 2010 MCC was seeking approval to expand it to 8400 tonnes capacity to allow another 6 years input. RBMK fuel is being transferred to dry storage there pending a final decision on reprocessing it. 

A Pilot Demonstration Centre (PDC) for several reprocessing technologies is under construction by MCC at Zheleznogorsk at a cost of RUR 8.4 billion, to be commissioned by 2016 as a "Strategic Investment Project". Its initial capacity will be 100 t/yr, with later increase to 250 t/yr in 2018. It will have innovative technology including embrittlement by crystallization, and simultaneous gas, thermo and mechanical spent fuel assembly shredding. Initially it will deal with VVER-1000 fuel, later with fuel from fast reactors. It will effectively be the first stage of the large redesigned RT-2 plant at the MCC/GHK site to be operational about 2024. The cost of RepU product is expected to be some EUR 500/kg. It is suggested that the PDC “can be used for demonstration of the closed nuclear fuel cycle of thermal neutron reactors running on REMIX-fuel” as well as producing MOX fuel.

The RT-2 reprocessing plant at Zheleznogorsk is now on track for completion with 700 t/yr capacity. Originally it was planned to have two 1500 t/yr lines, but for some time the project was under review. Construction started in 1984 but halted in 1989 when 30-40% complete due to public opposition and lack of funds, though in 1993 it was officially reported as "under construction". It is now being redesigned and is expected to operate from around 2025, for both VVER-1000 and RBMK fuel, and also BN fuel. The facility could form part of the new Global Nuclear Infrastructure Initiative (see international section below). 

At SCC Seversk a reprocessing plant for nitride fuel from BREST fast reactors is envisaged to operate from 2022, closing that fuel cycle. In October 2014 SCC announced a tender for a project works for a plant to be completed by 2018, with VNIPIET as SCC’s preferred bidder. The actual RUR 20 billion plant is to have capacity of 5 t/yr used fuel from BREST-300 and 0.5 t/yr of “rejects from electrolysis process and americium-containing burning elements.” This will be part of the Pilot Demonstration Power Complex with the BREST reactor.

Since 2004 an 8600 tonne dry storage facility for used fuel (INF DSF-2) has been under construction at Zheleznogorsk and the first stage was completed by the E4 Group at the end of 2011 at a cost of about US$ 500 million for the MCC/GHK. It is the largest dry storage facility in the world and will take 8129 tonnes of RBMK fuel, initially from Leningrad and Kursk power plants, followed by Smolensk. RBMK fuel is not presently economic to reprocess so has been stored at reactor sites, and when transferred to MCC from 2012 will be stored in hermetically sealed capsules filled with nitrogen and helium, inside a building but air cooled. The second stage of MCC dry storage will take VVER-1000 fuel currently in wet storage there and increase capacity to over 32,000 tonnes (25,000 t RBMK, 7000 t VVER). It is expected to be commissioned about the end of 2015. The wet storage facility is to be decommissioned in 2026. Used fuel will be stored for up to 50 years, pending reprocessing.

(Three decommissioned graphite-moderated reactors which principally produced military plutonium, with associated underground reprocessing plant, are also at MCC Zheleznogorsk. The huge underground complex, 200-250 m deep, was originally established in 1950 for plutonium and weapons production.)

Some kind of radioactive waste processing plant is under construction at the Kursk nuclear power station, according to Nikimt-Atomstroy. A completed section, fully operational by the end of 2014, will process liquid radioactive waste. The two remaining sections of the project include a processing facility for solid radioactive waste and a storage facility.

In June 2011 Rosatom announced that it was investing RUR 35 billion in MCC to 2030, including particularly MOX fuel fabrication. In February 2012 the figure was put at RUR 80 billion minimum.
Bilibino's LWGR used fuel is stored at site.

Other MOX plants

A small MOX fuel fabrication plant has operated at the Mayak complex at Ozersk since 1993. A 60 t/yr commercial MOX fabrication plant for fast reactors is under construction by MCC at Zheleznogorsk (the site of the ADE2 military plutonium production reactor), to be completed in 2014.
Another MOX plant for disposing of military plutonium is planned at Seversk (Tomsk-7) in Siberia, to the same design as its US equivalent. (Seversk had the other two dual-purpose but basically military plutonium production reactors, totalling 2500 MWt. One of these – ADE4 – was shut down in April 2008, the other – ADE5 – in June 2008.) See also Fuel Fabrication section above.


Russia's Duma passed a new Federal Law on Radioactive Waste Management in June 2011, after 19 months consideration and many amendments. It was passed by the state Council in July and then signed into law. It establishes a legal framework for radioactive waste management, provides for a national radwaste management system meeting the requirements of the Joint Convention on the Safe Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel and on the Safe Management of Radioactive Waste ratified by Russia in 2006. 
Rosatom and the National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management – FSUE NO RAO – is now responsible for coordination and execution of works associated with radwaste management, notably its disposal. This includes military wastes. The law establishes time limits for interim radwaste storage and volume limits for waste generators, and defines how they should bring wastes in condition suitable for disposal and transfer it to the national operator along with payment of disposal charges. Import and export of radwaste is banned. All newly-generated waste is the responsibility of its generators who will pay for its disposal and storage, with funds accumulated in the SC Rosatom’s bank account as a special fund. However, the 2011 law did not address how to resolve property disputes in siting, nor local authority responsibilities, nor financing mechanisms for affected municipalities. In October 2014 NO RAO submitted to Rosatom proposals for changes in legislation on these matters so that it could proceed with its mandate.

Rosatom plans to draft two more laws: on decommissioning and used fuel management.

FSUE RosRAO is a Moscow-based Rosatom company providing commercial back-end radwaste and decommissioning services for intermediate- and low-level wastes as well as handling non-nuclear radwaste and nuclear decommissioning. It commenced operation in 2009 under a temporary arrangement pending finalisation of regulations under the new legislation, and became part of Rosatom’s Life Cycle Back-End Division (LC BED) in 2013. It incorporates Radon, and now has branches in each of seven federal districts. The Kirovo-Chepetsk branch is responsible for decommissioning that conversion plant with 440,000 tonnes of wastes by 2025 at a cost of RUR 2.1 billion.

RosRAO’s Fokino branch of the Far East Centre for Radioactive Waste Management (DalRAO) in the Maritime Territory operates a long-term open-air storage facility in Razboinik Bay for reactor compartments* from dismantled submarines. The long-term storage facility was under construction from 2006 with Japanese assistance and was commissioned in 2012. It has three ‘nuclear maintenance ships’ and the Japanese government donated a floating dock and other equipment to move the reactor compartments. RosRAO plans a Regional Center for Conditioning and Long-term Storage of Radioactive Waste (RAW Regional Center) here, mainly for naval wastes pending handover to NO RAO. 

* In 2014 the first three were brought ashore, in 2015 RosRAO plans to move five and then raise the number to ten per year, with a total of 54 three-compartment units to be placed. In October 2014 the last spent fuel from dismantled nuclear submarines in the Maritime Territory was dispatched to the Mayak reprocessing plant.

RosRAO's northern centre is SevRAO, in the Murmansk region, which is engaged in remediation of the sites of Navy Northern Fleet bases, and dismantling of retired nuclear-powered naval ships and submarines. In May 2014 SevRAO signed a RUR100 million contract with Norway’s Finnmark to upgrade the Andreeva Bay storage facility. This was set up in the 1960s but closed after an accident in 1982, and resumed operation with Norway’s support in late 1990s. 

RosRAO is envisaged as an international operator, providing back-end fuel cycle services globally.

The National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (NO RAO) is a federal-state unitary enterprise set up in March 2012 as the national manager of Russia's used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, including its disposal. It is the national operator for handling all nuclear waste materials and the single organisation authorised to carry out final disposal of radioactive waste, and also other related functions. Its functions and tariffs are set by government, notably the Ministry of Natural Resources. Its branches are at Zheleznogorsk in Krasnoyarsk, Seversk in Tomsk, Dimitrovgrad in Ulyanovsk and (from late 2013) Novouralsk in Sverdlovsk.

NO RAO is planning repositories for 300,000 m3 of LLW and ILW, and these plans are to be in place by 2018. It has received local government approval in the Chelyabinsk and Tomsk regions on the final disposal of low- and intermediate-level wastes (LLW/ILW) at the sites of Mayak Production Association in Ozersk and Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC), based in Tomsk. It is planning an underground research laboratory in Nizhnekansky granitoid massif at Zheleznogorsk near Krasnoyarsk for study into the feasibility of disposal of solid HLW and solid medium-level long-lived wastes by 2024. See below.

The System of State Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials and Radioactive Waste (SSAC RM&RAW) is intended to perform physical inventory testing of nuclear materials and radioactive waste at their locations, and carry out accounting and control of them at the federal, regional and departmental levels. In February 2015 Rosatom introduced an automated system for accounting and control of radwastes from more than 2000 organisations, which is to be fully implemented by the end of the year. 

In July 2013 Rostechnadzor issued five-year licences to the three regional branches of NO RAO, for “activities associated with final disposal of liquid radioactive waste.”

About 32 million cubic metres of radioactive waste is to be disposed of within the framework of NO RAO’s program at a cost of about RUR 307 billion, according to Rosatom. NO RAO’s investment program runs to 2035 and includes capital investment in infrastructure of RUR 158 billion ($4.77 billion). Owners of the radioactive waste needing disposal are to provide 80% of that money, while the remaining 20% is to come from the federal budget. In 2013, 24,000 tonnes of used fuel was reported to be awaiting reprocessing or disposal. Rosatom’s Social Council plays a major role in achieving public acceptance.

Plant 20 at PA Mayak, Ozersk, is understood to be a military plutonium processing facility employing 1900 people. There was a plan to close it down and transfer operations to the Siberian Chemical Combine at Seversk as part of restructuring the nuclear weapons complex, but this was cancelled in March 2010. In 2011 Rostechnadzor said that urgent attention was needed “to the 20 open liquid radioactive waste pools, including decommissioning those at FGUP PA Mayak as containing the highest concentration and amount of liquid radioactive waste.”

Used fuel from Russian-built foreign power and research reactors is repatriated, much of it through the port of Murmansk. Some 70 containers were unloaded and moved south by rail over 2008-2014.

A dedicated ship to transport used up to 720 tonnes of nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes was built for Atomflot in Italy, and completed in 2011. The Rossita is apparently primarily for military wastes and fuel from decommissioned submarines, and is used on the Northern Sea Route cruising between Gremikha, Andreeva Bay, Saida Bay, Severodvinsk and other territories hosting facilities which dismantle nuclear submarines.

Waste disposal, geological repositories

No repository is yet available for high-level wastes. Earlier, site selection was proceeding in granite on the Kola Peninsula, and 30 potential disposal sites have been identified in 18 regions, including Siberia, the Urals, the Volga region and the Northwest federal district in order of priority. In 2003 Krasnokamensk in the Chita region 7000 km east of Moscow was suggested as the site for a major spent fuel repository. 

Then in 2008 the Nizhnekansky Rock Massif at Zheleznogorsk in Krasnoyarsk Territory was put forward as a site for a national deep geological repository. Rosatom said the terms of reference for the facility construction would be tabled by 2015 to start design activities and set up an underground rock laboratory. Public hearings on the Nizhnekansky Granite Massif were held in July 2012 and in November 2013 it was identified in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme as the planned repository site. The National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (NO RAO) envisages the establishment of an underground laboratory in the Yeniseysky area for these wastes and then no less than nine years' research. It completed the design documentation for the underground laboratory in March 2015. A decision on repository construction is due by 2025, and the facility itself is to be completed by 2035. Phase 1 of the facility is to be designed to hold 20,000 tonnes of intermediate- and high-level wastes, which will be retrievable. 

Low- and Intermediate-level wastes are mostly handled similarly to those in other countries. Radon has been the organisation responsible for medical and industrial radioactive wastes. It has had 16 storage sites for wastes up to intermediate level. Not far outside Moscow, the major Radon facility has both laboratories and disposal sites. Other near-surface storage facilities were in 2008 planned for Sosnovy Bor, Glazov, Gatchina, Novovoronezh, Kirovo-chepetsky, Murmansk, Sarov, Saratov, Bilibino, Kransokamensk, Zelenogorsk, Seversk, Dimitrovgrad, Angarsk, and Udomlya. In 2010 RosRAO planned to draft a general scheme with locations of radwaste repositories (from both nuclear power plant operations and nuclear weapons disposal) to be set up by 2020-2035. Sosnovy Bor in the Leningrad oblast was identified in the November 2013 Regional Energy Planning Scheme as a planned repository site for low- and intermediate-level wastes, and NO RAO has carriage of this.

However, Russia has also for many years used deep-well injection for low- and intermediate-level wastes from some facilities, notably Seversk, Zheleznogorsk and Dimitrovgrad. These are mainly wastes from reprocessing. A Central Europe review report in 1999 said that the wells ranged from 300 up to 1500 metres deep, and that Seversk was the main site utilising the method, with 30 million cubic metres injected. This practice has delayed Russian acceptance of an IAEA standard for radioactive waste disposal, since it has no packaging or engineered barriers and relies on the geology alone for safe isolation. The new 2011 Radioactive Waste Management law said that “Underground disposal of liquid radioactive waste may be executed, in accordance with the requirements of federal regulations and rules, inside geological formations (‘collector horizons’) as limited by the bounds of the area allotted, within which liquid radioactive waste must remain localised.” In the November 2013 Regional Energy Planning Scheme two active sites for deep geological disposal of liquid radioactive waste (LRW) are identified: Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk oblast, on the NIIAR site 1300 km SE of Moscow, and a northern one: Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk territory in Siberia, on the MCC site. A preliminary finding of the 2013 IRRS mission from IAEA was that “License conditions related to the safety assessment and safety case of liquid radioactive waste disposal facilities should be revised.”

Energospetsmontazh announced in March 2015 that the trial operation of plasma-based processing of radioactive waste had started at Novovoronezh. The system is designed for plasma pyrolysis processing of solid radioactive waste of medium and low activity containing both combustible and non-combustible components.

In 2008 there were tentative plans to build 4 to 6 regional waste repositories for low- and intermediate-level waste containing short-lived radionuclides in North-West, East-European, South Urals regions and in European South of Russia. For wastes containing long-lived radionuclides, establishing one or two repositories in Siberia and South Urals was envisaged.

Kyshtym accident and related pollution

There was a major chemical accident at Mayak Chemical Combine (then known as Chelyabinsk-40) near Kyshtym in Russia in 1957. This plant had been built in haste in the late 1940s for military purposes. The failure of the cooling system for a tank storing many tonnes of dissolved nuclear waste resulted in an explosion due to ammonium nitrate having a force estimated at about 75 tonnes of TNT (310 GJ). Most of the 740-800 PBq of radioactive contamination settled out nearby and contributed to the pollution of the Techa River, but a plume containing 80 PBq of radionuclides spread hundreds of kilometres northeast. The affected area was already very polluted – the Techa River had previously received about 100 PBq of deliberately dumped waste, and Lake Karachay had received some 4000 PBq. This ‘Kyshtym accident’ killed perhaps 200 people and the radioactive plume affected thousands more as it deposited particularly Cs-127 and Sr-90. It is rated as a level 6 ‘serious accident’ on the International Nuclear Event Scale, only surpassed by Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents.

Up to 1951 the Mayak plant had dumped its wastes into the Techa River, whose waters ultimately flow into the Ob River and Arctic Ocean. Then they were disposed of into Lake Karachay until at least 1953, when a storage facility for high-level wastes was built – the source of the 1957 accident. Finally, a 1967 duststorm picked up a lot of radioactive material from the dry bed of Lake Karachay and deposited it on to the surrounding province. It appears that some radioactive discharges into the Techa River continued, and that in particular between 2001 and 2004, some 30-40 million cubic metres of radioactive effluent was discharged near the reprocessing facility, which “caused radioactive contamination of the environment with the isotope strontium-90.” There is no radiological quantification. 

The outcome of these three events made some 26,000 square kilometres the most radioactively-polluted area on Earth by some estimates, comparable with Chernobyl.


Rostechnadzor oversees a major program of decommissioning old fuel cycle facilities, financed under the Federal target program on Nuclear and Radiation Safety. The government said it planned to spend some $5 billion to 2015 on decommissioning and waste management. Since 1995 nuclear power plants have contributed to a decommissioning fund.

Six civil reactors are being decommissioned: an experimental 50 MWt LWGR type at Obninsk which started up in 1954 (5 MWe) and was the forerunner of RBMKs, two early and small prototype LWGR (AMB-100 & 200) units – Beloyarsk 1&2, the Melekess VK-50 prototype BWR, and two larger prototype VVER-440 units at Novovoronezh, a V-210 and V-365 type. The last five were shut down 1981-90 and await dismantling. The fuel has been removed from these and that from Novovoronezh has been shipped to centralised storage in Zheleznogorsk and will be stored there for about ten years before reprocessing. The Beloyarsk fuel is still on site since reprocessing technology for it is not yet available. The plant is being dismantled, and the site is due to be clear by 2032.

Shutdown Civil Power Reactors

Reactor Power, MWe (Proto)type Started Shut down
Obinsk AM-1 6 (50 MWt)  LWGR 1954 2002
Beloyarsk 1, AMB-100 108 LWGR 1964 1981
Beloyarsk 2, AMB-200 160 LWGR 1968 1990
Melekess 50 VK-50 1964 1988
Novovoronezh 1 210 VVER-440/V-210 1964 1988
Novovoronezh 2 336 VVER-440/V-365 1970 1990

At Novovoronezh 1&2 a decommissioning project with partial dismantling of equipment was prepared and a licence was expected in 2010. Work will take several years, and buildings are likely to be re-used. In particular that portion of the site houses the district heating pumps and equipment, which provides 75% of the heat for the city, and a spare parts store for Rosenergoatom.
In 2010 Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) in collaboration with Rosatom set up the JSC Pilot Demonstration Center for Decommissioning of Uranium-Graphite Reactors (PDC UGR) at SCC site to implement a decommissioning concept for 13 shut-down uranium-graphite production reactors (PUGR) for military plutonium. These are at Mayak Chemical Combine at Ozersk (5), near Kyshtym, at Siberian Chemical Combine, Seversk (5), and at Mining & Chemical Combine, Zheleznogorsk (3). The last plutonium production reactor, ADE-2 at Zheleznogorsk, finally closed for decommissioning in April 2010.* The fuel has been removed from the shut-down reactors and nearly all of it has been reprocessed at Mayak and Seversk. The concept provides for building multiple safety barriers and sealing of shut-down reactors rather than their dismantling, at a cost estimated to be RUR 2 billion (US$ 67 million) each. Entombment is the option selected for EI-2, ADE-4 and ADE-5 reactors. All 13 are expected o be decommissioned by 2030 (EI-2 in 2015). In 2009 SCC won a tender to prepare for decommissioning of the four Bilibino reactors (due to close 2019-21) and two closed ones at Beloyarsk.

*Russia's plutonium was produced by 13 reactors at three sites: PO Mayak (in Ozersk, also known as Chelyabinsk-65), SKhK - the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk, also known as Tomsk-7 - (ADE-3, 4 & 5, EI-1, EI-2), and GKhK - the Mining and Chemical Combine in Zheleznogorsk, also known as Krasnoyarsk-26 - (AD, ADE-1 & 2). The five Mayak reactors produced an estimated 55.9t of weapons-grade plutonium between 1948 and 1990, the five SKhK reactors produced 69.1t between 1955 and 1994, and the three GKhK reactors produced 44.2t between 1958 and 1994. Ten of these reactors were shut down between 1987 and 1992.

In January 2014 Rosatom announced that the PDC UGR, having established its credibility and expertise, would cease to be part of SCC and become part of its new End-of-Life (EOL) Management Division, under the Federal Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (FC NRS).
Three nuclear-powered icebreakers have been decommissioned: Lenin, Sibir and Arktika, also the support vessel: Lepse which held some used nuclear fuel from the Arctic fleet. Lepse was taken out of the water in October 2014 for further dismantling at the Nerpa Shipyard in Murmansk. Lenin is being turned into a museum. 

In 2014 the Angarsk Electrolysis & Chemical Complex (AECC) said that decommissioning of its conversion plant and diffusion enrichment plants would require RUR 20 billion ($500 million). Decommissioning the conversion capacity at Kirovo-Chepetsky Chemical Combine which was shut down in the 1990s is expected to cost RUR 2.1 billion.


The State Corporation (SC) Rosatom is a vertically-integrated holding company which took over Russia's nuclear industry in 2007, from the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAEA, also known as Rosatom). This had been formed from the Ministry for Atomic Energy (Minatom) in 2004, which had succeeded a Soviet ministry in 1992. The civil parts of the industry, with a history of over 60 years, are consolidated under JSC AtomEnergoProm (AEP).
During 2008 there was a major reorganisation or "privatisation" of nuclear industry entities involving change from Federal State Unitary Enterprises (FSUE) to Joint Stock Companies (JSC), with most or all of the shares held by AtomEnergoProm. By mid August 2008, 38 of 55 civil nuclear FSUEs had been reformed. Some renaming occurred due to new restrictions on the use of "Russia" or derivatives (eg "Ros") in JSC names. In mid 2014 eight of the remaining FSUEs were designated ‘federal nuclear organisation’, including Mayak PA and MCC.
The State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom (as distinct from the earlier Rosatom agency) is a non-profit company set up in 2007 to hold all nuclear assets, including more than 250 companies and organisations, on behalf of the state. In particular, it holds all the shares in the civil holding company AtomEnergoProm (AEP). It took over the functions of the Rosatom agency and works with the Ministries of Industry and Energy (MIE) and of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) but does not report to any particular ministry. Early in 2012 the government announced that its civil divisions might be privatised, at least to 49% share in individual entities.
SC Rosatom divisions are:
  • Nuclear weapons complex
  • Nuclear & Radiation Safety and wastes
  • Nuclear Power – Atomenergoprom, Rosenergoatom
  • Research & Training
  • Atomflot – Arctic fleet of seven nuclear icebreakers and one nuclear merchant ship
AtomEnergoProm (Atomic Energy Power Corporation, AEP) is the single vertically-integrated state holding company for Russia's nuclear power sector, separate from the military complex. It was set up at the end of 2007 to include uranium production, engineering, design, reactor construction, power generation, isotope production and research institutes in its several branches, but not used fuel reprocessing or disposal facilities. It incorporates more than 80 enterprises operating in all areas of the nuclear fuel cycle. The April 2007 Presidential decree establishing it specifies nuclear materials, which may be owned exclusively by the state, lists Russian legal entities allowed to possess nuclear materials and facilities, existing joint stock companies to be incorporated into the Atomenergoprom, and lists federal state unitary enterprises to be corporatized first and incorporated into the Atomenergoprom at a later stage. Exclusive state ownership of nuclear materials had been seen as a barrier to competitiveness and other Russian corporate entities will now be allowed to hold civil-grade nuclear materials, under state control. 

Entities from Atomenergoprom itself down to various third-level subsidiaries will be joint stock companies eventually. Public investment in the bottom level operations is envisaged – the joint venture between Alstom and Atomenergomash to provide large turbines and generators is cited as an example.

