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Russia ready to share nuke technologies with Eastern Europe

October 07, 2012, 12:45 UTC+3
On October 4 a brick-laying ceremony of a nuclear fuel plant took place in the village Smolino, Ukraine’s Kirovograd region
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MOSCOW, October 7 (Itar-Tass) — The construction of a nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine demonstrates Russia’s readiness to share nuclear technologies and profits with partners in Eastern Europe and to create additional jobs there, Sergei Kondratyev, an analyst at the Institute of Energy and Finances, told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

On October 4 a brick-laying ceremony of a nuclear fuel plant took place in the village Smolino, Ukraine’s Kirovograd region. This is a Russian-Ukrainian joint venture, where Ukraine’s state-run nuclear energy firm Yadernoye Toplivo owns a 50 percent plus one share and Russia’s fuel company TVEL – a 50 percent stake minus one share.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov described the plant’s construction as “the largest high-tech project in the years of Ukraine’s independence, which is targeted at ensuring the country’s energy independence.”

“It is very important that this is one of the first large-scale and significant cooperation projects on the post-Soviet space not only in the nuclear industry, but in the manufacturing industry in general,” Kondratyev said adding that this project can be compared only with the Russian-Kazakh cooperation in uranium development.

The expert called the Russian-Ukrainian project as an important precedent.

“On the one hand Russia demonstrates that it is ready to share its modern technologies with partners. On the other hand the Ukrainian side in a greater degree than before will be interested in fuel supplies from that plant and in the use of production capacities respectively,” Kondratyev said.

The expert refrained from making forecasts on how strong the influence on the prices for European consumers will be.

“Of course, the plant is designed to meet not only Ukraine’s demands,” he said. “This means that favourable conditions for Eastern European countries that are traditional markets of Rosatom (Russia’s nuclear power corporation) can be expected,” he said.

Kondratyev recalled that most countries had not very successful experience of using other producers’ fuel. “Experience of cooperation with Westinghouse demonstrated that they had to return to Russia’s technologies,” he said.

“The construction of such plant confirms that not everything is concentrated on the territory of Russia within the framework of one super corporation. This dispels Eastern Europe’s fear of such production’s concentration in Russia, which some consider another energy weapon of ours,” he said.

Rosatom “demonstrates its ability to share such technologies not only with Ukraine, but also with the Czech Republic and some Baltic states, and does not lock all production networks inside itself, but can share technologies, a part of profits with other countries and employ their people,” Kondratyev said.

The expert believes that such cooperation is also advantageous for Rosatom that in exchange gets stronger positions and increases confidence in its activities at the global market.

“To fulfill its rather ambitious innovative development plans, Rosatom has to enhance its presence at the global market very seriously. And this project is a right step in this direction,” he said.

Kondratyev highlighted that “Rosatom’s quality and security standards will encompass the production of fuel irrespective of who owns the plant.”

This will make possible to reduce risks that emerged when Ukraine’s nuclear power plants cooperated with the U.S. “Westinghouse is not ready and in fact, cannot share its technologies with Ukraine’s companies. There is also no talk about creating a joint venture,” he said.

Moreover, Eastern Europe admitted that the projects with fuel assemblies from the U.S. were less successful and less advantageous than those of Rosatom.

Kondratyev forecasts that Ukraine’s new plant “will be economically beneficial as these are competitive technologies in security and in price.”

“All the more so it is important today, as the nuclear industry tries to be not only safe, but also as efficient as possible, because unlike the renewable sources of power the nuclear industry gets no such subsidies,” he said.

 

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