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  • Affiliation : Director, Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS)
  • Affiliation : Visiting Instructor, Dual Degree Master Program on WMD NonProliferation Studies, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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Seminar “Prospects for International Cooperation of the Russian Nuclear Industry in the Context of Nuclear Energy Renaissance” 13.12.2007

PIR Cernter, Department of External Affairs of JSC "Atomstroyexport"

December 13, 2007 the PIR Center Advisory Board meeting, devoted to “Prospects for International Cooperation of the Russian Nuclear Industry in the Context of Nuclear Energy Renaissance”, was held. PIR Center Executive Director Anton Khlopkov, the Deputy Head of the Department of External Affairs of JSC Atomstroyexport Alexei Ubeev and Nuclear Counsellor of the French Embassy in the Russian Federation Denis Flori presented key reports.

Anton Khlopkov proved that if we consider the rate of commissioning of new facilities, which even in 2014-2015 will be twice as low as in 1980s, we can hardly talk of any “renaissance”. However, if we see how the attitudes towards nuclear energy have changed, especially in Europe, indeed we witness a new recognition of this type of energy. At the same time, the expert noted that political motives have become weaker compared to economic and environmental considerations. This tendency opened new possibilities for the Russian nuclear industry to regain its positions in the world, and particularly in Eastern Europe.

Representative of Atomstroyexport Alexei Ubeev defined the main trends of the world nuclear power market, which are seen as guidelines for the company's development. The expert also noted the company's priority market areas. The first trend, according to the expert, is the change of the market's structure and character of interactions between its main participants: “Instead of two or three dozen actors, who used to participate in the market for construction of nuclear power plants early, today this sector is ruled by four major alliances: Toshiba-Westinghouse, Areva-Mitsubishi, General Electric-Hitachi and Rosatom. It is not a matter of competition, but rather that of a certain division of “spheres of influence” and cooperation. The tender in Belen (Bulgaria) went to Atomstroyexport, but in consortium with Areva and Siemens. A lone player no longer has any business on the global markets. In some ways, we join hands, in others case we grow apart, but we do have any direct clashes and can resolve common issues together.” The second requirement for market success is product diversification and offer of optimal solutions for consumers. One of competitive edges for the Russian supplier could be offshore, and therefore mobile, nuclear power plants. The third requirement for realization of nuclear projects is the development of the necessary infrastructure, starting with preparation of required legislation and staff training to construction of roads and other sites. So, it is necessary to start working with the potential customer long before the initial part of the negotiations on construction of specific facilities. Surely the importance of political, environmental and economic factors remains.

Nuclear Counsellor of the Embassy of France in Russia Denis Flori touched upon the perspectives of the Russian-French cooperation in the sector of world nuclear energy. According to the diplomat, Russian and French companies have a common interest to collaborate on certain facilities, in the field of uranium mining and conversion of Spent Nuclear Fuel. It was generally agreed by the participants of the meeting that the solution of the third problem requires the efforts of the entire international community. Denis Flori mentioned the importance of preparing and signing an agreement between Russia and Euroatom as one of the main conditions for the successful Russian-French cooperation, as France has commitments to the European Union and its structures.

The participants of the meeting also discussed other issues, including possibilities and challenges of operating in China and India, restructuring the Russian nuclear complex due to establishment of the State Corporation Rosatom, interrelation between the development of peaceful nuclear market and nonproliferation, as well as the issues of guaranteed supplies of nuclear fuel for power plants.