JSC AtomEnergoProm's many entities include the following (most are JSCs):
- ARMZ Uranium Holding Co (JSC AtomRedMetZoloto) – uranium production – owns Russian mine assets,
- Uranium One Holding Co (U1H) – responsible for all foreign uranium mining,
- Techsnabexport (Tenex) – foreign trade in uranium products and services,
- JSC Enrichment & Conversion Complex,
- TVEL – enrichment and nuclear fuel fabrication,
- Atomproekt, the new name for VNIPIET (All-Russia Science Research and Design Institute of Power Engineering Technology) which since 2013 incorporates St Petersburg Atomenergoproekt (SPbAEP) – design of nuclear power projects, radiochemical plants and waste facilities,
- Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (NN AEP or NIAEP) – power plant design, from 2012: holding company for ASE. Sometimes now known as NIAEP-ASE. From October 2014 this is the parent company of Moscow Atomenergoproekt (AEP).
- Atomstroyexport (ASE) – construction of nuclear plants abroad, merged with NIAEP in 2012. Sometimes known as NIAEP-ASE. From the end of 2014, Atomenergoprom decided to transfer its shares in JSC Atomenergoproekt and 49% of those in NIAEP to ASE.
- Moscow Atomenergoproekt (AEP) – power plant design, now a subsidiary of NIAEP-ASE.
- Energospetsmontazh – construction and assembly, also repair of nuclear plants.
- Atomenergomash (AEM) – a group of companies building reactors,
- OKBM Afrikantov (formerly just OKBM – Experimental Design Bureau of Machine-building – Mashinostroyeniya) at Nizhny Novgorod- reactor design and construction,
- OKB Gidropress (Experimental Design Bureau pressurised water – Hydropress) at Podolsk near Moscow – PWR reactor design,
- JSC Rosenergoatom (briefly Energoatom) – responsible for construction and operation of nuclear power generation,
- Rusatom Overseas – responsible for implementing non fuel-cycle projects in foreign markets,
- Rusatom Service – coordination of servicing nuclear plants abroad,
- Atomenergoremont – maintenance and upgrading of nuclear power plants,
- Research & Development Institute for Power Engineering (NIKIET) at Moscow – power plant design (originally: submarine power plants)
- Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (CDBME) of the Russian Shipbuilding Agency – involved in some reactor design.
JSC Rosenergoatom is the only Russian organization primarily acting as a utility operating nuclear power plants. It was established in 1992 and reorganized in 2001 and then in 2008 as an open JSC. From December 2011 JSC Atomenergoprom holds 96% of the shares, and SC Rosatom (which owns Atomenergoprom) holds 4%. Rosenergoatom owns all nuclear power plants, both operating and under construction.
InterRAO UES was formerly a joint venture of Rosenergoatom and RAO UES, the utility which was broken up in mid 2008. It is now 57.3% owned by Rosatom and focused on electricity generation in areas such as Armenia and the Kaliningrad part of Russia, as the country's exporter and importer of electricity. It has 8 GWe of generating plant of its own and plans to increase this to 30 GWe by 2015, with the Baltic nuclear plant at Kaliningrad as an early priority. It heads a group of over 20 companies located in 14 countries, involving 18 GWe of capacity. Inter RAO-WorleyParsons (IRWP, with Inter RAO 51%) was set up in mid 2010 to work on the transfer of power engineering technology into Inter RAO's market and to promote Inter RAO's projects oversees.

Engineering and general designers
In July 2008 the St Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhny-Novgorod divisions of Atomernergoproekt were converted to joint stock companies, with all shares held by Atomenergoprom. The first two are engineering companies and general designers of nuclear power plants mainly using VVER reactors developed by Gidropress.

Atomproekt at St Petersburg was formed from the 2013 merger of St Petersburg Atomenergoproekt (SPbAEP) with the All-Russia Science Research and Design Institute of Integrated Power Engineering Technology – VNIPIET (established in 1933) to create the country’s largest nuclear power plant design and development company. It has a particular focus on fast reactors as well as VVER. The company supports all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, from a decision to start a nuclear power plant construction project to decommissioning. On completion of the merger in mid-2014 it became Atomproekt. Earlier, SPbAEP worked closely with Atomstroyexport (ASE) on exported plants. Atomproekt is responsible for Leningrad II plant, Beloyarsk, Baltic, and the Belarus, Tianwan, Hanhikivi and Paks II plants.

Atomproekt is also much involved in fuel fabrication and radioactive waste management. It is closely involved with the Proryv project for closed fuel cycle with fast reactors.

Atomenergoproekt (formerly Moscow AEP) established in 1986 is a major general design and engineering company for nuclear power plants. It may also function as general contractor. In October 2014 it became a subsidiary of NIAEP-ASE. 

Its version of the AES-2006 evolved to the VVER-TOI, which Rosatom says is planned to be standard for new projects in Russia and worldwide. It is general designer of Novovoronezh II, being built by NIAEP-ASE, Kursk II, Smolensk II as well as Kudankulam in India and Akkuyu in Turkey. It has been responsible for Kursk and Smolensk RBMK plants, Novovoronezh I, Balakovo, and the Zaporozhe, Temelin and Bushehr plants.
Plant construction

NIAEP-ASE: Nizhny-Novgorod Engineering Company Atomenergoproekt (NIAEP) set up in 1951 is building plants at Rostov (Volgodonsk) and Kalinin. NIAEP in March 2012 was merged with Atomstroyexport (ASE) to bolster the latter's engineering capability. (Earlier it had linked with ASE to utilize some 1980s VVER equipment not required for Bulgaria's proposed Belene plant, and built it at Kalinin.) NIAEP became a holding company for JSC ASE, but NIAEP-ASE was being used as acronym to late 2014. 

Atomstroyexport (ASE), established by merger in 1998, emerged from the reorganisation as a closed joint stock company owned by Atomenergoprom (50.2%) and Gazprombank (49.8%, it is 69% owned by Gazprom). Early in 2009 the Atomenergoprom and related equity was increased to 89.3% by additional share issue, leaving Gazprombank with 10.7%. It was responsible for export of nuclear plants to China, Iran, India and Bulgaria. In 2009 German-based Nukem Technologies GmbH, which specialises in decommissioning, waste management and engineering services, became a 100% subsidiary of Atomstroyexport. In 2012 ASE merged with Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (NN AEP or NIAEP) to form NIAEP-ASE.

Rosatom, through NIAEP-ASE, offers both EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) and BOO (build, own, operate) contracts for overseas nuclear power plant projects, the latter involving at least 25% Rosatom equity. Rosatom offers various kinds of project financing, including attraction of strategic and institutional investors and debt financing. Some project finance is covered by international agreements involving either export credits, Russian government credit or the participation of Russian state banks. It says that lending rates can be optimized for nuclear power plant projects, and up to 85% of the finance may be provided by government credit from Russia.

In November 2014 the projects in hand on the company website were: Rostov 3&4, Baltic 1&2, Nizhny Novgorod 1&2, Kursk II, all in Russia, and Kudankulam 1&2, Tianwan 3&4, Akkuyu 1-4, Ostrovets 1&2, Bushehr 1, Ninh Thuan 1&2. In mid-2013 Rooppur in Bangladesh was added (but then removed). It is also building a large (3x400 MWe) gas combined-cycle plant: South Ural/Yuzhnouralskaya GRES-2 units 1&2.

NIAEP (post 2012 merger) has a design institute in Nizhny-Novgorod, project management offices in Nizhny-Novgorod, Moscow and St Petersburg, and 11 representative offices in Europe and Asia to oversee projects.


Rusatom Service was set up in October 2011 by Rosenergoatom (51%), Atomenergomash (16%), Gidropress (16%) and Atomtekhenergo (16%). It will undertake maintenance and repair as well as modernization of Russian-design nuclear power plants abroad, applying Russian domestic experience. The company is also to work in the area of technical consultancy, training and retraining of plant personnel. The market is estimated at EUR 1.5 billion per year, rising to EUR 2.5 billion by 2020, including western-design reactors by then.

OTsKS – Rosatom Branch Centre for Capital Construction – was set up in August 2012 to manage its capital investment program in Russia and internationally. It oversees regulatory, technical and legal aspects of capital construction projects, as well as estimating costs and developing schedules. It also provides training for customer-contractors and general contractors such as NIAEP-ASE as well as the personnel of construction companies. Rosatom subsidiary companies had to complete their transition to new rules on planning capital construction projects developed by OTsKS, by the end of 2013. Its main customer is Rosenergoatom which is building about ten units in Russia, with 12 more planned by 2025.

AKME-engineering was established in 2009 to implement the SVBR-100 project at Dimitrovgrad, including design, construction and commercial operation. It is a JV of Rosatom and JSC Irkutskenergo, and is licensed for construction and operation of nuclear plants by Rostechnadzor.

The Federal Centre of Nuclear and Radiation Safety (FC NRS) is a federal-state unitary enterprise set up in 2007 by Rosatom as part of its End-of-Life (EOL) Management Division. The Pilot Demonstration Center for Decommissioning of Uranium-Graphite Reactors (PDC UGR) is to become part of it, rather than staying with SCC.

The National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (NO RAO) is a federal-state unitary enterprise set up in 2012 responsible for waste management and disposal. It is the National Operator for handling all nuclear waste materials, with functions and tariffs set by government. 

FSUE RosRAO provides commercial back-end radwaste and decommissioning services for intermediate- and low-level wastes as well as handling non-nuclear radwaste. It commenced operation in 2009 under a temporary arrangement pending finalisation of regulations under the new legislation. It incorporates Radon, which was the organisation responsible for medical and industrial radioactive wastes, and now has branches in each of seven federal districts. RosRAO’s Far East Centre (DalRAO) operates long-term storage for over 70 submarine reactor compartments, pending their recycling. Its northern centre is SevRAO, in the Murmansk region, is engaged in remediation of the sites of Navy Northern Fleet bases, and dismantling of retired nuclear-powered naval ships and submarines. RosRAO is envisaged as an international operator. RosRAO became part of Rosatom’s Life Cycle Back-End Division (LC BED) in 2013.

In 2013 Rosatom’s Life Cycle Back-End Division (LC BED) was set up to incorporate entities hitherto the responsibility of FC NRS: the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC), RosRAO, SPA V.G.Khlopin Radium Institute and Radon. FC NRS will continue involvement with the new division.

FSUE Atomflot is a Rosatom division operating the nuclear powered icebreakers and merchant ship in Arctic waters.

Situation and Crisis Centre of Rosatom was established in 1998 acts as the Operator of the Nuclear Industry System for Prevention and Management of Emergencies. It keeps track of nuclear enterprises and transport of nuclear materials.

SNIIP Systematom is an engineering company for nuclear and radiation safety systems. It will supply the equipment for automated radiation monitoring systems (ARMS) at the Kalinin 1 nuclear unit in Russia and Tianwan 4 in China.

The VI Lenin All-Russian Electrotechnical Institute and its affiliated Experimental Plant were made FSUEs by presidential decree in March 2015, and removed from the Ministry of Education & Science.

Supply chain entities

Atomenergomash (AEM) was set up in 2006 to control the supply chain for major reactor components. After an equity issue in 2009 it was 63.6% owned by AEP, 14.7% by TVEL and 7.6% by Tenex, and 7% by AEM-finance. In 2009 AEM had sales of RUR 16 billion. AEM companies claim to have provided equipment in 13% of nuclear plants worldwide.
The former main nuclear fabrication company, Atommash, was established in 1973 at Volgodonsk and went bankrupt in 1995. It was then profoundly restructured and resurrected as EMK-Atommash before becoming part of JSC Energomash, a major diversified engineering company apparently independent of Rosatom/AEP. Atommash largely moved away from nuclear equipment, though Atomenergomash (subsidiary of AEP) was keen to resuscitate it as an alternative heavy equipment supplier to OMZ. In 2009 Atomenergomash was doing due diligence on the Energomash group, apparently with a view to taking a half share in it, "to create competition in the segment of monopoly suppliers of long-lead nuclear equipment.” In October 2014 AEM-Assets, a subsidiary of Rosatom, received approval for a full takeover, acquiring the production assets and a 100% interest in Energomash LLC (Volgodonsk)-Atommash, the forging company, and Energomash JSC (Volgodonsk)-Atommash, which provides services related to the lease of equipment and immovable property.
Objedinennye Mashinostroitelnye Zavody (OMZ – Uralmash-Izhora Group) itself is the largest heavy industry company in Russia, and has a wide shareholding. Izhorskiye Zavody, the country's main reactor component supplier, became part of the company in 1999, and Skoda Steel and Skoda JS in Czech Republic joined in 2003. OMZ is expected to produce the forgings for all new domestic AES-2006 model VVER-1200 nuclear reactors (four per year from 2016), plus exports. At present Izhora can produce the heavy forgings required for Russia's VVER-1000 reactors at the rate of two per year, and it is manufacturing components for the first two Leningrad II VVER-1200 units.
The Power Machines Company (JSC Silovye Mashiny Concern, or Silmash) was established in 2000 and brought together a number of older enterprises including Leningradsky Metallichesky Zavod (LMZ), Elektrosila, Turbine Blades Factory, etc. Siemens holds 26% of the stock. Silmash makes steam turbines up to 1200 MWe, including the 1000 MWe turbines for Atomstroyexport projects in China, India and Iran, and has supplied equipment to 57 countries worldwide. It is making 1200 MWe turbine generators for the Leningrad and Novovoronezh II nuclear plants. A significant amount of Power Machines' business is in Asia.
The Russian EnergyMachineBuilding Company (REMCO) was established as a closed joint stock company in Russia in 2008, amalgamating some smaller firms, with half the shares owned by Atomenergomash. It is one of the largest manufacturers of complex heat-exchange equipment for nuclear and thermal power plants, oil and gas industry. Its subsidiaries include JSC Machine-Building Plant ZiO-Podolsk and JSC Engineering Company ZIOMAR.
JSC Machine Building Plant ZiO-Podolsk is one of the largest manufacturers designing and producing equipment for nuclear power and other plants. It has made equipment, including steam generators and heat exchangers, for all nuclear plants in the former USSR. It is increasing capacity to four nuclear equipment sets per year. It appears to be 51% owned by REMCO. It is making the reactor pressure vessel and other main equipment for the BN-800 fast reactor at Beloyarsk as well as steam generators for Novovoronezh, Kalinin 4, Leningrad and Belene.
In April 2007 a joint venture company to manufacture the turbine and generator portions of new nuclear power plants was announced by French engineering group Alstom and JSC Atomenergomash. The 49:51 Alstom-Atomenergomash LLC (AAEM) joint venture, in which both parties would invest EUR 200 million, was established at Podolsk, near Moscow. It includes the technology transfer of Alstom's state of the art Arabelle steam turbine and generator (available up to 1800 MWe) tailored to Russian VVER technology. In 2010 AAEM signed an agreement with Inter RAO-Worley Parsons (IRWP) to establish an engineering consortium to design turbine islands for Russia's VVER reactor-based nuclear power plants. At the same time Alstom signed strategic agreements with major Russian energy companies to jointly provide power generation products and services for Russia's power industry in hydro, nuclear and thermal power generation and electricity transmission. Another agreement, between Alstom Power and Rosatom, details plans to set up a local facility to manufacture Alstom's Arabelle steam turbines for nuclear plants. In 2011 Petrozavodskmash joined the group, and its site is more suitable for shipping large components, so in 2011 the company decided to build its factory for Arabelle manufacture at Petrozavodsk, in Karelia, by 2015 instead of continuing with ZiO-Podolsk near Moscow. First production was expected in 2013 with output reaching three 1200 MWe turbine and generator sets per year in 2016. The Baltic plant will be the first customer, in a RUB 35 billion order, with Russian content about 50%. This will increase to over 70% for subsequent projects.
In September 2007 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) signed an agreement with Russia's Ural Turbine Works (UTZ) to manufacture, supply and service gas and steam turbines in the Russian market. Under the agreement, MHI, Japan's biggest machinery maker, will license its manufacturing technologies for large gas turbines and steam turbines to UTZ – part of the Renova Group. The agreement also calls for a joint venture to be established in Russia to provide after-sales service.

Russia has developed several generations of centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Ninth-generation machines are now being deployed, 10th generation ones re being developed, and 11th generation are being designed. The 9th generation units are said to be 1.5 times as efficient as 8th. Overall since 1960, the machine weight, size and power characteristics have remained practically unchanged, but their efficiency was raised more than six-fold, design service life was increased from 3 to 30 years, and the SWU cost was reduced “several times”. Centrifuges for China under a US$ 1 billion contract are manufactured at both Tocmash and Kovrov Mechanical plant, both of which will become part of the Fuel Company being established by TVEL. Russia intends to export its centrifuges to the USA and SE Asia.

For more up to date information on heavy engineering, see paper on Heavy Manufacturing of Power Plants

Early in 2006 Rosenergoatom set up a subsidiary to supply floating nuclear power plants (BNPPs) ranging in size from 70 to 600 MWe. The plants are designed by OKBM in collaboration with others. The pilot plant, now under construction, is 70 MWe plus heat output and incorporates two KLT-40S reactors based on those in icebreakers.

Regulation and safety

Two main laws govern the use of nuclear power: the Federal Law on the Use of Atomic Energy (November 1995 and Federal Law on Radiation Safety of Populations (January 1996). These are supported by federal laws including those on environmental protection (2002) and the Federal Law on Radioactive Waste Management (2011).

Rostechnadzor ( and is the regulator, set up (as GAN) in 1992, reporting direct to the President. Because of the links with military programs, a culture of secrecy pervaded the old Soviet nuclear power industry. After the 1986 Chernobyl accident, changes were made and a nuclear safety committee established. The State Committee for Nuclear and Radiation Safety – Gosatomnadzor (GAN) succeeded this in 1992, being responsible for licensing, regulation and operational safety of all facilities, for safety in transport of nuclear materials, and for nuclear materials accounting. Its inspections can result in legal charges against operators. However, on some occasions when it suspended operating licences in the 1990s, Minatom successfully overrode this. In 2004 GAN was incorporated into the Federal Ecological, Technological & Atomic Supervisory Service, Rostechnadzor, which has a very wide environmental and safety mandate. It has executive authority for development and implementation of public policy and legal regulation in the environmental field, as well as in the field of technological and nuclear supervision. It controls and supervises natural resources development, industrial safety, nuclear safety (except for weapons), safety of electrical networks, hydraulic structures and industrial explosives. It licences nuclear energy facilities, and supervises nuclear and radiation safety of nuclear and radiologically hazardous installations, including supervision of nuclear materials accounting, control and physical protection.  A 2011 overview is on IAEA website.

Safety has evidently been improving at Russian nuclear power plants. In 1993 there were 29 incidents rating level 1 and higher on the INES scale, in 1994 there were nine, and since then to 2003, no more than four. Also, up until 2001 many employees received annual radiation doses of over 20 mSv, but since 2002 very few have done so.

In 2008 Rostechnadzor was transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, but this was reversed in mid 2010 and it was brought back under direct control of the government and focused on civil nuclear energy. Following other changes in federal legislation, an IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission in 2013 said that Rostechnadzor had made "significant progress" in its development since 2009 and had “become an effective independent regulator with a professional staff”. Rostechnadzor undertook to make the final IRRS report early in 2014 public.

The 1996 Federal Law on Radiation Safety of Populations is administered by the Federal Ministry of Health.

Rosprirodnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources ( needs to give environmental approval to new projects, through its State Environmental Commission.

Exports: fuel cycle

Soviet exports of enrichment services began in 1973, and Russia has strongly continued this, along with exports of radioisotopes. After 1990, uranium exports began, through Techsnabexport (Tenex).
In 2009 Tenex signed long-term enrichment services contacts with three US utilities – AmerenUE, Luminant and Pacific Gas & Electric – and one in Japan – Chubu. The contracts cover supply from 2014 to 2020. Then it contracted to supply enriched uranium product over the same period with Exelon, the largest US nuclear utility. By the end of 2010, the value of contracts with US companies rose to about $4 billion, beyond the diluted ex-military uranium already being supplied to 2013 from Russian weapons stockpiles. In 2012, Tenex supplied about 45% of world demand for enrichment services and 17% of that for fabricated fuel. It exported fuel for 34 reactors as well as supplying 33 Russian ones.
This US-Russian "Megatonnes to Megawatts" program supplies about 15% of world reactor requirements for enriched uranum and is part of a US$ 12 billion deal in 1994 between US and Russian governments, with a non-proliferation as well as commercial rationale. USEC and Tenex are the executive agents for the program. However, Rosatom confirmed in mid 2006 that no follow-on program of selling Russian high-enriched uranium from military stockpiles was anticipated once this program concludes in 2013. The 20-year program is equivalent to about 140,000 to 150,000 tonnes of natural uranium, and has supplied about half of US needs. By September 2010 it was 80% complete.
TVEL in 2010 won a tender to construct a fuel manufacturing plant in Ukraine, against competition from US company Westinghouse. Russia's long-term contract to supply fuel to the Ukrainian market is set to run until the end of the useful life of existing Ukrainian reactors, perhaps up to 35 years.
TVEL in 2014 secured contracts with foreign partners that exceeded $3 billion, keeping its ten-year order book at more than $10 billion. Contracts were signed with Finland, Hungary and Slovakia, as well as for research reactors in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Uzbekistan. TVEL said it has 17% of the global nuclear fuel supply market.
Rosatom has claimed to be able to undercut world prices for nuclear fuel and services by some 30%.
It was also pushing ahead with plans to store and probably reprocess foreign spent fuel, and earlier the Russian parliament overwhelmingly supported a change in legislation to allow this. The proposal involved some 10% of the world's spent fuel over ten years, or perhaps up to 20,000 tonnes of spent fuel, to raise US$ 20 billion, two thirds of which would be invested in expanding civil nuclear power. In July 2001 President Putin signed into effect three laws including one to allow this import of spent nuclear fuel (essentially an export of services, since Russia would be paid for it).

The President also set up a special commission to approve and oversee any spent fuel accepted, with five members each from the Duma, the Council, the government and presidential nominees, chaired by Dr Zhores Alferov, a parliamentarian, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Nobel Prize physicist. This scheme was progressed in 2005 when the Duma ratified the Vienna Convention on civil liability for nuclear damage. However in July 2006 Rosatom announced it would not proceed with taking any foreign-origin used fuel, and the whole scheme lapsed.

Exports: general, plants and projects

Russia is engaged with international markets in nuclear technology, well beyond its traditional eastern European client states. An important step up in this activity was in August 2011 when Rosatom established Rusatom Overseas company, with authorized capital of RUR 1 billion. It is responsible for implementing non fuel-cycle projects in foreign markets, though apparently it also promotes products, services and technologies of the Russian nuclear industry generally to the world markets. According to Rosatom, "Rusatom Overseas acts as an integrator of Rosatom's complex solutions in nuclear energy, manages the promotion of the integrated offer and the development of Russian nuclear business abroad, as well as working to create a worldwide network of Rosatom marketing offices." It also "acts as a developer of Rosatom's foreign projects, which are implemented with the build-own-operate (BOO) structure." One of the first projects that Rosatom is implementing using the BOO structure is the Akkuyu plant in Turkey. Rusatom plans to open some 20 offices around the world by 2015, as a market research front and shop window for all Rosatom products and services.

