MOSCOW, June 6 (Itar-Tass) — The first shipment of Australian natural uranium will be delivered to Russia for enrichment this year. It was announced after Technosnabexport belonging to the ROSATOM State Nuclear Energy Corporation and Australia’s Rio Tinto Company signed an agreement within the framework of the ATOMEXPO-2012 forum.
Australia’s ERA Company, incorporated in the Ria Tinto Group, will be the contractor from the Australian side.
According to Rosatom, the first delivery is scheduled for the third quarter of 2012 via the maritime sea port of St. Petersburg.
Australian natural uranium will be processed at the Siberian Chemical Works owned by the TVEL fuel company in Seversk. After that, Technosnabexport will supply the low-enriched uranium to one of the foreign companies.
The ATOMEXPORT 2012 international forum opened in Moscow last Monday. It drew together over 1,300 experts from 53 countries. In recent years, the forum has turned into a world’s leading platform for discussion of nuclear energy themes. The state of atomic industry two years after the Fukushima accident was the key topic this year.
Leading international organizations and companies operating in the atomic industry are permanent participants in the annual ATOMEXPO forum organized by the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation. This is the only event of this scale in Russia and the near abroad devoted exclusively to atomic energy. Representatives of 175 companies from 51 countries took part in the forum last year.
The Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation didn’t lose orders for the construction of units for nuclear power stations after the Fukushima accident. Their number has even doubled this year. Rosatom’s general director Sergei Kiriyenko considers it to be a sign of growing trust in reliable equipment and promptitude in doing the job.
“The Fukushima events forced a whole number of countries to weigh all the circumstances linked to construction and operation of new nuclear power stations. As a result, they are choosing in favor of Russian technologies,” Kiriyenko told journalists at a news conference devoted to the opening of the ATOMEXPO 2012 international forum.
Kiriyenko clarified that Rosatom had orders for 12 nuclear power units on January 1, 2011 compared to 21 on January 1 this year.
He believes it to be a sign of great trust in Russian technologies, especially on the part of countries that are only starting to build nuclear power stations for the first time in their history.
The Rosatom chief said that documents for the construction of the second stage of the Tianwan nuclear power station in China were expected to be signed on Tuesday. The station is successfully operating four nuclear power units and is planning to launch another four.
“This year, we are launching the construction of nuclear power stations in Turkey, Vietnam and Belarus,” Kiriyenko said.
Kiriyenko also mentioned cooperation between Russian and Belarusian experts. Russia and Belarus have recently signed a series of contracts for the construction of a nuclear power station in Belarus.
“All the works are going according to schedule,” Kiriyenko said, adding that the station’s construction would load the Belarusian industry with huge orders.
“Belarusian plants will fulfill most of the orders,” the Rosatom chief emphasized.
The participants in the ATOMEXPO 2012 forum are countries which are determined to develop their own atomic industry despite the Fukushima accident.
“Today, it can be said that the world is returning to planned development of nuclear energy. Ten new nuclear power stations, including three designed by Russia, were launched last year. The construction of five new nuclear power stations got under way after the Fukushima events,” Kiriyenko said.
He said that Russia would do everything to save the Belene project. He expressed the hope that the Bulgarian government would change its mind and resume the construction of the Belene nuclear power station.
“We were ready to meet all our commitments. We were ready to invest as much as it was needed in this project. However, the Bulgarian government is thinking of building one nuclear power unit at the Kozlodui nuclear power station instead of two units in Belene. The customer’s wish is a rule for us. If they want one unit instead of two, we are ready to do this work. We are waiting for a decision and response from the Bulgarian side,” Kiriyenko emphasized.