Rosatom in its 2012 annual report said that its portfolio of foreign orders was worth a total $66.5 billion, up 30.7% compared with the previous year. It aimed to increase these orders to $72 billion in 2013. Its long-term strategy, approved by its board in late 2011, calls for foreign operations to account for half of its business by 2030. It aims to hold at least one-third of the global enrichment services market by then, as well as 5% of the market for pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel. The corporation said that it is "actively strengthening its position abroad for the construction of nuclear power plants." Rosatom had a portfolio of export orders for 19 nuclear power reactors in 2012, but aims to have orders for the construction of some 30 power reactors outside of Russia by 2030. Rosatom's foreign order book rose by RUR 34 billion to reach RUR 101.4 billion by the end of 2014.

Atomstroyexport (ASE, now NIAEP-ASE) has had three reactor construction projects abroad, all involving VVER-1000 units. It is embarking upon and seeking more, as detailed in Nuclear Power in Russia companion paper.

Since 2006 Rosatom has actively pursued nuclear cooperation deals in South Africa, Namibia, Chile and Morocco as well as with Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Kuwait. In 2012 an agreement with Japan was concluded.

Tenex has also entered agreements (now taken over by ARMZ) to mine and explore for uranium in South Africa (with local companies) and Canada (with Cameco).

In September 2008 ARMZ signed a MOU with a South Korean consortium headed by Kepco on strategic cooperation in developing uranium projects. This included joint exploration, mining and sales of natural uranium in the Russian Federation and possibly beyond, but no more has been heard of it.

International Collaboration

Russia is engaged with international markets in nuclear energy, well beyond its traditional eastern European client states. In June 2011 Rosatom announced that it was establishing Rusatom Overseas company, a new structure to be responsible for implementing non fuel-cycle projects in foreign markets. It could act as principal contractor and also owner of foreign nuclear capacity under build-own-operate (BOO) arrangements. It is vigorously pursing markets in developing countries and is establishing eight offices abroad.
President Putin's Global Nuclear Infrastructure Initiative was announced early in 2006. This is in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 2005 proposal for Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (MNA) and with the US Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). The head of Rosatom said that he envisages Russia hosting four types of international nuclear fuel cycle service centres (INFCCs) as joint ventures financed by other countries. These would be secure and maybe under IAEA control. The first is an International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) – one of four or five proposed worldwide (see separate section). The second would be for reprocessing and storage of used nuclear fuel. The third would deal with training and certification of personnel, especially for emerging nuclear states. In this context there is a need for harmonized international standards, uniform safeguards and joint international centers. The fourth would be for R&D and to integrate new scientific achievements.
In March 2008 AtomEnergoProm signed a general framework agreement with Japan's Toshiba Corporation to explore collaboration in the civil nuclear power business. The Toshiba partnership is expected to include cooperation in areas including design and engineering for new nuclear power plants, manufacturing and maintenance of large equipment, and "front-end civilian nuclear fuel cycle business". In particular the construction of an advanced Russian centrifuge enrichment plant in Japan is envisaged, also possibly one in the USA. The companies say that the "complementary relations" could lead to the establishment of a strategic partnership. Toshiba owns 77% of US reactor builder Westinghouse and is also involved with other reactor technology.
Regarding reactor design, Rosatom has said it is keen to be involved in international projects for Generation IV reactor development and is keen to have international participation in fast neutron reactor development, as well as joint proposals for MOX fuel fabrication.
In April 2007 Red Star, a government-owned design bureau, and US company Thorium Power (now Lightbridge Corporation) agreed to collaborate on testing Lightbridge's seed and blanket fuel assemblies at the Kurchatov Institute with a view to using thorium-based fuel in VVER-1000 reactors. (see Thorium paper for details )
In 2006 the former working relationship with Kazakhstan in nuclear fuel supplies was rebuilt. Kazatomprom has agreed to a major long-term program of strategic cooperation with Russia in uranium and nuclear fuel supply, as well as development of small reactors, effectively reuniting the two countries' interests in future exports of nuclear fuel to China, Japan, Korea, the USA and Western Europe.
In June 2010 Rosatom signed a major framework agreement with the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) covering "nuclear energy development strategy, nuclear fuel cycle, development of next-generation reactors, future gas coolant reactor systems, radiation safety and nuclear material safety, prevention and emergency measures." Much of the collaboration will be focused on reprocessing and wastes, also sodium-cooled fast reactors. Subsequently EdF and Rosatom signed a further cooperation agreement covering R&D, nuclear fuel, and nuclear power plants - both existing and under construction.
In March 2007 Russia signed a cooperation declaration with the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), so that Russia became a regular observer in all NEA standing technical committees, bringing it much more into the mainstream of world nuclear industry development. Russia had been participating for some years in the NEA's work on reactor safety and nuclear regulation and is hosting an NEA project on reactor vessel melt-through. This agreement was expected to assist Russia's integration into the OECD, and in October 2011 Russia made an official request to join the NEA. It was accepted as the 31st member of the OECD NEA in May 2012, effective from January 2013. Russia will be represented by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rosatom, and nuclear regulator Rostechnadzor.
Over two decades to about 2010 a Russian-US coordinating committee* was discussing building a GT-MHR prototype at Seversk, primarily for weapons plutonium disposition. Today OKBM is responsible to collaboration with China on HTR development, though NIIAR and Kurchatov Institute are also involved.
* involving SC Rosatom, NIIAR, OKBM, RRC Kurchatov Institute and VNIINM on the Russian side and NNSA, General Atomics, Oak Ridge National Laboratory on the US side.

Research & Development

In mid-2009 the Russian government said that it would provide more than RUR 120 billion (about US$3.89 billion) over 2010 to 2012 for a new program devoted to R&D on the next generation of nuclear power plants. It identified three priorities for the nuclear industry: improving the performance of light water reactors over the next two or three years, developing a closed fuel cycle based on deployment of fast reactors in the medium term, and developing nuclear fusion over the long term. Rosatom said that its 2014 spending on R&D will amount to RUR 27-28 billion (US$ 528 million), about 4.5% of its proceeds. In 2013 it spent RUR 24 billion, and in 2012 RUR 22.7 billion on R&D.

Many research reactors were constructed in the 1950s and 60s. In 1998 more than 60 non-military research and test reactors were operational in Russia, plus three in former Soviet republics and eight Russian ones elsewhere. Most of these use ceramic fuel enriched to 36% or 90% U-235.

Kurchatov Institute

Russia has had substantial R&D on nuclear power for six decades. The premier establishment for this is the Russian Research Centre Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, set up 1943 as the Laboratory No. 2 of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In 2010 it joined the Skolkovo project, an R&D centre set up to rival Silicon Valley in the USA. It has run twelve research reactors there, six of which are now shut down. The 24 kW F-1 research reactor was started up in December 1946 and has passed its 60th anniversary in operation. The largest reactor is IR-8, of 8 MWt, used for isotope production.

The Kurchatov Institute has designed nuclear reactors for marine and space applications, and continues research on HTRs. Since 1995 it has been involved internationally with accounting, control and physical protection of nuclear materials. US Lightbridge Corporation's seed and blanket fuel assemblies are being tested there with a view to using thorium-based fuel in VVER-1000 reactors. 

Kurchatov’s Molten Salt Actinide Recycler and Transmuter (MOSART) is fuelled only by transuranic fluorides from uranium and MOX LWR used fuel, without U or Th support. The 2400 MWt reactor has a homogeneous core of Li-Na-Be or Li-Be fluorides without graphite moderator and has reduced reprocessing compared with the original US design. Thorium may also be used, though MOSART is described as a burner-converter rather than a breeder. 

Since 1955 the Institute has hosted the main experimental work on plasma physics and nuclear fusion, and the first tokamak systems were developed there. Since 1990, much of its funding comes from international cooperation and commercial projects.

Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (PNPI)

The Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (PNPI) is near St Petersburg but associated with the Kurchatov Institute. It was formerly the B.P. Konstantinov Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (PIYaF). In 1959 the WWR-M research reactor was put into operation, and in 1970 a 1 GeV proton synchrocyclotron started up, these continue in operation. A new 100 MWt high-flux reactor with 25 associated research facilities, PIK, is under construction there and achieved criticality in 2012. It uses 27 kg of 90% enriched uranium fuel. Once commissioned around 2015 PIK will be the most powerful high-flux research beam reactor in Russia, and the national centre for neutron research.

Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR/ NIIAR)

Russia's State Scientific Centre – Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR, or NIIAR) – said to be the biggest nuclear research centre in Russia, is in Dimitrovgrad (Melekess), in Ulyanovsk county 1300 km SE of Moscow. It was founded in 1956 to host both research and experimental reactors, and it researches fuel cycle, radiochemicals and radioactive waste management, as well as producing radionuclides for medicine and industry. It hosts the main R&D on electrometallurgical pyroprocessing, especially for fast reactors, and associated vibropacked fuel technology for these.
RIAR/ NIIAR has the largest materials study laboratory in Eurasia, used particularly for irradiated fuel.* The complex's major future role will be in fuel reprocessing. The initial fuel for MBIR is likely to be from reprocessed BOR-60 fuel, as is that for SVBR-100. In 2014 construction of a new radiochemical research centre for closed fuel cycles for fast reactors commenced. NIIAR plans to complete the centre by 2017 as part of the revised federal target program for 2010-2015 and until 2020. Fuel research at RIAR already includes integration of minor actinides into FNR closed fuel cycle, nitride fuel (both mononitride and U-Pu nitride), metallic fuel (U-Pu-Zr, U-Al, U-Be) and RBMK spent fuel conditioning. It also is working on molten salt fuel – reprocessing and minor actinide behaviour, though Kurchatov Institute seems to be the main locus of MSR research.

* In 2010 TerraPower from USA proposed that RIAR should carry out in-pile tests and post-irradiation examinations of structural materials and fuel specimens planned for its travelling-wave reactor. A final agreement was expected in November, but apparently did not eventuate.

RIAR's first reactor – SM – has been running since 1961 and now produces radioisotopes. The MIR reactor (1967) has been important in developing fuel rod designs for power and naval reactors. Russia's only boiling water reactor, VK-50, operated there.
As well as three other research reactors, the BOR-60* fast reactor is operated here by RIAR – the world’s only operating fast research reactor. It started up in 1969 and is to be replaced after then end of 2020 with a 100-150 MWt multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor – MBIR, with four times the irradiation capacity. This will be a multi-loop reactor capable of testing lead or lead-bismuth and gas coolants as well as sodium, simultaneously in three parallel outside loops. It will run on vibropacked MOX fuel with plutonium content of 38%, produced at RIAR in existing facilities. A 24% Pu fuel may also be used. RIAR intends to set up an on-site closed fuel cycle for it, using pyrochemical reprocessing it has developed at pilot scale. MBIR’s cost was estimated at RUR 16.4 billion ($454 million) in 2010. It will be the central part of the International Research Centre at RIAR’s site, costing about $1 billion. In September 2010 Rosatom had said that the MBIR multi-function fast reactor program would be open to foreign collaboration, in connection with the IAEA INPRO program, and in June 2013 an agreement with France and the USA was signed to this end. Rostechnadzor granted a site licence to RIAR in August 2014, and a construction licence in May 2015, with completion expected in 2020.
*BOR = bystry opytniy reaktor – experimental fast reactor. BOR-60 is licensed to 2015 but will be extended at least five years.
Rosatom is setting up an International Research Centre (IRC) based on MBIR and is inviting international participation. The full MBIR research complex is now budgeted at $1 billion, with the Russian budget already having provided $300 million from the federal target program. Pre-construction shares of 1% are being offered for $10 million, allowing involvement in detailed design of irradiation facilities. From 2020 the fee will rise to $36 million per one percent share. RIAR will be the legal owner of MBIR, performing operational and administrative functions, while the International Research Centre will be the legal entity responsible for marketing and research management.

The first 100 MWe Lead-Bismuth Fast Reactor (SVBR) from Gidropress is to be built at RIAR and operated from 2017. It is designed to use a wide variety of fuels, though the demonstration unit will initially use uranium enriched to 16.3%. With U-Pu MOX fuel it would operate in closed cycle. The SVBR-100 could be the first reactor cooled by heavy metal to be utilized to generate electricity. It is described by Gidropress as a multi-function reactor, for power, heat or desalination.

RAIR has established a joint venture with JSC Izotop – Izotop-NIIAR – to produce Mo-99 at Dimitrovgrad from 2010, using newly-installed German equipment. This aimed to capture 20% of the world market for Mo-99 by 2012, and 40% subsequently. In September 2010 JSC Isotop signed a framework agreement with Canada-based MDS Nordion to explore commercial opportunities outside Russia on the basis of this JV, initially over ten years.

Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (FEI/ IPPE)

In 1954 the world's first nuclear powered electricity generator began operation in the then closed city of Obninsk at the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (FEI or IPPE). The AM-1* reactor is water-cooled and graphite-moderated, with a design capacity of 30 MWt or 5 MWe. It was similar in principle to the plutonium production reactors in the closed military cities and served as a prototype for other graphite channel reactor designs including the Chernobyl-type RBMK** reactors. AM-1 produced electricity until 1959 and was used until 2000 as a research facility and for the production of isotopes. FEI is also bidding to host the MBIR project.
* AM = atom mirny – peaceful atom
** RBMK = reaktor bolshoi moshchnosty kanalny – high power channel reactor
In the 1950s the FEI at Obninsk was also developing fast breeder reactors (FBRs), and in 1955 the BR-1* fast neutron reactor began operating. It produced no power but led directly to the BR-5 which started up in 1959 with a capacity of 5 MWt which was used to do the basic research necessary for designing sodium-cooled FBRs. It was upgraded and modernised in 1973 and then underwent major reconstruction in 1983 to become the BR-10 with a capacity of 8 MWt which is now used to investigate fuel endurance, to study materials and to produce radioisotopes.
* BN = bystry reaktor – fast reactor

Research & Development Institute for Power Engineering (NIKIET)

NIKIET is at concept development stage with a seabed reactor module – SHELF – a 6 MWe, 28 MWt remotely-operated PWR with low-enriched fuel of UO2 in aluminium alloy matrix. Fuel cycle is 56 months. The SHELF module uses an integral reactor with forced and natural circulation in the primary circuit, in which the core, steam generator, motor-driven circulation pump and control and protection system drive are housed in a cylindrical pressure vessel. The reactor and turbogenerator are in a cylindrical pod about 15 m long and 8 m diameter, sitting on the sea bed. It is intended as electricity supply for oil and gas developments in Arctic seas.
In 2010 the government was to allocate RUR 500 million (about US$ 170 million) of federal funds to design a space nuclear propulsion and generation installation in the megawatt power range. In particular, SC Rosatom was to get RUR 430 million and Roskosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency) RUR 70 million to develop it. The work would be undertaken by the Research & Development Institute for Power Engineering (NIKIET) in Moscow, based on previous developments including those of nuclear rocket engines. A conceptual design is expected in 2011, with the basic design documentation and engineering design to follow in 2012. Tests are planned for 2018.
Since 2010 NIKIET is also involved with Luch Scientific Production Association (SPA Luch) and a Belarus organization, the Joint Institute for Power Engineering and Nuclear Research (Sosny), to design a small transportable nuclear reactor. The project draws on Sosny’s experience in designing the Pamir-630D truck-mounted small nuclear reactor, two of which were built in Belarus from 1976 during the Soviet era. This was a 300-600 kWe HTR reactor using 45% enriched fuel and driving a gas turbine with nitrogen tetraoxide (N2O4) through the Brayton cycle. After some operational experience the Pamir project was scrapped in 1986. The new design will be a similar HTR concept but about 2 MWe.

Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC)

At the Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC), Zheleznogorsk the ADE2 reactor was the third nuclear reactor of its kind built in Russia and came on line in 1964, primarily as a plutonium production unit. However, from 1995 heat and electricity production became its main purposes. The ADE-2 operating experience contributed to technological measures to justify and extend service lives of RBMK reactors at nuclear power plants, with considerable economic benefit and safety improvement. This work was given a governmental science and technology award in 2009. ADE2 was closed for final decommissioning in April 2010 after "46 years of nearly faultless operation".

MCC Zheleznogorsk also produces granulated MOX for vibropacked FNR fuel, using both military and civil plutonium.

Other R&D establishments

PA Mayak at Ozersk is the main production centre for radioisotopes.
The Institute for Reactor Materials (IRM) is at Zarechny, near Beloyarsk.

The All-Russian Scientific and Research Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operation (VNIIAES) in Moscow was founded in 1979 to provide scientific and technical support for operation of nuclear power plants aimed at improving their safety, reliability and efficiency as well as scientific coordination of the setup of mass-constructed nuclear power facilities.

In 2009 the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute (MEPhI) was renamed the National Research Nuclear University and reformed to incorporate a number of other educational establishments. While partly funded by Rosatom, it is the responsibility of the Federal Education Agency (Rosobrazovaniye).

Public Opinion

An April 2008 survey carried out by the Levada Centre found that 72% of Russians were in favour of at least preserving the country's nuclear power capacity and 41% thought that nuclear was the only alternative to oil and gas as they deplete. Over half said that they were indignant about Soviet attempts to cover up news of the Chernobyl accident in 1986. 

In April 2010 the Levada Centre polled 1600 adults and found that 37% supported current levels of nuclear power, 37% favoured its active development (making 74% positive), while 10% would like a phase-out and 4.3% would prefer to abandon it completely. 42.6% saw no alternative to nuclear power for replacing depleting oil and gas.

Immediately after the Fukushima accident in 2011 Levada had only 22% for active development, 30% maintaining current level (ie 52% positive), 27% wanting a phase-out and 12% wanting to abandon it.

In February 2012 a Levada Centre poll showed that 29% of respondents favoured active development of nuclear power, while 37% support retaining it at the current level, so 66% positive. Only 15% of suggested phasing it out, and 7% preferred abandoning nuclear.

The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) took a poll in April 2012 on the anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. It found that 27% of Russians support nuclear power development – up from 16% in 2011, 38 % agree with the present level, and 26% want to reduce it. Nuclear development is supported by young (32%), highly-educated Russians (31%), residents of cities with a population of one million and more, large cities and towns (30-33%). Regarding safety, 35% consider plants of be sufficiently safe, and 57% don’t.


Russia is a nuclear weapons state, and a depository state of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) under which a safeguards agreement has been in force since 1985. The Additional Protocol was ratified in 2007. However, Russia takes the view that voluntary application of IAEA safeguards are not meaningful for a nuclear weapons state and so they are not generally applied. One exception is the BN-600 Beloyarsk-3 reactor which is safeguarded so as to give experience of such units to IAEA inspectors.

However, this policy is modified in respect to some uranium imports. All facilities where imported uranium under certain bilateral treaties goes must be on the list of those eligible and open to international inspection, and this overrides the voluntary aspect of voluntary offer agreements. It includes conversion plants, enrichment, fuel fabrication and nuclear power plants. Also the IUEC at Angarsk will be open to inspection.

Russia undertook nuclear weapons tests from 1949 to 1990.

Russia's last plutonium production reactor which started up in 1964 was finally closed down in April 2010 - delayed because it also provided district heating, and replacement plant for this was ready until then. The reactor may be held in reserve for heating, not dismantled. The other two such production reactors were closed in 2008. All three closures are in accordance with a 2003 US-Russia agreement.

Peaceful Nuclear Explosions

The Soviet Union also used 116 nuclear explosions (81 in Russia) for geological research, creating underground gas storage, boosting oil and gas production and excavating reservoirs and canals. Most were in the 3-10 kiloton range and all occurred 1965-88. 


Background: Soviet nuclear culture

In the 1950s and 1960s Russia seemed to be taking impressive steps to contest world leadership in civil development of nuclear energy. It had developed two major reactor designs, one from military plutonium production technology (the light water cooled graphite moderated reactor – RBMK), and one from naval propulsion units, very much as in USA (the VVER series - pressurised, water cooled and moderated). An ambitious plant, Atommash, to mass produce the latter design was taking shape near Volgodonsk, construction of numerous nuclear plants was in hand and the country had many skilled nuclear engineers.

But a technological arrogance developed, in the context of an impatient Soviet establishment. Then Atommash sunk into the Volga sediments, Chernobyl tragically vindicated western reactor design criteria, and the political structure which was not up to the task of safely utilising such technology fell apart. Atommash had been set up to produce eight sets of nuclear plant equipment each year (reactor pressure vessels, steam generators, refueling machines, pressurizers, service machinery – a total of 250 items). In 1981 it manufactured the first VVER-1000 pressure vessel, which was shipped to South Ukraine NPP. Later, its products were supplied to Balakovo, Smolensk (RBMK), and Kalinin in Russia, and Zaporozhe, Rovno and Khmelnitsky plants in Ukraine. By 1986 Atommash had produced 14 pressure vessels (of which five have remained at the factory), instead of the eight per year intended. Then Chernobyl put the whole nuclear industry into a long standby. Russia was disgraced technologically, and this was exacerbated by a series of incidents in its nuclear-propelled navy contrasting with a near-impeccable safety record in the US Navy.

An early indication of the technological carelessness was substantial pollution followed by a major accident at Mayak Chemical Combine (then known as Chelyabinsk-40) near Kyshtym in 1957. The failure of the cooling system for a tank storing many tonnes of dissolved nuclear waste resulted in a non-nuclear explosion having a force estimated at about 75 tonnes of TNT (310 GJ). This killed 200 people and released some 740 PBq of radioactivity, affecting thousands more. Up to 1951 the Mayak plant had dumped its wastes into the Techa River, whose waters ultimately flow into the Ob River and Arctic Ocean. Then they were disposed of into Lake Karachay until at least 1953, when a storage facility for high-level wastes was built – the source of the 1957 accident. Finally, a 1967 duststorm picked up a lot of radioactive material from the dry bed of Lake Karachay and deposited it on to the surrounding province. The outcome of these three events made some 26,000 square kilometres the most radioactively-polluted area on Earth by some estimates, comparable with Chernobyl.

After Chernobyl there was a significant change of culture in the Russian civil nuclear establishment, at least at the plant level, and this change was even more evident in the countries of eastern Europe who saw the opportunity for technological emancipation from Russia. By the early 1990s a number of western assistance programs were in place which addressed safety issues and helped to alter fundamentally the way things were done in the eastern bloc, including Russia itself. Design and operating deficiencies were tackled, and a safety culture started to emerge. At the same time some R&D programs were suspended.

Both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Association of Nuclear Operators contributed strongly to huge gains in safety and reliability of Soviet-era nuclear plants – WANO having come into existence as a result of Chernobyl. In the first two years of WANO's existence, 1989-91, operating staff from every nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union visited plants in the west on technical exchange, and western personnel visited every FSU plant. A great deal of ongoing plant-to-plant cooperation, and subsequently a voluntary peer review program, grew out of these exchanges. 

Prof V.Ivanov, WNA Symposium 2001, Prof A.Gagarinski and Mr A.Malyshev, WNA Symposium 2002.
Josephson, Paul R, 1999, Red Atom - Russia's nuclear power program from Stalin to today.
Minatom 2000, Strategy of Nuclear Power Development in Russia,
O. Saraev, paper at WNA mid-term meeting in Moscow, May 2003.
Rosenergoatom Bulletin 2002, esp. M.Rogov paper.
Perera, Judith 2003, Nuclear Power in the Former USSR, McCloskey, UK.
Kamenskikh, I, 2005, paper at WNA Symposium.
Kirienko, S. 2006, paper at World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference, April and WNA Symposium, Sept.
Shchedrovitsky, P. 2007, paper at WNA Symposium, Sept.
Panov et al 2006, Floating Power Sources Based on Nuclear reactor Plants
Rosenergoatom website
Rosatom website
OECD NEA & IAEA, 2012, Uranium 2011: Resources, Production and Demand – 'Red Book'
Rybachenov, V. 2012, Disposition of Excess Weapons-grade Plutonium – problems and prospects, Centre for Arms Control, Energy & Environmental Studies.
IAEA ARIS, Sept 2012, Status of Small and Medium-sized Reactor designs.

Nuclear Power in Russia

(Updated 29 May 2015)
  • Russia is moving steadily forward with plans for much expanded role of nuclear energy, including development of new reactor technology
  • Efficiency of nuclear generation in Russia has increased dramatically since the mid-1990s. Over 20 nuclear power reactors are confirmed or planned for export construction.
  • Exports of nuclear goods and services are a major Russian policy and economic objective.
  • Russia is a world leader in fast neutron reactor technology.
Russia's first nuclear power plant, and the first in the world to produce electricity, was the 5 MWe Obninsk reactor, in 1954. Russia's first two commercial-scale nuclear power plants started up in 1963-64, then in 1971-73 the first of today's production models were commissioned. By the mid-1980s Russia had 25 power reactors in operation, but the nuclear industry was beset by problems. The Chernobyl accident led to a resolution of these, as outlined in the Appendix.
Rosenergoatom is the only Russian utility operating nuclear power plants. Its ten nuclear plants have the status of branches. It was established in 1992 and was reconstituted as a utility in 2001.
Between the 1986 Chernobyl accident and mid-1990s, only one nuclear power station was commissioned in Russia, the four-unit Balakovo, with unit 3 being added to Smolensk. Economic reforms following the collapse of the Soviet Union meant an acute shortage of funds for nuclear developments, and a number of projects were stalled. But by the late 1990s exports of reactors to Iran, China and India were negotiated and Russia's stalled domestic construction program was revived as far as funds allowed.
Around 2000 nuclear construction revived and Rostov 1 (also known as Volgodonsk 1), the first of the delayed units, started up in 2001, joining 21 GWe already on the grid. This greatly boosted morale in the Russian nuclear industry. It was followed by Kalinin 3 in 2004, Rostov 2 in 2010 and Kalinin 4 in 2011.
By 2006 the government's resolve to develop nuclear power had firmed and there were projections of adding 2-3 GWe per year to 2030 in Russia as well as exporting plants to meet world demand for some 300 GWe of new nuclear capacity in that time frame.
In February 2010 the government approved the federal target program designed to bring a new technology platform for the nuclear power industry based on fast reactors. Rosatom's long-term strategy up to 2050 involves moving to inherently safe nuclear plants using fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle. It envisages nuclear providing 45-50% of electricity at that time, with the share rising to 70-80% by the end of the century. In June 2010 the government approved plans for 173 GWe of new generating capacity by 2030, 43.4 GWe of this being nuclear.
Apart from adding capacity, utilisation of existing plants has improved markedly. In the 1990s capacity factors averaged around 60%, but they have steadily improved since and in 2010 and 2011 were above 81%. Balakovo was the best plant in 2011 with 92.5%.

Electricity supply in Russia

Russia's electricity supply, formerly centrally controlled by RAO Unified Energy System (UES)*, faces a number of acute constraints. First, demand is rising strongly after more than a decade of stagnation, secondly some 50 GWe of generating plant (more than a quarter of it) in the European part of Russia has come to the end of its design life, and thirdly Gazprom has cut back on the very high level of natural gas supplies for electricity generation because it can make about five times as much money by exporting the gas to the west (27% of EU gas comes from Russia). In 2012 Gazprom exports are expected to reach $84.5 billion, $61 billion of this to Europe for 150 billion m3.
UES' gas-fired plants burn about 60% of the gas marketed in Russia by Gazprom, and it is aimed to halve this by 2020. (Also, by 2020, the Western Siberian gas fields will be so depleted that they supply only a tenth of current Russian output, compared with nearly three quarters now.) Also there are major regional grid constraints so that a significant proportion of the capacity of some plants cannot be used. Some non-nuclear generators have been privatised, eg OGK-4 (E.ON Russia) is 76% owned by E.ON, and OGK-5 (Enel Russia) is 56% owned by Enel. Other OGKs are owned by Inter RAO or Gazprom. Some TGK companies (also supplying heat) are private, others such as TGK-3 or Mosenergo are owned by Gazprom.
* In Russia, "energy" mostly implies electricity.
Electricity production was 1071 TWh in 2012, with 178 TWh coming from nuclear power, 525 TWh from gas, 169 TWh from coal and 167 TWh from hydro. Net export was 16.4 TWh and final consumption was 742 TWh (after transmission losses of 107 TWh and own use/energy sector use of 204 TWh). In 2013 nuclear production was 162 TWh (17.5% of total) and in 2014 it rose to a record 180.5 TWh according to Rosenergoatom.
In November 2009, the government's Energy Strategy 2030 was published, projecting investments for the next two decades. It envisaged a possible doubling of generation capacity from 225 GWe in 2008 to 355-445 GWe in 2030. A revised scheme in mid 2010 projected 1288 billion kWh demand in 2020 and 1553 billion kWh in 2030, requiring 78 GWe of new plant by 2020 and total 178 GWe new build by 2030, including 43.4 GWe nuclear. The scheme envisaged decommissioning 67.7 GWe of capacity by 2030, including 16.5 GWe of nuclear plant (about 70% of present capacity). New investment by 2030 of RUR 9800 billion in power plants and RUR 10,200 billion in transmission would be required. In mid 2010 the projected annual electricity demand growth to 2020 was put at 2.2%. In mid 2013, UES projected 1.9%pa. Retail electricity prices are relatively low – for households in 2010, about 9c/kWh compared with EU median of 18.5 cents.
Rosenergoatom is the sole nuclear utility, following consolidation in 2001. In 2009 nuclear production was 163.3 billion kWh (83.7 TWh from VVER, 79.6 TWh from RBMK and other). Over 2010-12 it was 170-178 TWh, but dropped to 162 TWh in 2013. Before this, nuclear electricity output had risen strongly due simply to better performance of the nuclear plants, with capacity factors leaping from 56% to 76% 1998-2003 and then on to 80.2% in 2009. Rosenergoatom aims for 90% capacity factor by 2015. In 2006 Rosatom announced a target of nuclear providing 23% of electricity by 2020 and 25% by 2030, but 2007 and 2009 plans approved by the government scaled this back significantly. (see: Extending Nuclear Capacity below) In mid-2013 UES projected a decrease from 17.2% to 15.9% for nuclear output by 2020, with a substantial increase in fossil fuel power.
In July 2012 the Energy Ministry (Minenergo) published draft plans to commission 83 GWe of new capacity by 2020, including 10 GWe nuclear to total 30.5 GWe producing 238 TWh/yr. A year later Minenergo reduced the projection to 28.26 GWe in 2019. Total investment envisaged is RUR 8230 billion, including RUR 4950 billion on upgrading power plants, RUR 3280 billion on new grid capacity and RUR 1320 billion on nuclear. In May 2015 the Ministry of Economic Development announced a “very significant" delay in commissioning new nuclear power plants due to “a current energy surplus”. Commissioning of two new Leningrad units and two new Novovoronezh units was delayed by one year, and construction of Smolensk II was postponed for six years.
In parallel with this Russia is greatly increasing its hydro-electric capacity, aiming to increase by 60% to 2020 and double it by 2030. Hydro OGK is planning to commission 5 GWe by 2011. The 3 GWe Boguchanskaya plant in Siberia is being developed in collaboration with Rusal, for aluminium smelting. The aim is to have almost half of Russia's electricity from nuclear and hydro by 2030.
UES wholesale electricity tariffs were planned to increase from (US$) 1.1 c/kWh in 2001 to 1.9 c/kWh in 2005 and 2.4 c/kWh in 2015. However, only much smaller increases have so far been approved by the government, and even these have attracted wide opposition. However, electricity supplied is now being fully paid for, in contrast to the situation in the mid 1990s.
In February 2007 RAO UES said that it was aiming to raise up to US$ 15 billion by selling shares in as many as 15 power generation companies, having increased its investment target by 2010 from $79 to $118 billion. Late in 2006 UES raised $459 million by selling 14.4% of one of its generators, OGK-5, and since then the UES sell-off continued with investors committing to continued expansion. In mid-2008 RAO UES was wound up, having sold off all its assets. Some of these were bought by EU utilities, for instance Finland's Fortum bought at auction 76.5% of the small utility TGC-10, which operates in well-developed industrial regions of the Urals and Western Siberia. From July 2008, 25% of all Russia's power is sold on the competitive market. The wholesale power market was to be fully liberalised by 2011.
InterRAO UES was initially a subsidiary of RAO UES, involved with international trade and investment in electricity, particularly with Finland, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It acquired some of RAO UES assets when that company was broken up in 2008 and it now controls about 18 GWe in Russia and Armenia. It was responsible for finding a foreign investor and structuring electricity marketing for the proposed Baltic nuclear power plant. It aims to increase its generation capacity to 30 GWe by 2015. In November 2008 Rosatom's share in InterRAO was increased to 57.28%.
The Federal Grid Company (RAO FGC) owns Russia's 118,000-km high-voltage transmission grid and plans to invest €12 billion ($14.5 billion) over 2010-13 to modernize it. It has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Siemens to progress this, using the company's low-loss high-voltage DC transmission technology. The system operator is the Centralized Dispatching Administration (OAO SO-CDA).

Present nuclear capacity

Russia's nuclear plants, with 33 operating reactors totalling 24,164 MWe, comprise:
  • 4 early VVER-440/230 or similar pressurised water reactors,
  • 2 later VVER-440/213 pressurised water reactors,
  • 11 current-generation VVER-1000 pressurised water reactors with a full containment structure, mostly V-320 types,
  • 13 RBMK light water graphite reactors (LWGR) now unique to Russia. The four oldest of these were commissioned in the 1970s at Kursk and Leningrad and are of some concern to the Western world. A further Kursk unit is under construction.
  • 4 small graphite-moderated BWR reactors in eastern Siberia, constructed in the 1970s for cogeneration (EGP-6 models on linked map).
  • One BN-600 fast-breeder reactor.
Apart from Bilibino, several reactors supply district heating – a total of over 11 PJ/yr.

Power reactors in operation

Reactor Type
MWe net,
Balakovo 1-2 V-320 988, 1028 5/86, 1/88 2015, 2017 (being extended)
Balakovo 3-4 V-320 988 4/89, 12/93 2018, 2023
Beloyarsk 3 BN-600 FBR 560 11/81 2025
Bilibino 1-4 LWGR EGP-6 11 4/74-1/77 2019-21
Kalinin 1-2 V-338 950 6/85, 3/87 2025, 2016 (being extended)
Kalinin 3 V-320 988 11/05 2034
Kalinin 4 V-320 950 9/12 2042
Kola 1-2 V-230 432, 411 12/73, 2/75 2018, 2019
Kola 3-4 V-213 411 12/82, 12/84 2026, 2039
Kursk 1-2 RBMK 1020, 971 10/77, 8/79 2021, 2024
Kursk 3 RBMK 971 3/84 2013+
Kursk 4 RBMK 925 2/86 2015+
Leningrad 1 RBMK 925 11/74 2018
Leningrad 2 RBMK 971 2/76 2020
Leningrad 3 RBMK 971 6/80 2024
Leningrad 4 RBMK 925 8/81 2025
Novovoronezh 3-4 V-179 385 6/72, 3/73 2016, 2017
Novovoronezh 5 V-187 950 2/81 2035
Smolensk 1 RBMK 925 9/83 2023
Smolensk 2 RBMK 925 7/85 2030
Smolensk 3 RBMK 925 1/90 2020
Rostov 1 V-320 990 3/01 2030
Rostov 2 V-320 990 10/10 2040
Rostov 3 V-320 1011 (7/2015) 2045
Total: 34 25,264 MWe
V-320 is the base model of what is generically VVER-1000; V-230 and V-213 are generically VVER-440; V-179 & V-187 are prototypes. Rostov was formerly sometimes known as Volgodonsk. A July 2012 Energy Ministry plan shows 22,743 MWe net, 24,242 MWe gross, excluding Kalinin 4.

Life extension, uprates and completing construction

Most reactors are being licensed for life extension: Generally, Russian reactors were originally licensed for 30 years from first power. Late in 2000, plans were announced for lifetime extensions of twelve first-generation reactors totalling 5.7 GWe, and the extension period envisaged is now 15 to 25 years, necessitating major investment in refurbishing them. Generally the VVER-440 and most RBMK units will get 15-year life extensions and the VVER-1000 units 25 years. (Kola 1 & 2 VVER-440 and the Kursk and Leningrad RBMK units are all models which the EU has paid to shut down early in countries outside Russia.)
* Leningrad 1&2, Kursk 1&2, Kola 1&2, Bilibino 1-4, Novovoronezh 3&4.
To the end of 2011, 15-year extensions had been achieved for 17 units totalling 9.8 GWe: Beloyarsk 3, Novovoronezh 3-5, Kursk 1-2, Kola-1-4, and Leningrad-1-4, as well as Bilibino 1-4. In 2006 Rosatom said it was considering lifetime extensions and uprating of all its eleven operating RBMK reactors. Following significant design modifications made after the Chernobyl accident, as well as extensive refurbishment including replacement of fuel channels, a 45-year lifetime is seen as realistic for most of the 1000 MWe units. In 2011 they provided 47.5% of Russia's nuclear-generated electricity.
For older RBMK units, service lifetime performance recovery (LPR) operations involve correcting deformation of the graphite stack. The procedure will give each of these older reactors at least three years extra operation, and may then be repeated. Leningrad 1 was the first reactor to undergo this over 2012-13.
Most reactors are being uprated. The July 2012 Energy Ministry draft plan envisaged increasing the power of VVER-440 units to 107%, that of RBMKs to 105% and VVER-1000 units to 104-110% (revised to 107-110% in 2013).
During 2010-11 the uprating program was completed for all VVER units except Novovoronezh 5 (see below): 4% for VVER-1000, 5% for VVER-440 (but 7% for Kola 4). The cost of this was put at US$ 200 per kilowatt, compared with $2400/kW for construction of Rostov 2. Kalinin units 1-3 are quoted at 1075 MWe gross after uprate, and unit 4 started pilot commercial operation at 104% of rated power in February 2015.
Rosenergoatom has been investigating further uprates of VVER-1000 units to 107-110% of original capacity, using Balakovo 4 as a pilot plant to 2014. The cost of further uprates beyond 104% is expected to be up to $570/kW, depending on what needs to be replaced – the turbine generators being the main items. It seems that for the V-320 units, pilot commercial operation at 104% power will be carried out over three fuel campaigns, with the reactor and other system parameters being monitored and relevant data collected. After this period, a cumulative 104% power operation report will be produced for each plant. Rostechnadzor will then assess safety and possibly licence commercial operation at the higher power level.
The R&D Institute of Power Engineering was preparing plans for 5% uprating of the later Leningrad, Kursk and Smolensk RBMK units. For Leningrad 2-4, fuel enriched to average 3% instead of 2.4% would allow a 5% increase in power, and Rostechnadzor authorized trials in unit 2 of the new fuel. Following this it was to consider authorizing a 5% uprate for long-term operation. However, Rosenergoatom in May 2012 flagged problems with ageing of the graphite moderator, most acute at Leningrad 1, questioned proceeding with uprates of older units, and said it would consider de-rating individual units where problems such as pressure tube distortion were apparent due to graphite swelling. Leningrad 1 would be de-rated to 80% to prolong its operating life, and work to restore its graphite stack and extend its service life will be completed late in 2013. Similar work would then be done on all first-generation RBMKs, since these are so important economically to Rosenergoatom. However, future RBMK operation might possibly be at reduced capacity of 80% across all units. The successful repair of Leningrad 1 removed the pressure for accelerated replacement of old RBMK units.

Individual operating power plants

Balakovo: In December 2009 Rostechnadzor approved a 4% increase in power from Balakovo 2 and it was to undergo a major overhaul after 2012. Balakovo 1 has been upgraded at a cost of RUR 9.8 billion to achieve life extension. All Balakovo V-320 units are uprated to 104%, but as of mid-2012, units 1, 3&4 were in trial operation and not yet licensed at this level, and upgrading will continue to 2018. Atomenergoproekt documentation for a life extension of unit 1 is expected at the end of 2014, and Rosatom has agreed in principle to do the same for the other three units.

Beloyarsk: Beloyarsk 3 BN-600 fast neutron reactor has been upgraded for 15-year life extension, to 2025. Its licence was renewed to 2020. It achieved 30 years of operation to late 2011, producing 114 billion kWh with capacity factor of 76%. Due to progressive modification, its fuel burn up has increased from 7% (design value) to 11.4%. It provides heat for Zarechny town as well.

Bilibino: Units 1-4 have been given 15-year licence extensions, but will be shut down by 2021.

Kalinin: Unit 1 was undergoing major overhaul in 2012 for licence extension and power uprate, and Kalinin 2 was to follow. Kalinin 2&3 have been approved for a 4% increase in power and are operating at this level on pilot commercial basis since 2012. Kalinin 1 was undergoing tests at 104% in 2013 and in mid-2014 it was granted a ten-year life extension, to mid-2025.

Kalinin 4 is a V-320 unit built by Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergopoekt. Rostechnadzor approved an operating licence in October 2011, it started up in November, was grid-connected in December and attained full commercial operation in September 2012. It uses major components originally supplied for Belene in Bulgaria. Final cost was RUR 7 billion ($220 million) under budget – about 10%. Silmash (Power Machines) is upgrading the turbine generator of units 3 & 4 to increase their gross power to 1100 MWe in 2016.

Kola: Safety analyses for Kola 3&4, which are later-model VVER-440 reactors, have allowed for at least 15-year life extension from 2011 and 2014 respectively, and significant upratings, despite low power demand in the Murmansk region and Karelia which means they are not fully utilised. In 2010, intended life extension was announced for Kola 3 (15 years). Kola 4 has been uprated to 107% using improved fuel assemblies on a six-year cycle and run on pilot basis but is not yet fully licensed at this level. In October 2014 Rostechnadzor granted a 25-year licence extension for unit 4, taking it to 2039 – 55 years.

In November 2013 the Regional Energy Planning Scheme suggested units 1&2 might continue to operate until two new VVER-TOI units are commissioned, likely to be 2025 and 2030 respectively. In mid-2014 Rosenergoatom suggested that Kola 1&2 might have a second life extension, taking them to 60 years operation (2033, 2034). A decision is due early in 2015. Major works were undertaken on the two units over 1991 to 2005, costing $718 million, $96 million of this from international sources including neighbouring countries, and it is claimed that further work could bring them to contemporary standards.

Kursk: In 2010 Kursk 1 licence was extended for 10 years to 2016. A major contract for upgrading unit 4 followed that for Leningrad 4, and Kursk 2 & 3 would follow. Having had a licence extension to 2016, Kursk 1 was the first RBMK unit to be licensed for pilot operation with 5% uprate (apparently to 1020 MWe net) but units 2 & 4 were also operating at this level late in 2011. In February 2012 Rosatom said it would invest a further RUR 30 billion ($1.1 billion) in upgrading Kursk 2-4 and extending their operating lives – RUR 5.0, 11.9 & 13.7 billion respectively. On units 1&2 work on the graphite moderator was envisaged to avoid the deformation experienced in Leningrad 1, and in 2014 this was undertaken for unit 2, but following inspection further work was postponed for unit 1. Unit 2 was returned to service in February 2014 after its ‘lifetime performance restoration program’ based on such work at unit 1.

Leningrad: In 2010, intended life extension was announced for Leningrad 4 (15 years), and it has undergone an RUR 17 billion refurbishment over 2008-11, including replacement of generator stator. The upgrading investment in all four Leningrad I units totalled RUR 48 billion ($1.6 billion) to early 2012. Leningrad unit 1 was shut down in May 2012 due to deformation of the graphite moderator, and after a RUR 5 billion ($146 million) restoration of the graphite stack as the pioneer lifetime performance recovery (LPR) procedure it was restarted in November 2013. The same work is being undertaken on unit 2 in 2014, and second stage LPR work on unit 1 is planned for 2015. 

For Leningrad 2-4, fuel enriched to average 3% instead of 2.4% would allow a 5% increase in power – some 46 MWe each. Rostechnadzor authorized trials in unit 2 of the new fuel, and following this it was to consider authorizing a 5% uprate for long-term operation. This now seems in doubt. However, 15-year life extension of all four units is planned, with necessary upgrading.

Novovoronezh: Units 3&4 gained 15-year licence extensions. A plan for refurbishment, upgrade and life extension of Novovoronezh 5 was announced in mid-2009, this being the first second-generation VVER-1000 project. The initial estimate was RUR 1.66 billion ($52 million) but this eventually became RUR 14 billion ($450 million). The 12 months work from September 2010 included total replacement of the reactor control system and 80% of electrical equipment, and fitting upgraded safety systems, in particular, those of emergency core cooling and feedwater, and emergency power supply. Its operating life is extended to 2035.

Smolensk: Early in 2012 Rosatom announced a RUR 45 billion ($1.5 billion) program to upgrade and extend the operating life of Smolensk 1-3 RBMK units. At the same time, construction of Smolensk II would get underway, with the first VVER unit to come on line by 2024. In 2012 Smolensk 1 was licensed to December 2022, a ten-year extension after refurbishment. Upgrading unit 2 was undertaken from 2013, to come back on line in 2015, and included replacement of fuel channels and upgrading the reactor control and protection system and radiation monitoring system, as well as reinforcing the building structure. In April 2015, an application was made for a 15-year licence extension. Unit 3 upgrade will follow, though it is already operating above 1000 MWe gross.

Rostov: Rostov 1 has been approved for a 4% increase in power and is operating at this level on pilot commercial basis. In September 2009 Rostechnadzor approved an operating licence for Rostov 2; it started up in January 2010, was grid connected in March, and apparently entered full commercial operation in October 2010. It was approved for 104% in October 2012. For Rostov 3&4, which are effectively new V-320 plants, construction resumed in 2009. See also following section.

Reactors under construction

The Beloyarsk 4 BN-800 fast neutron reactor in Zarechny municipality of Sverdlovsk Region. This was delayed by lack of funds following construction start in 2006 and after first criticality in June 2014 is now expected on line in 2015. Commercial operation is possible in 2015, though it is essentially a demonstration unit for fuel and design features for the BN-1200. (See also Transition to Fast Reactors subsection below.)
From mid-2008 there are four standard third-generation VVER reactors being built: at Leningrad (two units to commence stage 2) and Novovoronezh (similarly) to be commissioned 2012-14. This leads to a program of starting to build at least 2000 MWe per year in Russia from 2009 (apart from export plants). See following section.
There has been considerable uncertainty about completing Kursk 5 – an upgraded RBMK design which is more than 70% built. Rosatom was keen to see it completed and in January 2007 the Duma's energy committee recommended that the government fund its completion by 2010*. However, funds were not forthcoming and the economic case for completion was doubtful, so in February 2012 Rosatom confirmed that the project was terminated. Instead, major announcements were made regarding Kursk II, a modern VVER plant to be built from 2015 to ensure that Kursk remains “the key electricity generation facility in the Central Black-Soil (Chernozemye) Region of Russia” – Kursk provided half the power there in 2011.
* In March 2007 the Industry Ministry recommended to the government that work proceed and Rosenergoatom then applied for RUR 27 billion (US$ 1 billion) from the ministry's 2008-10 federal budget to complete it. This did not materialise, so other funds were sought, and discussions with Sberbank and industrial electricity consumers such as steel producers continued into 2009. All other RBMK reactors – long condemned by the EU – are due to close by 2024, which would leave it technologically isolated. Despite positive statements as recently as September 2009, according to Rosatom early in 2010 it required RUR 45 billion and 3.5 years to finish and connect (RUR 27 billion for the plant itself), compared with around RUR 60 billion for building the same capacity from scratch in the new projects under way. Rosatom said that this meant "there is no sense in completing the reactor construction". (Accordingly it was then removed from WNA's "under construction" list.)
After the Fukushima accident, checks were made on Russian nuclear plants. Following these, in mid June 2011 Rosenergoatom announced a RUR 15 billion ($530 million) safety upgrade program for additional power and water supply back-up. Rosenergoatom spent RUR 2.6 billion on 66 mobile diesel generator sets, 35 mobile pumping units and 80 other pumps.

Retiring old units

The July 2012 Energy Ministry draft plan envisages decommissioning nine units by 2020 – four VVERs (probably Kola 1&2, Novovoronezh 3&4), two RBMKs (probably Leningrad 1 and Kursk 1) and three of the small Bilibino EGPs, total 3750 MWe gross, 3521 MWe net. The last Bilibino unit will close by 2021.

Building new nuclear capacity

Rosatom's initial proposal for a rapid expansion of nuclear capacity was based on the cost effectiveness of completing the 9 GWe of then partially built plant. To get the funds, Minatom offered Gazprom the opportunity to invest in some of the partly completed nuclear plants. The argument was that the US$ 7.3 billion required for the whole 10 GWe (including the just-completed Rostov 1) would be quickly recouped from gas exports if the new nuclear plant reduced the need to burn that gas domestically.
In September 2006 Rosatom announced a target of nuclear providing 23% of electricity by 2020, thus commissioning two 1200 MWe plants per year from 2011 to 2014 and then three per year until 2020 – some 31 GWe and giving some 44 GWe of nuclear capacity then. By July 2012 this had been scaled back to give 30.5 GWe nuclear in 2020.
In October 2006 Russia formally adopted a US$ 55 billion nuclear energy development program, with $26 billion of this to 2015 coming from the federal budget. The balance would be from industry (Rosatom) funds, and no private investment was involved. The Minister of Finance strongly supported the program to increase nuclear share from 15.6% to 18.6% of total, hence improving energy security as well as promoting exports of nuclear power technology. After 2015 all funding would be from Rosatom revenues.
In September 2007 the first version of the following scheme was released, but noting that from 2012 to 2020 only two 1200 MWe units per year were within the "financial capacity of the federal task program". Accordingly, the third units for 2015 and 2016 were designated "proposed". In the February 2008 update of this (below), one 1200 MWe Tversk unit was brought forward to 2015 scheduled start-up, so was designated "planned":

New NPP Commissioning Program 2007

In February 2008, under the broader Master Plan for Electric Energy Facilities to 2020, the earlier federal target plan (FTP) to 2020 was endorsed with little change except than an extra five VVER-1200 units were added as "maximum scenario" or "extra" in the last few years to 2020. As well as the 4800 MWe capacity then under construction, a further 12,000 MWe was planned for completion mostly by 2016, and then a lot more by 2020. Several new sites were involved. Also the new 300 MWe units were listed as being VBER-300 PWR types.

More significantly, the Ministry of Industry and Energy (MIE) and Rosatom were charged with promptly developing an action plan to attract investment into power generation. It is envisaged that by 2020 much generation would be privatized and competitive, while the state would control natural monopoly functions such as the grid.

From January 2009 the FTP was supplemented by Rosatom's long-term activity program. This included Kursk 5 and the Baltic plant in Kaliningrad, both subject to private finance. However, capacity targets and expenditure were much as above. By 2030 nuclear share of electricity was expected to grow to 25%, from 16% then. 

However, by April 2009 reduced electricity demand expectations caused the whole construction program outlined above to be scaled back, and some projects put on hold. Ten units were deferred pending "economic upturn and electricity demand growth", expected in about two years. See Table below, where three units were moved from planned to proposed accordingly. From mid 2009, half the capital for new nuclear plants would come from Rosatom budget and half from the state.

In July 2009 a revised federal target program (FTP) for 2010-2015 and until 2020 was approved and signed by the President. This put Kursk II 1-2 and Smolensk II 1-2 into the picture for completion by 2020, ahead of many other units, and they have been shown thus in the Table below. The first unit of the Baltic plant was to be complete in 2016.

In July 2012 the Energy Ministry published draft plans to commission only 10 GWe nuclear to 2020 – basically what was currently under construction including Kalinin 4, to give total 30.5 GWe producing 238 TWh/yr by then.

In November 2013 the Regional Energy Planning Scheme included construction at new sites in Tatarstan, Seversk and Kostroma (each 2x1200 MWe VVER), and Chelyabinsk, South Urals (2 x BN-1200) by 2030.

In February 2010 the government announced that Rosenergoatom’s investment program for 2010 amounted to RUR 163.3 billion, of which RUR 53 billion would come from the federal budget. Of the total, RUR 101.7 billion is for nuclear plant construction, almost half of this from Rosenergoatom funds. It includes the reactors listed below as under construction, as well as Leningrad II-2 and the Baltic plant. In March Rosatom said that it now intended to commission three new reactors per year from 2016.

In March 2011 the State Duma’s energy committee recommended construction of Kursk II with standard VVER-TOI reactors and updating FTP plans to have Units 1 and 2 put on line in 2020 and 2023. Rosatom was told to start engineering surveys for Kursk II in 2011. It has said that unit 1 must be in service by the time the first RBMK unit of phase I is closed, to ensure adequate supply to Moscow.

The FTP program is based on VVER technology at least to about 2030. But it highlights the goal of moving to fast neutron reactors and closed fuel cycle, for which Rosatom proposed two options, outlined below in the Transition to Fast Reactors section. In stage 1 of the second option, which was adopted, a 100 MWe lead-bismuth-cooled fast reactor is to be built, and in stage 2 over 2015-2020 a pilot demonstration 300 MWe lead-cooled BREST reactor and a multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) are to be built. In addition it is planned to build and commission a commercial complex to fabricate dense fuel, to complete construction of a pilot demonstration pyrochemical complex to fabricate BN fuel, and to test closed fuel cycle technologies. Fusion studies are included and the total R&D budget is RUR 55.7 billion, mostly from the federal budget. The FTP implementation is intended to result in a 70% growth in exports of high technology equipment, works and services rendered by the Russian nuclear industry by 2020. In 2012 the head of Rosatom said that the FTP was being accelerated to bring forward development and have a full range of fast reactor technologies with associated fuel cycles operating by 2020. Rosatom's R&D budget would be almost doubled by then to achieve this.

In 2009 Siemens announced that it would withdraw from Areva and forge a link with Rosatom. A memorandum of understanding then confirmed the intent to set up a joint venture with Rosatom as majority shareholder, developing Russian VVER designs, building new nuclear power plants, and upgrading existing nuclear plants. This was hailed by Mr Putin as a long-term strategic partnership. However, finalising the agreement was delayed pending Siemens disengaging from Areva, and in September 2011 Siemens announced that it would not proceed. In any case most of Siemens intellectual property remained with Areva, so it would have had little to contribute to Rosatom/ Atomenergoprom.

In October 2014 Rosatom resolved in principle to develop small and medium power reactors, though initially they are not expected to compare economically with larger units. In May 2014 Rosenergoatom was completing comparative assessment of VVER-600 and VBER-600 designs. The chosen design is likely to be built at Kola initially.

See also subsections: Transition to Fast Reactors, and Fast Reactors, in the Reactor Technology section below

The latest Federal Target Program (FTP) envisages a 25-30% nuclear share in electricity supply by 2030, 45-50% in 2050 and 70-80% by end of century.

Major Power Reactors under Construction, Planned and officially Proposed

Plant Reactor Type MWe gross (net expected) Status, start construction Start or commercial op'n
Beloyarsk 4 BN-800 FBR 864 (789) Const Started up June 2014
Rostov 4 VVER-1000/V-320 1100 (1011) Const 1983, first new concrete 6/10 6/2017
Floating NPP 1 for Pevek KLT-40S 35x2 (32x2) Const 5/09 2017-2018
Novovoronezh II-1 VVER-1200/V-392M 1200 (1114) Const 6/08 start up now 2016
Leningrad II-1 VVER-1200/V-491 1170 (1085) Const 10/08 2017
Novovoronezh II-2 VVER-1200/V-392M 1200 (1114) Const 7/09 2019
Leningrad II-2 VVER-1200/V-491 1170 (1085) Const 4/10 2019
Baltic 1 (Kaliningrad) VVER-1200/V-491 1194 (1109) Const 4/12, suspended 6/13 ??
Subtotal of 9 under construction
7968 MWe gross, 7371 net*
* IAEA PRIS August 2014
Dimitrovgrad SVBR-100 100 Planned, 2015 2017
Seversk BREST-300 300 Planned, 2016 2020
Nizhny Novgorod 1 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned, 2014 2019
Nizhny Novgorod 2 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned, 2015 2021
Leningrad II-3 VVER 1200/V-491 1170 Planned, 2015 2021
Leningrad II-4 VVER 1200/V-491 1170 Planned, 2016 2022
Kursk II-1 VVER-TOI 1300 Planned, 2015 12/2020
Kursk II-2 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned, 2016 12/2021
Kursk II-3 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned 2026
Kursk II-4 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned 2029
Kola II-1 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned, 2015 by 2025
Kola II-2 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned by 2030
Smolensk II-1 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned, 2022 2027
Smolensk II-2 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned, 2024 2029
Smolensk II-3 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned 2026
Smolensk II-4 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned 2028
Tatar 1 VVER-1200 1200 Planned? by 2030
Tatar 2 VVER-1200 1200 Planned? by 2030
Seversk 1 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned by 2030
Seversk 2 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned by 2030
Tsentral/Kostroma 1 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned by 2030
Tsentral/Kostroma 2 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned by 2030
Beloyarsk 5 BN-1200 1220 Planned, 2020 by 2025
South Urals 1 BN-1200 1220 Planned by 2030
South Urals 2 BN-1200 1220 Planned by 2030
Bashkirsk 1 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned
Bashkirsk 2 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned
FNPP (for Sakha?) KLT-40S 40x2 Planned 2020
Primorsk 1 VK-300 or VBER-300 300 Planned 2019
Primorsk 2 VK-300 or VBER-300 300 Planned 2020
Baltic 2 (Kaliningrad) VVER 1200/V-491 1194 Suspended
subtotal of 31 planned 33,264 gross
Note that the 3rd and 4th units of some of the above new plants (eg Novovoronezh, Smolensk) may be built ahead of others listed above.
dates very tentative:
South Urals 3 BN-1200 1220 Proposed 2030
Zheleznogorsk MCC VBER-300 300 Proposed 2020?
Zheleznogorsk MCC VBER-300 300 Proposed 2020?
Novovoronezh II-3 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Novovoronezh II-4 VVER 1200 1200 Proposed ?
Tver 1 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Tver 2 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Tver 3 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Tver 4 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Nizhny Novgorod 3 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed ?
Nizhny Novgorod 4 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed ?
Tsentral 3 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed ?
Tsentral 4 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed ?
Beloyarsk 6 BN-1200/1600 1220/1600 Proposed (approved) ?
Balakova 5&6 VVER-1000 1000x2 Formerly proposed RUSAL ?
Sakha ABV-6 18x2 Proposed ?
Subtotal of 18 units 'proposed' 16,000 approx

VVER-1200 is the reactor portion of the AES-2006 nuclear power plant, or for planned units beyond Leningrad II it may be VVER-TOI plant with VVER 1200/ V510 reactor. Rostov was also known as Volgodonsk, and construction of units 3&4 actually began in 1983 but was suspended indefinitely with relatively little work done. South Urals was to be BN-800, and now likely BN-1200.

Seversk is near Tomsk, Tver is near Kalinin, Nizhegorod is a new site near Nizhniy Novgorod, 400 km east of Moscow, and Tsentral (central) is at Buisk in Kostrama region. South Ural is at Ozersk, Chelyabinsk region, 140 km west of Chelyabinsk in Sverdlovsk region. Tatarskaya is in Kamskiye Polyany in Nizhnekamsk Region. Primorsk is in the far east, as is Vilyuchinsk in the Kamchatka region, and Pevek in the Chukotka Autonomous Region near Bilibino, which it will replace. Floating nuclear power or cogeneration plants are planned for Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka and Pevek, Chukotka. Tver and Tsentral are considered alternatives in the short term.

Rostov 3&4 (formerly Volgodonsk)

The environmental statement and construction application were approved by Rostechnadzor in May 2009, the construction licence was granted to Energoatom in June, and construction resumed about September (it had started in 1983). First new concrete for unit 4 was in June 2010. The plant is 13.5 km from the city on the banks of Volgodonsk Tsimlyansk reservoir. Rosatom brought forward the completion dates of the two units after deciding that they would have V-320 type of VVER with improved steam generators and capacity of 1100 MWe. This is expected to save some RUR 10 billion relative to the AES-2006 technology as it continues the construction done over 1983-86. OMZ's Izhorskiye Zavody facility at Izhora is providing the pressure vessel for unit 3. Nizhniy Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (now NIAEP-ASE) is principal contractor for units 3&4, expected to cost 130 billion (US$ 4.1 billion) according to Rosenergoatom in August 2012. Steam generators for unit 4 will be from AEM-Tekhnologi at the Atommash plant, those for unit 3 from ZiO-Podolsk. Ukraine's Turboatom is to provide the low-speed turbine generators for both units. Grid connection of unit 2 was in March 2010 and full commercial operation was in October. Unit 3 started up and was grid-connected in December 2014. Full commercial operation is expected in Q3 2015.

Novovoronezh II

The principal contractor for Phase II is JSC AtomEnergoProekt (Moscow), with work starting in 2007 and some involvement of NIAEP-ASE. This is the lead plant for deploying the V-392M version of the AES-2006 units. First concrete was poured for unit 1 of this (unit 6 at the site) in June 2008 and it is expected to be commissioned in 2015, with unit 2 following a year later, at a total cost of US$ 5 billion for 2136 MWe net (1068 MWe net each). The reactor pressure vessel is due to be completed by OMZ Izhora in August 2010. The reactor pressure vessels are from OMZ Izhora and the advanced steam generators from ZiO-Podolsk, with 60-year life expectancy. Rostechnadzor licensed construction of unit 2 in October 2008 and construction started in July 2009. Atomenergoproekt told its contractors in December 2014 to accelerate work, but in May 2015 a delay of one year in commissioning both units was announced, due to low power demand. The plant is on one of the main hubs of the Russian grid.

Leningrad II

A general contract for Leningrad phase II AES-2006 plant was signed with St Petersburg AtomEnergoProekt (SPb AEP, merged with VNIPIET to become Atomproekt) in August 2007 and Rostechnadzor granted site licences in September 2007 for two units. A specific engineering, procurement and construction contract for the first two V-491 units was signed in Marchand Rostechnadzor issued a construction licence in June 2008. First concrete was poured on schedule for unit 1 in October 2008 and it was due to be commissioned in October 2013. However, a section of outer containment collapsed in 2011 and set back the schedule, as did subsequent manpower shortage, so that commissioning was then expected in 2016, following start-up at the end of 2015. Rostechnadzor granted a construction licence for the second reactor in July 2009, and first concrete was poured in April 2010. Commercial operation was due in 2018 but in May 2015 a delay of one year in commissioning both units was announced, due to low power demand. Each reactor will also provide 1.05 TJ/hr (9.17 PJ/yr) of district heating. Gross power is 1170 MWe each, net expected 1085 MWe. They are designed to replace the oldest two Leningrad units.
The 2008 construction contract was for US$ 5.8 billion ($2480/kW) possibly including some infrastructure. Total project cost was estimated at $6.6 billion. It was reported in September 2011 that Titan-2, a major subcontractor, took over from SPb AEP as principal construction contractor, then in February 2012 that Spetsstroy of Russia (Federal Agency for Special Construction) would do so. In December 2013 Roesenergoatom transferred the project from Spetsstroy to Atomenergoproekt Moscow as principal contractor, while SPb AEP/VNIPIET/Atomproekt remained architect general. NIAEP-ASE also bid for the general contract in October 2013. Rosatom had said in February 2012 that it did not believe that SPb AEP should perform the full range of design, construction and equipment supply roles.
A design contract for the next two units (3 & 4) was signed with SPb AEP in September 2008, and public consultation on these was held in Sosnovy Bor in mid 2009. An environmental review by Rostechnadzor was announced for them in January 2010 and site development licences were granted in June, then renewed in April 2013. Rosenergoatom signed a contract with VNIPIET at the end of December 2013 to develop project documentation. It expected construction licences in 2014 and construction start in 2015.

Beloyarsk 4

See following section on Transition to Fast Reactors. Start-up was in June 2014, grid connection is due in October 2014, with commercial operation in 2015. Unit 5 as a BN-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013.

Nizhny Novgorod

The plant in Navashino District near Monakovo is eventually to comprise four AES-1200 units of 1150 MWe net and costing RUR 269 billion (US$ 9.4 billion), the first planned to come on line by 2019 to address a regional energy deficit. In February 2008 Rosatom appointed Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (NN-AEP or NIAEP) as the principal designer of the plant. Rostechnadzor issued a positive site review for units 1 & 2 early in 2010 and a site licence with prescription for site monitoring in January 2011. Rosatom's proposal to proceed with construction of two units was approved in November 2011. Site works started in 2012 and formal construction starts are expected in 2014 and 2015, with commissioning in 2019 and 2021. This will be the first VVER-TOI plant with rated capacity of 1300 MWe per unit. Preliminary costing is RUR 240 billion (7.38 billion).


A 4000 MWe nuclear plant was under construction and due on line from 1992, but construction ceased in 1990. Then a 2-unit VVER-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013. Both units are expected on line by 2030 in Kamskiye Polyany in Nizhnekamsk Region of Tatarstan.


The 2340 MWe Tsentral (Central) nuclear power plant is to be 5-10 km northwest of Buisk Town in the Kostroma region, on the Kostroma River. It was another of those deferred but following Rosatom's October 2008 decision to proceed, it appeared that construction might start in 2013 with the first unit completed in 2018. Then a 2-unit VVER-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013, with both units to be on line by 2030. Moscow Atomenergoproekt is the architect-engineer. Rostechnadzor has approved the site and a development licence was expected by mid 2010, then a construction licence in 2012. The cost of the project and infrastructure is expected to be RUR 130 billion ($ 5 billion).

South Urals

The plant near Ozersk in Chelyabinsk region has been twice deferred, and was then reported by local government to have three BN-1200 fast reactor units planned, instead of four VVER-1200. Then a 2-unit BN-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013, for completion by 2030. There is only enough cooling water (70 GL/yr) for two of them, and the third will depend on completion of the Suriyamskoye Reservoir.

Kola II

In January 2012 Rosenergoatom said that the replacement Kola II plant, about 10 km south of the present plant and on the shores of Lake Imandra, would be brought forward and built with two VVER-TOI units to come on line in 2020. Then a 2-unit VVER-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013. But in September 2014 Rosenergoatom was considering medium-sized units, either VVER-600 or VBER-600 for Kola.

Kursk II

In October 2011 Rosatom said that the first unit of Kursk II should be on line by the time Kursk 1 closes, then envisaged in 2016. In March 2011, the State Duma’s Energy Committee recommended that the government update the general scheme of deployment of electricity generators, to have Units 1 and 2 of Kursk II being commissioned in 2020 and 2023 as the lead project with VVER TOI types. The cost envisaged is RUR 440 billion ($15 billion). Kursk I-5 capacity had been planned in the federal target program and its abandonment leaves a likely base-load shortfall for UES in central Russia. 
Rosatom was told to start engineering surveys for Kursk II in 2011, and set up a task force of representatives from the nuclear industry and Kursk Region government to produce project documentation on construction of Kursk II. Up to 2000 construction workers were expected on site by the end of 2014, housed in Kurchatov. Site work commenced at the end of 2013, environmental assessment is under way, a site licence is expected, and construction start is planned for 2015, with 48 months construction time anticipated. Project expenditure in 2014 is expected to be RUR 3.5 billion. The timing for commissioning is now December 2020 and December 2021. A four-unit plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013, units 3&4 to be on line by 2030. In June 2012 Rosatom appointed Moscow AEP as designer, though a later report had Nizhny-Novgorod AEP (NIAEP) as architect general and principal contractor.

Smolensk II

Atomenergoproekt Moscow is architect engineer for VVER-TOI units to replace old RBMK capacity at Smolensk. Roesnergoatom’s investment concept was approved in 2011. Site surveys were undertaken from June 2013, and three potential sites were short-listed: near former villages Pyatidvorka (Roslavl District, 6 km from Smolensk I), Kholmets (Roslavl District) and Podmostki (Pochinki District). Then a four-unit VVER plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013, with two units on line by 2025 and two by 2030. Engineering surveys were completed in November 2014 and site works were due to start at Pyatidvorka in 2015, followed by construction in 2017. This was then deferred to 2022, with the first unit expected on line in 2027.


The first 1200 MWe unit of the Seversk AES-2006 plant 32 km northwest of Tomsk was due to start up in 2015 with the second in 2017, but has been postponed, and a decision on construction schedule was still unresolved in 2012, in the light of electricity demand. Certainly its priority is downgraded in 2013. Rosatom was ready to start construction in 2013, but awaited ministerial direction. Then a two-unit VVER-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013, both units to be on line by 2030. The plant will also supply 7.5 PJ/yr of district heating.
Atomenrgopoekt Moscow is to build the plant at estimated cost of RUR 134 billion (US$ 4.4 billion). Rostechnadzor granted a site development licence in November 2009 and a further site licence in 2011. Site work has commenced. In 2010 Seversk was put on the updated general scheme of deployment of energy facilities, with the first reactor commissioning before 2020 and the second one in 2020-2025. Seversk is the site of a major enrichment plant and former weapons facilities. A design contract for the low-speed turbine generators has been signed between Moscow AEP which is responsible for design and engineering, and Alstom Atomenergomash. This will be the first Russian plant using the low-speed turbines.


Separately from the February 2008 plan, Rosatom energy-trading subsidiary InterRAO UES proposed a Baltic or Baltiyskaya AES-2006 nuclear plant in Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast to generate electricity for export, and with up to 49% European equity. Private or foreign equity would be an innovation for Russia. The plant was designed to comprise two 1200 MWe VVER units, V-491 model, sited at Neman, on the Lithuanian border and costing some RUR 194 billion (in 2009 value, EUR 4.6 billion, $6.8 billion), for 2300 MWe net. Project approval was confirmed by government decree in September 2009, following initial approval in mid-2008 as an amendment to the federal target program (FTP) of 2007. The mid-2011 business plan estimated the likely capital cost to be EUR 6.63 to 8.15 billion.
WorleyParsons was appointed technical consultant for the project. Rosenergoatom set up a subsidiary: JSC Baltic NPP to build and commission the plant. St Petersburg Atomenergoproekt - VNIPIET (now merged as Atomproekt) is the architect engineer, Nizhniy Novgorod AEP (NIAEP) is construction manager, with Atomstroyexport (ASE). TitanStroyMontazh is engineering subcontractor. Originally AEM Petrozavodskmash was to produce the pressure vessel for unit 1 but this was assigned to AEM-Tekhnologii at the Atommash plant. OMZ's Ishorskiye Zavody will produce the pressure vessel for unit 2 and the pressurisers for both units. Alstom-Atomenergomash will supply the Arabelle low-speed turbine generators for both units – the plant will be the JV's first customer, and the Baltic plant would be the first Russian plant to use major foreign components. (LMZ high-speed turbine generators had initially been approved.)
Site work began in February 2010. Expenditure to January 2012 was RUR 7.25 billion ($241 million), and that in 2012 was expected to be RUR 7 billion. Rostechnadzor issued a construction licence for unit 1 in November 2011 and first concrete was poured on (revised) schedule in April 2012, with the base completed in December 2012. Unit 1 was planned to come on line in October 2016, after 55 months construction, supplying Rosenergoatom. Commercial operation was due in 2017. Second unit construction was planned over 2013-18, with 48 months to first power and full operation in April 2018. NIAEP-ASE suspended construction in June 2013 (see below), pending a full review of the project intended to be by mid-2014, though some work on the containment was ongoing in following months. Rosenergoatom said that in October 2013 it had spent RUR 50-60 billion ($1.2 to 1.6 billion) on the project.
InterRAO UES was responsible for soliciting investment (by about 2014, well after construction start) and also for electricity sales. The Baltic plant directly competes with the plan for a new unit at Visaginas near Ignalina in Lithuania and with plans for new nuclear plants in Belarus and Poland. Rosenergoatom said that the plant is deliberately placed "essentially within the EU" and is designed to be integrated with the EU grid. Most of the power (87% in the mid 2011 business plan) would be exported to Germany, Poland and Baltic states. Transmission to northern Germany would be via a new undersea cable, and in 2011 Inter RAO and Alpiq agreed to investigate an 800 MWe undersea DC link to Germany's grid. Some €1 billion in transmission infrastructure would be required. There is already some transmission capacity east through Lithuania and Belarus to the St Petersburg region if that were added to the options. The European equity would be in order to secure markets for the power. Lithuania was invited to consider the prospect, instead of building Visaginas as a Baltic states plus Poland project, but declined. However in April 2014 Rosatom said the Baltic plant was designed to “operate within the unified grid of the Baltics and North-West of Russia”. But now, due to potential isolation of the Kaliningrad Region grid*, Rosatom “has to rebuild its project completely.” The polar crane was delivered in August 2014.
* Lithuania’s revised energy policy in 2012 involves rebuilding its grid to be independent of the Russian/Belarus system and to work in with the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO) synchronous system, as well as strengthening interconnection among the three Baltic states.
Czech power utility CEZ earlier expressed interest in the project, as did Iberdrola from Spain, whose engineering subsidiary already works at Kola, Balakovo and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants. In April 2010 Enel signed a wide-ranging agreement with Inter RAO which positioned it to take up to 49% of the plant, but this did not proceed. Rosatom earlier said that the project would not be delayed if 49% private equity or long-term sales contracts were not forthcoming.
However, in June 2013 construction was suspended due to lack of interest in the project from the Baltic states, Poland and Germany, all of whom have historical issues regarding Russia and/or Kaliningrad. NIAEP said it was investigating building some small nuclear plants in Kaliningrad instead – eight 40 MWe units such as those on floating nuclear power plants was mentioned as a possibility, and they would fit into the local energy system better, with its 500 MWe total requirement. In mid-2014 Rosenergoatom was considering VVER-600 from Gidropress with many of the same components as the original, and VBER-600 from OKBM, the latter being less developed so involving a two-year delay. A new schedule and site configuration, involving small units, was to be approved by mid-2014, but there had been no news of this to March 2015. Meanwhile manufacture and supply of equipment has continued and it is being stored on site in ten warehouses. See also grid implications in Electricity Transmission Grids paper.
As well as the Baltic plant, two other ventures with Rusal (see below) will apparently require private equity.


The plant at Udomlya district and 4 km from Kalinin was being designed by Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (NN-AEP), and in January 2010 it was announced that Rostechnadzor would conduct an environmental review of it for the first two VVER-1200 units, these being on the general scheme of electricity generators deployment to 2020. No firm dates have been given for the project, though a site development licence was expected in March 2010.


Energoatom signed a RUR 9.98 billion purchase contract for the first floating nuclear power plant for Vilyuchinsk, on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East, in July 2009. The 2x35 MWe plant, named Academician Lomonosov, is due to be completed in 2011 and commissioned in 2012, but the project is delayed due to shipyard insolvency. The two reactors were installed in October 2013, and the shipyard expects to deliver the plant to Rosenergoatom in September 2016. See FNPP subsection below.


In December 2009 AKME-Engineering was set up by Rosatom and a partner to develop and operate a pilot power generating plant (PPGP), a 100 MWe SVBR unit, at Dimitrovgrad by 2017.* The design is also known as the MTBF-100. In 2010 AKME-Engineering contracted with Atomenergoproekt to design the pilot SVBR-100, with the RF State Research Centre Institute for Physics & Power Engineering (IPPE) at Obninsk. Construction at the State Scientific Centre – Research Institute for Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) is scheduled to take 42 months, from 2015 to late 2018. In February 2013 AKME signed a contract with KomplektEnergo to supply the steam turbine for the pilot unit in 2016 and commission it in 2017. In May 2013 AKME-engineering was licensed for construction and operation of nuclear plants by Rostechnadzor, and in June AKME-Engineering secured the site adjacent to NIIAR. While site works had started in 2013, the official site permit was issued in February 2015. Rosatom explained that for designs developed on technological platforms not previously used in civil nuclear power, a siting licence issued by the regulatory authorities means acceptance of the design in terms of safety and its conformity with requirements of federal standards and rules. The company will now apply to Rostechnadzor for a construction licence.
* AKME-Engineering was set up by Rosatom and the En+ Group (a subsidiary of Russian Machines Co/ Basic Element Group) as a 50-50 JV. In 2011 JSC Irkutskenergo, an En+ subsidiary, took over the En+ 50% share. The main project participants are OKB Gidropress at Podolsk, VNIPIET OAO at St Petersburg, and the RF State Research Centre Institute for Physics & Power Engineering (IPPE) at Obninsk. The project cost was estimated at RUR 16 billion, and En+ was prepared to put in most of this, with Rosatom contributing the technology, based on naval experience. Since this is thus a public-private partnership, it was not basically funded from the federal budget. In 2014 a commercial partner was still being sought.
UES was reported to support construction of new nuclear plants in the regions of Yaroslavl, Chelyabinsk (South Urals) and Vladimir, with two to four units at each.

Further Power Reactors Proposed, uncertain status  

Unit Type MWe each gross Start construction
Leningrad II 5-6
North-west 1 & 2
BWR VK-300
Plants with low priority for UES:  
Bashkira 1-4
Far East 1-4 PWR, 1/3 for Rusal smelter 1000

Transition to Fast Reactors

The principal scheme of innovative nuclear power for Russia based on new technology platform envisages full recycling of fuel, balancing thermal and fast reactors, so that 100 GWe of total capacity requires only about 100 tonnes of input per year, from enrichment tails, natural uranium and thorium, with minor actinides being burned. About 100 t/yr of fission product wastes go to a geological repository. The BN-series fast reactor plans are part of Rosatom's so-called Proryv, or "Breakthrough," project, to develop fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle whose mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel will be reprocessed and recycled.
The BN-800 Beloyarsk 4 fast reactor designed by OKBM Afrikantov was intended to replace the BN-600 unit 3 at Beloyarsk, though the RUR 64 billion (US$ 2.05 billion) project was delayed by lack of funds following construction start in 2006. It was represented as the first Generation III reactor which, after 2020, will start to take a large share of Russian capacity as older designs are phased out. Fast reactors are projected as comprising some 14 GWe by 2030 and 34 GWe of capacity by 2050.
This first (and probably only Russian) BN-800 unit started up in June 2014 and was expected to achieve commercial operation in 2015, though it is essentially a demonstration unit for fuel and design features for the BN-1200. Rosenergoatom said that "for us, the BN-800 is not only the basis for development of a closed nuclear fuel cycle. It is also a test case for technical solutions that will later be used for commercial production of the BN-1200. Among other things, the BN-800 must answer questions about the economic viability of potential fast reactors ... if such a unit has more functions than to generate electricity, then it becomes economically attractive. That's what we have to find out.” The Beloyarsk NPP Director said that “the main objective of the BN-800 is [to provide] operating experience and technological solutions that will be applied to the BN-1200.” Rosatom’s scientific and technology council is to review the situation by mid 2015. 
The first of 2000 tonnes of sodium coolant (from France) was introduced to the BN-800 in January 2013. Initial fuel is uranium (about 75%) plus some MOX fuel assemblies. It is to change over to full load of pelletised MOX fuel by 2017 when the Zheleznogorsk MCC plant gets into full production and the fuel is tested. Initial vibropacked fuel will be made by NIIAR and pelletised MOX at PA Mayak. The unit is intended to demonstrate the use of MOX fuel at industrial scale, including that made from weapons plutonium, and justify the closed fuel cycle technology. Further reactor details in our Advanced Reactors paper.
In May 2009 St Petersburg Atomenergopoekt (SPb AEP, now Atomproekt) said it was starting design work on a BN-800 reactor for China, where two were planned at Sanming – Chinese Demonstration Fast Reactors (CDFR). They would use pelletised MOX fuel, initially from MCC. A high-level agreement was signed in October 2009, then another in November 2012, and an intergovernmental agreement relating to them was expected in 2012, but is still pending in 2015, and the project was reported to be suspended indefinitely. NIAEP-Atomstroyexport said in July 2014 that a framework contract and contract for engineering design was expected by the end of the year.
The BN-1200 reactor is being developed by OKBM Afrikantov in Zarechny, and the design was expected to be complete by the end of 2014 with related R&D completed in 2016, partly funded by federal nuclear technology program. Design completion is now expected in 2017. The design is expected to significantly improve upon that of the BN-800. Rosatom sees this as a “Generation IV design with natural security” – an element of the Proryv (breakthrough) Project*, with closed fuel cycle. See reactor details in the Advanced Reactors paper.
* for large fast reactors, BN series and BREST.
OKBM expected the first BN-1200 unit with MOX fuel to be commissioned in 2020, then eight more to 2030, moving to dense nitride U-Pu fuel. SPb AEP (merged with VNIPIET to become Atomproekt) is the general designer. Rosatom's Science and Technology Council in 2011 approved the BN-1200 reactor for Beloyarsk, and Rosatom expected to commit to this construction, once the BN-800 is operating. In May 2012 Rosenergoatom started environmental assessment for a BN-1200 unit as Beloyarsk 5, with an evaporative cooling tower. In April 2015 Rosenergoatom said that construction decision would be delayed to at least 2020, as it wanted to improve the fuel and review the economic viability of the project.  Federal financing and Rosatom funds of RUR 102 billion ($3.3 billion) are envisaged.
OKBM envisages about 11 GWe of BN-1200 plants by 2030, possibly including South Urals NPP. The Chelyabinsk regional government has reported that three units are to be built at South Urals plant, coming on line from 2021. In November 2013 the Regional Energy Planning Scheme included construction of two BN-1200 units at South Urals by 2030.
Moving in the other direction, and downsizing from BN-800 etc, a pilot 100 MWe SVBR-100 unit is planned to be built next to RIIAR Dimitrovgrad by AKME-Engineering by about 2017. This is a modular lead-bismuth cooled fast neutron reactor design from OKB Gidropress, and is intended to meet regional needs in Russia and abroad. RUR 13.23 billion was allocated for this in February 2010, including RUR 3.75 billion from the federal budget. Rosatom is looking for additional investors. The cost has increased to RUR 36 billion. Details below and in the Small Nuclear Power Reactors paper.
Rosatom put forward two fast reactor implementation options for government decision in relation to the Advanced Nuclear Technologies Federal Program 2010-2020. The first focused on a lead-cooled fast reactor such as BREST with its fuel cycle, and assumed mobilisation of all available resources on this project with a total funding of about RUR 140 billion (about $3.1 billion). The second multi-track option was favoured, since it involved lower risks than the first. It would result in technical designs of the Generation IV reactor and associated closed fuel cycles technologies by 2014, and a technological basis of the future innovative nuclear energy system featuring the Generation IV reactors working in closed fuel cycles by 2020. A detailed design would be developed for a multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) by 2014 also. This second option was designed to attract more funds apart from the federal budget allocation, was favoured by Rosatom, and was accepted.

In January 2010 the government approved the federal target program (FTP) "New-generation nuclear energy technologies for the period 2010-2015 and up to 2020" designed to bring a new technology platform for the nuclear power industry based on fast neutron reactors. It anticipated RUR 110 billion to 2020 out of the federal budget, including RUR 60 billion for fast reactors, and subsequent announcements started to allocate funds among three types: BREST, SVBR and continuing R&D on sodium cooled types. The FTP implementation will enable commercializing new fast neutron reactors for Russia to build over 2020-2030. Rosatom's long-term strategy up to 2050 involves moving to inherently safe nuclear plants using fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle and MOX or nitride fuel.

Federal target Program Funding for Fast Neutron Reactors to 2020  

cooling Demonstration reactor timing Construction RUR billion R&D RUR billion Total RUR billion
Pb-Bi cooled SVBR 100 MWe by 2017 10.153 3.075 13.228
Na cooled (BN-600, BN-800) to 2016 0 5.366 5.366
Pb cooled BREST 300 MWe 2016-20 15.555 10.143 25.698
multiple MBIR 150 MWt 2012-20 11.390 5.042 16.432
Total: 37.1 60.7
Source: Government decree #50, 2010. Mosr (RUR 9.5 billion) of the funding for SVBR construction is from "other sources".

In September 2012 Rosatom announced that a pilot demonstration BREST-300 fast reactor with associated fuel cycle facilities including dense nitride fuel fabrication would be built at the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk, near Tomsk. A construction schedule was presented at a Proryv (breakthrough) Project meeting at SCC in March 2013. SCC hopes to obtain a siting licence for BREST-OD-300 in 2014. The State Environmental Commission of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor) issued a positive statement on the construction licence application package for the pilot demonstration power complex (PDPC) and fuel fabrication module in June 2014. Rostechnadzor now needs to give approval. The PDPC comprises three phases: the fuel fabrication/re-fabrication module, a nuclear power plant with BREST-OD-300 reactor, and used nuclear fuel reprocessing module. In April 2014 the fuel fabrication/re-fabrication module was granted a positive statement by the State Expert Review Authority of Russia.
A decision to proceed depends on successful testing of the nitride fuel in BN-600 reactor from the end of 2013. The reactor commissioning is set for 2020. RUR 25 billion ($809 million) has been budgeted for the reactor and RUR 17 billion ($550 million) for the fuel cycle facilities, though it appears that only RUR 15.555 billion would come from the federal budget. NIKIET finished the BREST design in 2014, to allow construction over 2016-20. If it is successful as a 300 MWe unit, a 1200 MWe (2800 MWt) version will follow.
Starting 2020-25 it is envisaged that fast neutron power reactors will play an increasing role in Russia, though these will probably be new designs such as BREST with a single core and no blanket assembly for plutonium production. An optimistic scenario has expansion to 90 GWe nuclear capacity by 2050.
Design of the 150 MWt multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) was finalised in 2014 and the contract let to AEM-Technologies, with completion expected in 2020 at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR or NIIAR) in Dimitrovgrad. It will be a multi-loop research reactor capable of testing lead, lead-bismuth and gas coolants, and running on MOX fuel. It will be part of an international research centre at RIAR’s site. Rostechnadzor granted a site licence to RIAR in August 2014 and a construction licence in May 2015. The project is open to foreign collaboration, in connection with the IAEA INPRO program. See also R&D section in the paper on Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
See also Fast Reactors, in the Reactor Technology section below.

Aluminium and nuclear power

In 2006 the major aluminium producer SUAL (which in March 2007 became part of RUSAL) signed an agreement with Rosatom to support investment in new nuclear capacity at Kola, to power expanded aluminium smelting there from 2013. Four units totalling 1000 MWe were envisaged for Kola stage 2 underpinned by a 25-year contract with SUAL, but economic feasibility is in doubt and the project appears to have been dropped and replaced by two others.
Since 2007 Rosatom and RUSAL, now the world's largest aluminium and alumina producer, have been undertaking a feasibility study on a nuclear power generation and aluminium smelter at Primorye in Russia's far east. This proposal is taking shape as a US$ 10 billion project involving four 1000 MWe reactors and a 600,000 t/yr smelter with Atomstroyexport having a controlling share in the nuclear side. The smelter would require about one third of the output from 4 GWe, and electricity exports to China and North and South Korea are envisaged.
In October 2007 a $8 billion project was announced for the world's biggest aluminium smelter at Balakovo in the Saratov region, complete with two new nuclear reactors to power it. The 1.05 million tonne per year aluminium smelter is to be built by RUSAL and would require about 15 billion kWh/yr. The initial plan was for the existing Balakovo nuclear power plant of four 950 MWe reactors to be expanded with two more, already partly constructed* – the smelter would require a little over one-third of the output of the expanded power plant. However, in February 2010 it was reported that RUSAL proposed to build its own 2000 MWe nuclear power station, Balakovo AES2, with construction to start in 2011. The overall budget for the energy and metals complex was estimated by the Minister of Investment in the Saratov District to be about $12 billion. Land has been allotted for the project and design has commenced. Aluminium smelting is energy-intensive and requires reliable low-cost electricity to be competitive. Increasingly it is also carbon-constrained – this smelter will emit about 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year just from anode consumption.

* Construction of Phase II of Balakovo plant, started in 1987, was stopped in 1992. At that time, unit 5 was 60% complete and unit 6 was 15% - both VVER-1000. From mid 2000 Rosenergoatom prepared Balakovo II for construction completion. However, then Rusal decided against the plan, and in 2009 Rosatom announced freezing the project. In 2015 it called for bids to mothball the project by 2019 

RUSAL announced an agreement with the regional government which would become effective when the nuclear plant expansion is approved by Rosatom or an alternative is agreed. Balakovo units 5 & 6 have been listed as prospective for some time but were dropped off the 2007-08 Rosatom plan for completing 26 new power reactors by 2020 as they were low priority for UES grid supply. Balakovo is on the Volga River 800 km SE of Moscow.
Meanwhile, and relevant to these proposals, in 2011 Renova's Integrated Energy Systems (IES) Holding, Russia’s largest privately-owned power producer and supplier, agreed to sell its 141 MWe Bogoslovskaya CHP plant to RUSAL in mid 2012, along with the rights to develop a new 230 MWe combined cycle gas turbine unit at the plant, in the central region of Sverdlovsk. This deal, along with another for a supply contract from the Federal Grid Company, enables RUSAL's Bogoslovosk smelter to continue operating. These arrangements were made at presidential level, and will absolve the Bogoslovskaya smelter from paying the cross-subsidy from industrial consumers to other electricity users that is inherent in the general distribution tariff.

Nuclear icebreakers and merchant ship

Nuclear propulsion has proven technically and economically essential in the Russian Arctic where operating conditions are beyond the capability of conventional icebreakers. The power levels required for breaking ice up to 3 metres thick, coupled with refuelling difficulties for other types of vessels, are significant factors. The nuclear fleet has increased Arctic navigation on the Northern Sea Route (NSR) from two to ten months per year, and in the Western Arctic, to year-round. Greater use of the icebreaker fleet is expected with developments on the Yamal Peninsula and further east. For instance the Yamal LNG project is expected to need 200 shipping movements per year from Sabetta at the mouth of the Ob River. The fleet is operated by Atomflot, a Rosatom division, and is commercially vital to northern mineral and oil/gas developments. The newest icebreakers being built have 34-metre beam, able to open a path for large ships.
The icebreaker Lenin was the world’s first nuclear-powered surface vessel (20,000 dwt) and remained in service for 30 years (1959-89), though new reactors were fitted in 1970.
It led to a series of larger icebreakers, the six 23,500 dwt Arktika-class, launched from 1975. These powerful vessels have two 171 MWt OK-900 reactors delivering 54 MW at the propellers and are used in deep Arctic waters. The Arktika was the first surface vessel to reach the North Pole, in 1977. The seventh and largest Arktika class icebreaker – 50 Years of Victory (50 Let Pobedy) entered service in 2007. It is 25,800 dwt, 160 m long and 20m wide, and is designed to break through ice up to 2.8 metres thick. Its performance in service has been impressive.
For use in shallow waters such as estuaries and rivers, two shallow-draught Taymyr-class icebreakers of 18,260 dwt with one reactor delivering 35 MW were built in Finland and then fitted with their nuclear steam supply system in Russia. They are built to conform with international safety standards for nuclear vessels and were launched from 1989.
Larger third-generation 'universal' LK-60 icebreakers are being built as dual-draught (8.55 or 10.5m) wide-beam (34m) ships of 25,450 dwt or 33,540 dwt with ballast, able to handle three metres of ice. In August 2012 the United Shipbuilding Corporation won the contract for the first new-generation LK-60 icebreaker powered by two RITM-200 reactors of 175 MWt each, delivering 60 MW at the propellers via twin turbine-generators and three motors. They would be built by subsidiary Baltijsky Zavod Shipbuilding. Rosatomflot expects to have the pilot version commissioned in 2018 at a cost of RUR 37 billion. In January 2013 Rosatom called for bids to build two more of these universal icebreaker vessels (project 22220), for delivery in 2019 and 2020, and in May 2104 a contract for RUR 84.4 billion ($2.4 billion) was signed with USC, the vessels to be built at the same shipyard. In August 2013 Rostechnadzor licensed Baltijsky Zavod Shipbuilding to install the RITM-200 reactor units from OKBM Afrikantov for the pilot model. The keel of Arctica was laid in November 2013, and that of Sibir in May 2015.

A more powerful LC-110 icebreaker of 110 MW net and 55,600 dwt is planned, to be capable of breaking through ice up to 4.5 m thick. The first vessel will be the Leader with 50 m beam to match large tankers.

Diagram of LK-60 icebreaker (Source: Rosatom)  

In 1988 the NS Sevmorput was commissioned in Russia, mainly to serve northern Siberian ports. It is a 61,900 tonne 260 m long lash-carrier (taking lighters to ports with shallow water) and container ship with ice-breaking bow. It is powered by the same KLT-40 reactor as used in larger icebreakers, delivering 32.5 propeller MW from the 135 MWt reactor and it needed refuelling only once to 2003.
Russian experience with nuclear powered Arctic ships totals about 300 reactor-years in 2009. In 2008 the Arctic fleet was transferred from the Murmansk Shipping Company under the Ministry of Transport to FSUE Atomflot, under Rosatom.

Floating nuclear power plants (FNPP)

Rosatom was planning to build seven or eight floating nuclear power plants by 2015. The first of them was to be constructed and tehn remain at Severodvinsk with intended completion in 2010, but plans changed. Each FNPP has two 35 MWe KLT-40S nuclear reactors. (If primarily for desalination this set-up is known as APVS-80.) The operating life is envisaged as 38 years: three 12-year campaigns with a year's maintenance outage in between.
A decision to commit to building a series is envisaged in 2014 when the first is near commissioning. The actual hulls might be built in South Korea or China, and fitted out in Russia. Rosenergoatom earlier signed an agreement with JSC Kirov Factory to build further units, and Kirov subsidiary Kirov Energomash was expected to be the main non-nuclear contractor on these.
The keel of the first floating nuclear power plant, named Academician Lomonosov, was laid in April 2007 at Sevmash in Severodvinsk, but in August 2008 Rosatom cancelled the contract (apparently due to the military workload at Sevmash) and transferred it to the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard at St Petersburg, which has experience in building nuclear icebreakers. After signing a new RUR 9.98 billion contract in February, new keel-laying took place in May 2009 and the two reactors were delivered from OKBM Afrikantov by August. The 21,500 tonne hull (144 metres long, 30 m wide) was launched at the end of June 2010. 

Plans for floating nuclear power plants  

The site originally planned for its deployment was Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka peninsula, to ensure sustainable electricity and heat supplies to the naval base there. Completion and towing to the site is expected in 2012 and grid connection in 2013, but due to insolvency of the shipyard JSC Baltijsky Zavod* and ensuing legal processes it is delayed considerably. Barely any work was done over 2011-12 after some RUR 2 billion allocated to finance the construction apparently disappeared. The state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation acquired the shipyard in 2012 and a new contract with Baltijsky Zavod-Sudostroyeniye (BZS), the successor of the bankrupt namesake, was signed in December 2012. The cost of completing the FNPP was then put at RUR 7.631 billion ($248 million). The two reactors were installed in October 2013. Rosenergoatom now hopes to take delivery in September 2016. In June 2009 Rostechnadzor approved the environmental review for the siting license for the facility, as well as the justification of investment in it.
* a subsidiary of privately-owned United Industrial Corporation.
The reactor assembling and acceptance tests were carried out at Nizhniy Novgorod Machine Engineering Plant (NMZ). Three companies had contributed: OKBM (development of design and technical follow-up of the manufacture and testing), Izhorskiye Zavody (manufacture of the reactor pressure vessel), and NMZ (manufacture of component parts and reactor assembling). The revised cost was reported as being RUR 16 billion (RUR 229,000/kW), but this figure was expected to fall for subsequent units.
The second plant of this size was planned for Pevek on the Chukotka peninsula in the Chaun district of the far northeast, near Bilibino, and designed to replace it and a 35 MWe thermal plant as a major component of the Chaun-Bilibino industrial hub. However, at the end of 2012 the Ministries of Defence, Energy and Industry agreed to make Pevek the site for the delayed first FNPP unit. Roesenergoatom said that the tariff revenue of Chukotka made it more attractive than the Vilyuchinsk naval base, which is expected to have natural gas connected in 2014. Although the Chukotka government has expressed scepticism about costs of power, as of October 2014 it appears that Pevek will be the site for the first plant, from 2017.
The third site is Chersky or Sakha in Yakutia. In June 2010 a "roadmap" for deployment of up to eight further FNPPs was expected, on the occasion of launching the barge for the first, but it has not appeared. As of early 2009, four floating plants were designated for northern Yakutia in connection with the Elkon uranium mining project in southern Yakutia, and in 2007 an agreement was signed with the Sakha Republic (northeast Yakutia region) to build one of them, using smaller ABV-6 reactors. Five were intended for use by Gazprom for offshore oil and gas field development and for operations on the Kola peninsula near Finland and the Yamal peninsula in central Siberia. There is also perceived to be considerable export potential for the FNPPs, on a fully-serviced basis. Electricity cost is expected to be much lower than from present alternatives.
In May 2014 the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) signed an agreement with Rosatom to cooperate in construction of floating nuclear cogeneration plants for China offshore islands. These would be built in China but be based on Russian technology, and possibly using Russian KLT-40S reactors. 
The larger end of the Russian FNPP range would use a pair of 325 MWe VBER-300 reactors on a 49,000 tonne barge, and a smaller one could use a pair of RITM-200 reactors on a 17,500 t barge, as successor to the KLT-40. ATETs-80 and ATETs-200 are twin-reactor cogeneration units using KLT-40 and may be floating or land-based. The former produces 85 MWe plus 120,000 m3/day of potable water.
The small ABV-6 reactor is 38 MW thermal and a pair mounted on a 97-metre, 8700 tonne barge is known as Volnolom floating NPP, producing 12-18 MWe plus 40,000 m3/day of potable water by reverse osmosis.
As well as FNPPs, NIKIET is developing a sunken power plant which will sit on the sea bed supplying electricity for Arctic oil and gas development. This is SHELF, 6 MWe integral PWR. Details in the R&D section of the paper on Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle.


In addition, 5 GW of thermal power plants (mostly AST-500 integral PWR type) for district and industrial heat will be constructed at Arkhangelesk (4 VK-300 units commissioned to 2016), Voronezh (2 units 2012-18), Saratov, Dimitrovgrad and (small-scale, KLT-40 type PWR) at Chukoyka and Severodvinsk. Russian nuclear plants provided 11.4 PJ of district heating in 2005, and this is expected to increase to 30.8 PJ by about 2010. (A 1000 MWe reactor produces about 95 PJ per year internally to generate the electricity.)

Heavy engineering and turbine generators

The main reactor component supplier is OMZ's Komplekt-Atom-Izhora facility which is doubling the production of large forgings so as to be able to manufacture three or four pressure vessels per year from 2011. OMZ subsidiary Izhorskiye Zavody is expected to produce the forgings for all new domestic AES-2006 model VVER-1200 nuclear reactors (four per year from 2016) plus exports. At present Izhora can produce the heavy high-quality forgings required for Russia's VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors at the rate of two per year. These forgings include reactor pressure vessels, steam generators, and heavy piping. In 2008 the company rebuilt its 12,000 tonne hydraulic press, claimed to be the largest in Europe, and a second stage of work will increase that capacity to 15,000 tonnes.
In May 2012 Rosenergoatom said that rector pressure vessels for its VVER-TOI reactors would be made by both Izhorskiye Zavody and the Ukrainian works Energomashspetsstal (EMSS) with Russian Petrozavodskmash.
Petrozavodskmash makes steam generators and has the contract for RPV and various internals for Baltic 1 reactor. Izhorskiye Zavody is expected to supply these components for unit 2.
ZiO-Podolsk also makes steam generators, including those for Belene/ Kozloduy 7.
Turbine generators for the new plants are mainly from Power Machines (Silovye Mashiny – Silmash) subsidiary LMZ, which has six orders for high-speed (3000 rpm) turbines: four of 1200 MWe for Novovoronezh and Leningrad, plus smaller ones for Kalinin and Beloyarsk. The company plans also to offer 1200 MWe low-speed (1500 rpm) turbine generators from 2014, and is investing RUB 6 billion in a factory near St Petersburg to produce these. Silmash is 26% owned by Siemens.
Alstom Atomenergomash (AAEM) is a joint venture between French turbine manufacturer Alstom and Atomenergomash (AEM, an AEP subsidiary), which will produce low-speed turbine generators based on Alstom's Arabelle design, sized from 1200 to 1800 MWe. The Baltic plant will be the first customer, in a RUB 35 billion order, with Russian content about 50%. This will increase to over 70% for subsequent projects. It will produce the Arabelle units at AEM's newly-acquired Atommash plant at Volgodonsk for delivery in 2015.
Ukraine's Turboatom is offering a 1250 MWe low-speed turbine generator for the VVER-TOI. Rosenergoatom says it insists on having at least two turbine vendors, and prefers three.

Reactor Technology

In September 2006 the technology future for Russia was focused on four elements:
  • Serial construction of AES-2006 units, with increased service life to 60 years,
  • Fast breeder BN-800,
  • Small and medium reactors – KLT-40 and VBER-300,
  • High temperature reactors (HTR).
Since 2006 the SVBR-100 has come to the fore, and HTRs disappeared from the news.

VVER-1000, AES-92, AES-91

The main reactor design being deployed until now has been the V-320 version of the VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor with 950-1000 MWe net output. It is from OKB Gidropress (Experimental Design Bureau Hydropress), has 30-year basic design life and dates from the 1980s. A later version of this for export is the V-392, with enhanced safety and seismic features, as the basis of the AES-92 power plant. All models have four coolant loops, with horizontal steam generators. Maximum burn-up is 60 GWd/tU. VVER stands for water-cooled, water-moderated energy reactor.

Advanced versions of this VVER-1000 with western instrument and control systems have been built at Tianwan in China and are being built at Kudankulam in India - as AES-91 and AES-92 nuclear power plants respectively. The former was bid for Finland in 2002 and for Sanmen and Yangjiang in China in 2005, while the AES-92 was accepted for Belene in Bulgaria in 2006. These have 40-year design life. (Major components of the two designs are the same except for slightly taller pressure vessel in AES-91, but cooling and safety systems differ. The AES-92 has greater passive safety features features - 12 heat exchangers for passive decay heat removal, the AES-91 has extra seismic protection. The V-428 in the AES-91 is the first Russian reactor to have a core-catcher, V-412 in AES-92 also has core catcher.)

VVER-1200, AES-2006, MIR-1200

Development of a third-generation standardised VVER-1200 reactor of about 1170 MWe net folloowed, as the basis of the AES-2006 power plant. Rosatom drew upon Gidropress, OKBM, Kurchatov Institute, Rosenergoatom, Atomstroyexport, three Atomenergoproekt outfits, VNIINPP and others. Two design streams emerged: one from Atomproekt in St Petersburg with V-491 reactor, and one from Atomenergoproekt in Moscow with V-392M reactor.
Both versions provide about 1200 MWe gross from 3200 MWt, along with about 300 MWt for district heating. This is an evolutionary development of the well-proven VVER-1000/V-320 and then the third-generation V-392 in the AES-92 plant (or the AES-91 for Atomproekt version), with longer life (60 years for non-replaceable equipment, not 30), greater power, and greater thermal efficiency (34.8% net instead of 31.6%). Compared with the V-392, it has the same number of fuel assemblies (163) but a wider pressure vessel, slightly higher operating pressure and temperature (329ºC outlet), and higher burn-up (up to 70 GWd/t). It retains four coolant loops. Refueling cycle is up to 24 months. Core catchers filled with non-metallic materials are under the pressure vessels. Construction time for serial units is "no more than 54 months".
The lead units are being built at Novovoronezh II (V-392M), to start operation in 2014-15, and at Leningrad II (V-491) for 2016-18. Both plants will use Areva's Teleperm safety instrument and control systems. Seversk, South Ural and Central are listed by Moscow Atomenergoproekt as the next projects. Atomproekt’s Leningrad II with V-491 reactor is quoted as the reference plant for further units at Tianwan in China. The two AES-2006 plants are very similar apart from safety systems configuration.
The Novovoronezh V-392M units are expected to provide 1200 MWe gross, 1068 MWe net. Atomernergoproekt Moscow has installed what it calls dry protection here, a 144-tonne structure surrounding the reactor core that reduces emission of radiation and heat. It consists of a steel cylinder with double walls, 7m diameter, with the space between them filled with specially formulated concrete. This gives it better aircraft crash resistance than V-491. They have passive decay heat removal by air circulation.
The Leningrad V-491 has water tanks high up in the structure so is better for Finland and central Europe rather than seismic sites (DBGM is only 120 Gal). The V-392M requires less water for safety systems, and can be air-cooled for decay heat.
Atomproekt’s Leningrad V-491 units are expected to provide 1200 MWe gross. They have four trains of active safety systems, with water tanks high up in the structure to provide water cooling for decay heat, and is more suited to Finland and central Europe rather than seismic sites (DBGM is only 250 Gal). Atomproekt’s AES-2006 has two steam turbine variants: Russian Silmash high-speed version for Russia, or Alstom Arabelle low-speed turbine as proposed for Hanhikivi and MIR-1200 (Silmash plans to produce low-speed turbines from 2014).

A typical AES-2006 plant will be a twin set-up with two of these OKB Gidropress V-491 or V-392M reactor units expected to run for 60 years with capacity factor of 92%, and probably with Silmash turbine generators. Capital cost was said to be US$ 1200/kW (though the first contract of them is more like $2100/kW) and construction time 54 months. They have enhanced safety including that related to earthquakes and aircraft impact with some passive safety features and double containment. 

For Europe, the basic Atomproekt V-491 St Petersburg version has been slightly modified by Atomproekt as the MIR-1200 (Modernized International Reactor), and bid for Temelin 3&4. It is also selected for Hanhikivi in Finland, as AES-2006 E, with ‘extended list of accidents and external impacts’ including higher seismic tolerance. As of late 2014 Gidropress still designated the reactor unit V-491.


A further evolution, or finessing, of Moscow Atomenergoproekt’s version of the AES-2006 power plant with the V-392M reactor is the VVER-TOI (typical optimized, with enhanced information) design for the AES-2010 plant, the VVER-1300 reactor being designated V-510 by Gidropress. Rosatom says that this is planned to be standard for new projects in Russia and worldwide, with minor variations. This has an upgraded pressure vessel with four welds rather than six, and will use a new steel which “removes nearly all limitations on RPV operation in terms of radiation embrittlement of metal”, making possible a service life of more than 60 years with 70 GWd/t fuel burn-up and 18 to 24-month fuel cycle. It has increased power to 3300 MWt, 1255 MWe gross (nominally 1300), improved core design still with 163 fuel assemblies to increase cooling reliability, larger steam generators, further development of passive safety with at least 72-hour grace period requiring no operator intervention after shutdown, lower construction and operating costs, and 40-month construction time. It is claimed to require only 130-135 tonnes of natural uranium (compared with typical 190 tU now) per gigawatt year. It will use a low-speed turbine-generator.
The project was initiated in 2009 and the completed design was presented to the customer, Rosenergoatom at the end of 2012. The design aim was to try and save 20% of the cost. It was submitted to Rostechnadzor in 2013 for licensing, with a view to subsequent international certification in accordance with EUR requirements as the standard future export model. EUR approval is seen as basic in many markets, notably China. In 2012 Rosatom announced that it intended to apply for UK design certification for the VVER-TOI design with a view to Rusatom Overseas building them in UK. This application is expected in 2015, in conjunction with Rolls-Royce.
It appears the first units will be at Nizhny Novgorod, then Akkuyu in Turkey, then Kola II, Kursk II and Smolensk II. In June 2012 Rosatom said it would apply for VVER-1200 design certification in UK and USA, through Rusatom Overseas, with the VVER-TOI version. Development involved OKB Gidropress (chief designer), NRC Kurchatov Institute (scientific supervisor), All-Russian Scientific and Research Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operation (VNIIAES – architect-engineer), and NIAEP-ASE jointly with Alstom (turbine island designer). V-509 and V-513 reactors are variants of V-510.
A Rosenergoatom account of the safety features of the reactor is on the Nuclear Engineering International website, and Gidropress account.

Russian PWR nuclear power reactors*

Generic reactor type Reactor plant model Whole power plant
VBER-300 (under development) OKBM, 325 MWe gross, based on KLT-40
VVER-200 - prototype VVER
VVER-440 V-179 Novovoronezh 3-4, prototype VVER-440
V-230 Kola 1-2, Armenia (modified to V-270), EU units closed down
V-213 Kola 3-4, Loviisa, Paks, Dukovany, Bohunice V2, Mochovce
V-318 Cuba, based on V-213, full containment & ECCS
VVER-640 V-407 (under development), Gen III+, Gidropress
VVER-300 V-478 (under development. based on V-407), Gen III+, Gidropress
VVER-600 V-498 (under development, based on V-491), Gen III+, proposed for Baltic, Gidropress
VVER-1000 V-187 Novovoronezh 5, prototype VVER-1000
V-320 most Russian & Ukraine plants, Kozloduy 5-6, Temelin
V-338 Kalinin 1-3, Temelin 1&2, S. Ukraine 2
V-446 based on V-392, adapted to previous Siemens work, Bushehr
V-413 AES-91
V-428 AES-91 Tianwan and Vietnam, based on V-392, Gen III
V-428M Tianwan 4&5, later version
V-412 AES-92 Kudankulam, based on V-392, Gen III
V-392 AES-92 – meets EUR standards, Armenia, Khmelnitsky 3-4, Gen III
V-392B AES-92
V-466 AES-91/99 Olkiluoto bid, also Sanmen, developed from V-428, Gen III
V-466B AES-92 Belene/ Kozloduy 7, developed from V-412 & V-466, 60-year lifetime, 1060 MWe gross, Gen III, Gidropress
VVER-1200 V-392M AES-2006 by Moscow AEP and Gidropress, Novovoronezh, Seversk, Central, Smolensk, South Ural, Akkuyu, Rooppur; Developed from V-392 and V-412, Gen III+, 1170 MWe gross, more passive safety than V-491, developed to VVER-TOI.
V-491 AES-2006 Leningrad, Baltic, Belarus, Hanhikivi, Tianwan 7&8, Paks, Ninh Thuan 1; developed from AES-91 V-428 by Atomproekt and Gidropress, Gen III+, 1170 MWe gross, developed to MIR-1200 for EUR Temelin bid.
 VVER-1300 V-488 AES-2006M, developmental model, Gen III+, Gidropress
VVER-1300  V-510 AES-2010, VVER-TOI, Gen III+, developed from V-392M, Kursk II, Smolensk II
VVER-1200A V-501 (concept proposal) AES-2006 but 2-loop, Gen III+
VVER-1500 V-448 (under development), Gen III+
VVER-1800 (concept proposal)
VVER-SCP V-393 (concept proposal), supercritical, Gen IV

AES=NPP. Early V numbers referred to models which were widely built in several countries, eg V-230, V-320. Then the V-392 seemed to be a general export version of the V-320. Later V numbers are fairly project-specific. Broadly the first digit of the number is the VVER generation, the second is the reactor system and the third – and any suffix – relates to the building.
Generation III or III+ ratings are as advised by Gidropress, but not necessarily accepted internationally.
* V-392M has two active safety channels, while V-491 has four, and turbine hall layouts are also different. In the V-392M there is a focus placed on avoidance of redundancy, aiming at higher cost-effectiveness of the plant construction and operation. Both V-392M and V-491 designs include a common emergency core cooling system (ECCS) passive section, but in the V-392M the ECCS active section is represented by a combined two-channel high and low pressure system, while the V-491 utilizes a segregated four-channel high and low pressure system. The V-392M design features a closed two-channel steam generator emergency cool-down system, whereas the V491 uses a traditional four-channel emergency feedwater system. To mitigate consequences of beyond design basis accidents involving total loss of AC power sources, both designs use a passive heat removal system, which is air-cooled in the V-392M and water-cooled in the V-491. Additionally, the V-392M design is fitted with a four-channel emergency passive core flooding system.
While Gidropress is responsible for the actual 1200 MWe reactor, Moscow AEP and Atomproekt St Petersburg are going different ways on the cooling systems, and one or the other may be chosen for future plants once Leningrad II and Novovoronezh II are operating. Passive safety systems prevail in Moscow’s V-392M design, while St Petersburg’s V-491 design focuses on active safety systems based on Tianwan V-428 design.
For the immediate future, Gidropress shows the VVER-1200/V-392M and V-491 reactors evolving into VVER-1300/V-488 (in AES-2006M power plant) four-loop designs, and into the VVER-1200A/V-501 (similar, but two-loop design) reactors in the next few years. This then evolves to the VVER-1800 with three loops. The AES-2006M has an uprated VVER-1200 with less conservative design and new steam generators, giving it 1300 MWe. The VVER-1200A/V-501 is expected to have lower construction cost. The four-loop VVER-1200 also evolves to the half-sized VVER-600 with only two loops.


About 2005 Rosatom (the Federal Atomic Energy Agency) promoted the basic design for VVER-1500 pressurised water reactors by Gidropress as a priority. Design was expected to be complete in 2007, but the project was shelved in 2006. It remains a four-loop design, 42350 MWt producing 1500 MWe gross, with increased pressure vessel diameter to 5 metres, 241 fuel assemblies in core enriched to 4.4%, burn-up up 45-55 and up to 60 GWd/t and life of 60 years. If revived, it will be a Generation III+ model meeting EUR criteria.

Medium VVER

Another reactor type with advanced safety features (passive safety systems) which was under development is the VVER-640 (V-407), an 1800 MWt, 640 MWe unit originally developed by Gidropress jointly with Siemens. After apparently beginning construction of the first at Sosnovy Bor, funds ran out and it disappeared from plans. However, it is back on the drawing boards, now as a Generation III+ type, with four cooling loops, low power density, low-enriched fuel (3.6%), passive safety systems, 33.6% thermal efficiency and only 45 GWd/t burn-up. In March 2013 SPbAEP (merged with VNIPIET to become Atomproekt) said that subject to Rosatom approval it could have a VVER-640 project ready to go possibly at the Kola site by the end of 2014. The project partners – Atomenergomash, OKB Gidropress, Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (CDBME) of the Russian Shipbuilding Agency, OMZ’s Izhorskiye Zavody, Kurchatov Institute, and VNIPIET – “confirmed its readiness for updating aiming at commercialization.” In May 2013 Atomenergoproekt said it has already been discussing with VNIPIET the feasibility and practicability of using the VVER-640 project “as the starting point for the development of next-generation medium-power NPPs, including with the use of passive safety systems”.
Since 2008 OKB Gidropress with SPb AEP and Kurchatov Institute has also been developing a 2-loop VVER-600 (project V-498) from V-491 (1200 MWe, 4-loop), using the same basic equipment but no core catcher, as a Generation III+ type. In December 2011 it signed a contract with the Design and Engineering Branch of Rosenergoatom for R&D related to the VVER-600 reactor, though this is not part of any federal Rosatom program. Gidropress presented the design to Rosenergoatom in February 2013, saying a project package could be ready in two years. It will be capable of load-following, and have 60-year life. Rosenergoatom has been considering it for the Baltic plant site as a straightforward option if the 1200 MWe units are abandoned.
Gidropress is also developing a VVER-300 unit from the delayed VVER-640.


A Generation IV Gidropress project in collaboration with Generation IV International Forum is the supercritical VVER (VVER-SKD or VVER-SCWR) with higher thermodynamic efficiency (45%) and higher breeding ratio (0.95) and oriented towards the closed fuel cycle. Focus is on structural materials and fuels. Size ranges 300 to 1700 MW. The SPA Central Research Institute of Machine Engineering Technology (TsNIITMASH) in Moscow and OKB Giidropress are involved in the draft proposals. OKB Gidropress says that “Such reactors are expected to increase significantly thermal energy conversion efficiency, move to the fast neutron spectrum in the reactor core and, by thus, substantially improve parameters of breeding of the secondary nuclear fuel in the reactor.”

Fast Reactors

For context, see also above section on Transition to Fast Reactors.
The BN-800 fast neutron (bystry neutron) reactor from OKBM Afrikantov and Atomproekt being built at Beloyarsk was designed to supersede the BN-600 unit there and utilise MOX fuel with both reactor-grade and weapons plutonium. It is 2100 MWt, 864 MWe gross, 789 MWe net, and have fuel burn-up of 66 GWd/t, increasing to 100 GWd/t. Further BN-800 units were planned.
The BN-1200 is being designed by OKBM for operation with MOX fuel from 2020 and dense nitride U-Pu fuel subsequently, in closed fuel cycle. Rosatom plans to submit the BN-1200 to the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) as a Generation IV design. The BN-1200 will produce 2900 MWt (1220 MWe), has a 60-year design life, simplified refuelling, and burn-up of up to 120 GWd/t. The capital cost is expected to be much the same as VVER-1200. Design is expected to be complete in 2014. It is intended to produce electricity at RUR 0.65/kWh (US 2.23 cents/kWh). This is part of a federal Rosatom program, the Proryv (Breakthrough) Project for large fast neutron reactors.
A BN-1800 was briefly under development.
Fast reactors represent a technological advantage for Russia and the BN-800 has been picked up by China. There is also significant export or collaborative potential with Japan. In February 2010 a government decree allocated RUR 5.37 billion funding for sodium-cooled fast reactor development. In late 2012 Rosatom said that it plans to make available its experimental facilities for use as part of the GIF, including specifically large physical test benches at Obninsk’s Institute of Physics and Power Engineering, the BOR-60 research reactor at NIIAR, and the future multifunction research reactor MBIR to be built at the NIIAR site.
Future fast reactors are expected to have an integrated core to minimise the potential for weapons proliferation from bred Pu-239.
The BREST-300 lead-cooled fast reactor (Bystry Reaktor so Svintsovym Teplonositelem) is another innovation, from NIKIET, with the first unit earlier being proposed for Beloyarsk-5. This will be a new-generation fast reactor which dispenses with the fertile blanket around the core and supersedes the BN-600/800 design, to give enhanced proliferation resistance. In February 2010 a government decree approved RUR 40 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) funding for an initial 300 MWe BREST unit (at SCC Seversk rather than Beloyarsk) over 2016-20. See also Advanced Reactors paper.
The SVBR-100 (Svintsovo-Vismutovyi Bystryi Reaktor – lead-bismuth fast reactor) is a modular lead-bismuth cooled fast neutron reactor designed by OKB Gidropress in Podolsk and the Institute for Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE), so that larger power plants are built incrementally and comprise several 100 MWe modules. The project is being undertaken by AKME-engineering – a 50-50 joint venture of Rosatom and private company En+ Group. The demonstration 101 MWe pilot commercial power unit (PCPU) unit is planned to be built next to RIAR Dimitrovgrad by 2019. However, in December 2014 Rosatom said that the cost had blown out to RUR 36 billion ($704 million), more than twice the RUR 15 billion original estimate, making it “less commercially attractive”, and Rosatom was having second thoughts.
Each 100 MWe fast reactor module with lead-bismuth primary coolant is 4.5 x 8.2 metres, built in factories and delivered to site. The 280 MWt reactor has integral design and forced convection circulation of primary coolant at up to 500°C with two main circulation pumps but passive cooling after shutdown. Fuel is low-enriched (16.5%) uranium or MOX initially, later possibly nitride. Refueling interval is 7-8 years and there is no breeding blanket. Design life is 60 years. It is proposed as a replacement for Novovoronezh 3&4 (in the present reactor halls), and for Kozloduy in Bulgaria. It is described by Gidropress as a multi-function reactor, for power, heat or desalination, to meet regional needs in Russia and abroad. Serial production is envisaged from 2024. Rosatom is seeking additional investors in the project to enable it to proceed, but has said that it is not negotiating with China on the matter. See Small Nuclear Reactors paper.
Another new reactor, also described as a multi-function fast reactor – MBIR – is to be built at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) at Dimitrovgrad. See R&D section in the Russian Fuel Cycle paper since this is not essentially a power reactor.

Small Floating VVERs

After many years of promoting the idea, in 2006 Rosatom approved construction of a nuclear power plant on a barge (floating power module – FPM) to supply power and heat to isolated coastal towns. See Floating Nuclear Power Plant subsection above.
Two OKBM Afrikantov KLT-40S or KLT-40C reactors derived from those in icebreakers, but with low-enriched fuel (less than 20% U-235), will supply 70 MWe of power plus 586 GJ/hr (5.1 PJ/yr) of heat. They will be mounted on a 21,500 tonne, 144 m long, 30 m wide barge. Refuelling interval is 3-4 years on site, and at the end of a 12-year operating cycle the whole plant is returned to a shipyard (Zvezdochka, near Sevmash has been mentioned) for a 2-year overhaul and storage of used fuel, before being returned to service. Each reactor is 140-150 MWt and can deliver 38.5 MWe if no cogeneration is required.
The smaller ABV reactor units are under development by OKBM Afrikantov, with a range of sizes from 38 MW thermal (ABV-6M ) down to 18 MWt (ABV-3), giving 4-18 MWe outputs. The PWR/VVER units are compact, with integral steam generator. The whole unit of some 200 tonnes (ABV-6) would be factory-produced for ground or barge mounting. A single ABV-6M would require a 3500 tonne barge, the ABV-3: 1600 tonne. The core is similar to that of the KLT-40 except that enrichment is 16.5% and average burnup 95 GWd/t. Refuelling interval is about 8-10 years, and service life about 50 years. In mainly desalination mode the ABV-6M is expected to produce 55,000 m3/day of potable water by reverse osmosis. The company said at the end of 2009 that an ABV-R7D would cost RUR 1.5 billion, but that Rosatom preferred the larger and proven KLT-40 design.
OKBM Afrikantov is developing a new compact icebreaker reactor – RITM-200 – to replace the current KLT 40 reactors. This is an integral 175 MWt, 55 MWe PWR with inherent safety features. (Some sources indicate only 40 MWe.) Two of these, as in the new LK-60 icebreakers, will give 60 MW shaft power via twin turbine generators and three motors. At 65% capacity factor fuel reloading is required after 7 years and major overhaul period is 20 years. Fuel enrichment is almost 20% and the service life 40 years.
For floating nuclear power plants a single RITM-200 could replace twin KLT-40S and require a barge one-third the displacement, though their use in pairs is envisaged*. The reactor mass of the RITM-200 is only 2200 tonnes, compared with 3740 t for the KLT-40C.
* Twin RITM-200 units would use a 17,500 tonne barge 135 m long and 30 m wide.
Exports of combined power and desalination units is planned, with China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria, Cape Verde and Argentina being mentioned as potential buyers, though Russia would probably retain ownership of the plant with operational responsibility, and simply sell the output. Rosatom has formed a group of expert desalination advisors as part of a strategy to sell its thermal desalination technologies. It is targeting world regions where clean water is scarce as part of its drive for leadership in in the global nuclear market.

VBER-300, VBER-200 to 600

OKBM Afrikantov's VBER-300 PWR is a 325 MWe gross, 295 MWe net, PWR unit developed from naval power plants and was originally envisaged in pairs as a floating nuclear power plant.* As a cogeneration plant it is rated at 200 MWe and 1900 GJ/hr for heat or desalination. The reactor is designed for 60-year life and 90% capacity factor. It was planned to develop it as a land-based unit with Kazatomprom, with a view to exports, and the first unit was to be built at Aktau in Kazakhstan. However, this agreement stalled, and OKBM has been looking for a new partner to develop it. Two demonstration units are proposed at Zheleznogorsk for the Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC), costing some $2 billion. MCC preferred the VBER design to the VK-300.
* Twin VBER-300 units would use a 49,000 tonne barge 170 m long and 62 m wide.
In October 2012 a VBER-500 design was announced by OKBM Afrikantov, with design to be completed in about 2015 in collaboration with NIAEP. In fact OKBM offers 200 to 600 MWe plants “based on the standard 100 MWe module”. They are based on over 6000 reactor-years of experience with naval reactors. The VBERs are not part of any federal program, but the VBER-500 has explicit support from Rosenergoatom, with Kola replacement in view, but the VBER-500 has explicit support from Rosenergoatom, with Kola replacement in view, and the VBER-600 also perhaps as alternative for Baltic plant’s 1200 MWe units.

VK-300 BWR

The VK-300 boiling water reactor is being developed by the Research & Development Institute of Power Engineering (NIKIET) for both power (250 MWe) and desalination (150 MWe plus 1675 GJ/hr). It has evolved from the Melekess VK-50 BWR at Dimitrovgrad, but uses standard components wherever possible, eg the reactor vessel of the VVER-1000. A feasibility study on building 4 cogeneration VK-300 units at Archangelsk was favourable, each delivering 250 MWe power and 31.5 TJ/yr heat, but this has not proceeded.


A development of the RBMK light water graphite reactor was the MKER-800, with much improved safety systems and containment, but this too has been shelved. Like the RBMK itself, it was designed by VNIPIET (All-Russia Science Research and Design Institute of Power Engineering Technology) at St Petersburg.


In the 1970-80s OKBM undertook substantial research on high temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTRs). In the 1990s it took a lead role in the international GT-MHR (Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor) project based on a General Atomics (US) design. Preliminary design was completed in 2001 and the prototype was to be constructed at Seversk (Tomsk-7, Siberian Chemical Combine) by 2010, with construction of the first four-module power plant (4x285 MWe) by 2015. Initially it was to be used to burn pure ex-weapons plutonium, and replace production reactors which supplied electricity there to 2010. 
In the longer-term perspective, HTRs were seen as important for burning actinides, and later for hydrogen production. The coordinating committee for this GT-MHR project continued meeting to at least 2010, when it discussed plans to 2014, but there has been no further news of this HTR project. OKBM is now in charge of Russian HTR collaboration with China.
In 2015 Rosatom agreed with Indonesia’s BATAN for the pre-project phase of construction of an experimental multi-functional HTR there. The architect general will be Atomproekt, and NUKEM Technologies GmbH would be implementing the project jointly with OKBM Afrikantov which is to develop the design. An EPC contract for the project is expected in 2016.


From 2001 Russia has been a lead country in the IAEA Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO). In 2006 Russia joined the Generation-IV International Forum, for which NEA provides the secretariat. Russia Russia is also a member of the NEA's Multinational Design Evaluation Program which is increasingly important in rationalising reactor design criteria.

Improving reactor performance through fuel development

A major recent emphasis has been the improvement in operation of present reactors with better fuels and greater efficiency in their use, closing much of the gap between Western and Russian performance. Fuel developments include the use of burnable poisons – gadolinium and erbium, as well as structural changes to the fuel assemblies.
With uranium-gadolinium fuel and structural changes, VVER-1000 fuel has been pushed out to four-year endurance, and VVER-440 fuel even longer. For VVER-1000, five years is envisaged from 2010, with enrichment levels increasing nearly by one-third (from 3.77% to 4.87%) in that time, average burn-up going up by 40% (to 57.7 GWd/t) and operating costs dropping by 5%. With a 3 x 18 month operating cycle, burn-up would be lower (51.3 GWd/t) but load factor could increase to 87%. Comparable improvements were envisaged for later-model VVER-440 units.
For RBMK reactors the most important development has been the introduction of uranium-erbium fuel at all units, though structural changes have helped. As enrichment and erbium content are increased (eg from 2.4 or 2.6% to 2.8% average enrichment and 0.6% erbium), increased burn-up is possible and the fuel can stay in the reactor six years. Also from 2009 the enrichment is profiled along the fuel elements, with 3.2% in the central section and 2.5% in the upper and lower parts. This better utilises uranium resources and further extends fuel life in the core.
For the BN-600 fast reactor, improved fuel means up to 560 days between refuelling.
Beyond these initiatives, the basic requirements for fuel have been set as: fuel operational lifetime extended to 6 years, improved burn-up of 70 GWd/tU, and improved fuel reliability. In addition, many nuclear plants will need to be used in load-following mode, and fuel which performs well under variable load conditions will be required.
All RBMK reactors now use recycled uranium from VVER-440 reactors and some has also been used experimentally at Kalinin-2 and Kola-2 VVERs. It is intended to extend this. A related project has been to utilise surplus weapons-grade plutonium in MOX fuel for up to seven VVER-1000 reactors from 2008, for one fast reactor (Beloyarsk-3) from 2007, and then Beloyarsk-4 from its start-up. In 2012 Rosenergoatom said it planned to use MOX in new-generation VVER-TOI reactors, subject to evaluation which should be complete in 2016.

Export of nuclear reactors

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for promoting Russian nuclear technologies abroad, including building up a system of Rosatom foreign representatives in Russian embassies. This is backed up by provision of substantial competitive finance for nuclear construction in client countries, as well as readiness to take equity or even build-own-operate (BOO) as in Turkey.
Atomstroyexport (ASE) has had three reactor construction projects abroad, all involving VVER-1000 units. First, it took over building a reactor for Iran at the Bushehr power plant, a project commenced by Siemens KWU but then aborted. That plant is now operating. Then it sold two large new AES-91 power plants to China for Jiangsu Tianwan at Lianyungang (both now operating) and two AES-92 units to India for Kudankulam (under construction, start-up of first one in July 2013). It is likely that ASE will build a second unit at Bushehr and agreements have been signed for two more at Tianwan in China. The first two of these are under construction. In 2007 a memorandum of understanding was signed to build four VVER units at Kudankulam (reaffirmed since).
In April 2015 Rosatom said that it had contracts for 19 nuclear plants in nine countries, including those under construction (5).

Export sales and prospects for Russian nuclear power plants (post-Soviet)

Country Plant Type Est. cost Status, financing
Ukraine Khmelnitski 2 & Rovno 4 2 x V-320 reactors, 1000 MWe operating
Iran Bushehr 1 V-446 reactor, 1000 MWe operating
China Tianwan 1&2 2 x AES-91 operating
India Kudankulam 1&2 2 x AES-92 $3 billion Built, unit 1 operation 2013, unit 2 pending
China Tianwan 3&4 2 x AES-91 $4 billion Under construction from Dec 2012
Belarus Ostrovets 1&2 2 x AES-2006 $10 billion Loan organised for 90%, construction start 2013
Construction: 5
India Kudankulam 3&4 2 x AES-92 $5.8 million Confirmed, loan organised for 85%, construction start 2014?
Bangladesh Rooppur 1&2 2 x AES-2006 $4 billion Confirmed, loan organised for 90%, construction start 2015
Turkey Akkuyu 1-4 4 x AES-2006 or VVER-TOI $25 billion Confirmed, BOO, construction start 2016
Vietnam Ninh Thuan 1, 1&2 2 x AES-2006 $9 billion Confirmed, loan organised for 85%, construction start 2017 or later
Finland Hanhikivi 1 1 x AES-2006 EUR 6 billion Contracted, Rosatom 34% equity, also arranging loan for 75% of capital cost, construction start 2018?
Iran Bushehr 2&3 2 x VVER Construction contract Nov 2014, NIAEP-ASE, barter for oil or pay cash
Armenia Metsamor 3 1 x AES-92 $5 billion Contracted, loan for 50%
Contracted: 14
China Tianwan 7&8 2 x AES-2006 Planned
Vietnam Ninh Thuan 1, 3&4 2 x AES-2006 Planned
Hungary Paks 5&6 2 x AES-2006 EUR 12.5 billion Planned, loan organised for 80%
Slovakia Bohunice V3 1 x AES-2006 Planned, possible 51% Rosatom equity
Jordan Al Amra 2 x AES-92 $10 billion Planned, BOO, finance organised for 49.9%
Egypt El Dabaa 2 x AES-2006 Planned, "credit financing by Russia"
India Kudankulam 5&6 2 x AES-92? Planned
Bulgaria Belene/Kozloduy 7 2 x AES-92 Cancelled, but may be revived
Ukraine Khmelnitski completion of 2 x V-392 reactors $4.9 million Due to commence construction 2015, 85% financed by loan
South Africa Thyspunt up to 8 x AES-2006 Broad agreement signed, no specifics, Russia offers finance, prefers BOO
Nigeria AES-2006? Broad agreement signed, no specifics, Russia offers finance, BOO
Argentina AES-2006 Broad agreement signed, no specifics, Russia offers finance
Algeria ? ? Agreement signed, no specifics
AES-91 & AES-92 have 1000 MWe class reactors, AES-2006 have 1200 MWe class reactors.

The above Table gives an overview of Rosatom’s export projects for nuclear power plants. It is focused on 1000 and 1200 MWe-class VVER reactors, the former being well-proven and the latter a very credible design soon to be operating in Russia. In virtually all cases, the technology is backed by very competitive finance. Rosatom expects its order book to reach $100 billion by the end of 2014, up 25% in 12 months.
Russia's policy for building nuclear power plants in non-nuclear weapons states is to deliver on a turnkey basis, including supply of all fuel and repatriation of used fuel for the life of the plant. The fuel is to be reprocessed in Russia and the separated wastes returned to the client country eventually. Evidently India is being treated as a weapons state, since Russia will supply all the enriched fuel for Kudankulam, but India will reprocess it and keep the plutonium.
Rusatom Overseas expects two export Russian reactors constructed on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis to be operating soon after 2020 and 24 by 2030. Only two of the projects listed below are BOO at this stage.
China: When China called for competitive bids for four large third-generation reactors to be built at Sanmen and Yangjiang, ASE unsuccessfully bid the AES-92 power plant for these. However Tianwan 3&4 are now under construction, with further units there planned.
India: Beyond Kudankulam 3&4, in 2009 plans to build four more VVER units (probably AES-2006) were confirmed for Haripur in West Bengal.
Belarus: Ostrovets NPP will be a 2400 MWe AES-2006 plant developed by SPb AEP (merged with VNIPIET to become Atomproekt) based on AES-91 design. Atomstroyexport, now NIAEP-ASE, will the principal construction contractor. Russia is lending up to $10 billion for 25 years to finance 90% of the contract.
Bangladesh: The Rooppur nuclear power plant originally to be two AES-92 reactors, but now evidently AES-2006 with two V-392M reactors, is to be built by Atomstroyexport (now NIAEP-ASE) for the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission. Russia is providing $500 million then $1.5 billion to cover 90% of the first unit’s construction.
Turkey: In 2010 Russian and Turkish heads of state signed and then ratified an intergovernmental agreement for Rosatom to build, own and operate the Akkuyu plant of four AES-2006 units as a US$ 20 billion project. This will be its first foreign plant on that BOO basis. Construction is due to start in 2016.
Vietnam: The Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant will have two VVER-1000 reactors in its first stage built by NN AEP-Atomstroyexport. Russia's Ministry of Finance will finance at least 85% of the $9 billion for this first plant. A second agreement for $500 million loan covers the establishment of a nuclear science and technology centre.
Finland: In mid-2013 Fennovoima signed a project development agreement for the Hanhikivi nuclear power plant with Rusatom Overseas, which will also take at least a 34% share of the project.
Hungary: In January 2014 an agreement was signed for two reactors, apparently AES-2006, with low-interest finance to cover 80% of the cost.
Jordan: In October 2013 ASE agreed to build two AES-92 nuclear units, while Rusatom Overseas would be strategic partner and operator of the plant, hence BOO basis. Russia will contribute at least 49% of the project's $10 billion cost.
Bulgaria accepted Rosatom’s bid for two AES-92 units for Belene in October 2006. ASE leads a consortium including Areva NP and Bulgarian enterprises in the EUR 4.0 billion project, which now is unlikely to proceed.
Ukraine: ASE is contracted to complete building Khmelnitsky 3&4, where construction started in the 1980s and ceased in 1990. A Russian loan will provide 85% of the finance.
Czech Republic: A Škoda JS/Atomstroyexport/OKB Gidropress consortium is proposing to build two AES-2006/MIR-1200 units, but a decision between this consortium and a Westinghouse-led one will not be made until about mid-2015. Financing will be a significant consideration.
Kazakhstan: Despite disagreements over 2009-10, ASE is likely to build the first of a series of small reactors (probably VBER-300) in Kazakhstan.
South Africa: A broad agreement with offer of finance has been signed, but the country is open to other offers as well, for 9600 MWe capacity required.
Considerable export potential for floating nuclear power plants (FNPP), on a fully-serviced basis, has been identified. Indonesia is one possible market.
Since 2006 Rosatom has actively pursued cooperation deals in South Africa, Namibia, Chile and Morocco as well as with Egypt, Algeria, and Kuwait.
In February 2008 ASE formed an alliance with TechnoPromExport (TPE), an exporter of all other large-scale power generation types. This will rationalize their international marketing. TPE boasts of having completed 400 power projects in 50 countries around the world totalling some 87 GWe.
For other fuel cycle exports see companion paper: Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle.

Prof V.Ivanov, WNA Symposium 2001, Prof A.Gagarinski and Mr A.Malyshev, WNA Symposium 2002.
Josephson, Paul R, 1999, Red Atom - Russia's nuclear power program from Stalin to today.
Minatom 2000, Strategy of Nuclear Power Development in Russia,
O. Saraev, paper at WNA mid-term meeting in Moscow, May 2003.
Rosenergoatom Bulletin 2002, esp. M.Rogov paper.
Perera, Judith 2003, Nuclear Power in the Former USSR, McCloskey, UK.
Kamenskikh, I, 2005, paper at WNA Symposium.
Kirienko, S. 2006, paper at World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference, April and WNA Symposium, Sept.
Shchedrovitsky, P. 2007, paper at WNA Symposium, Sept.
Panov et al 2006, Floating Power Sources Based on Nuclear reactor Plants
Rosenergoatom website
Rosatom website
Gagarisnkiy, A.Yu., April 2012, Post-Fukushima Trends in Russian Nuclear Energy
Rosenergoatom, 2012, Russian Nuclear Power Plants 2011.
Antysheva, Tatiana, 2011, SVBR-100: New generation power plants for small and medium-sized power applications.

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