The New Year’s Eve is the best time to take a look back and review the last 12 months. All of Rosatom’s divisions performed well: some of the projects were completed, progress was made in delivering others, and new contracts were signed with business partners.
Akademik Lomonosov FNPP
The Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) was transported to Russia’s northernmost city of Pevek. It is, perhaps, the most important international nuclear event of 2019.
In September, the FNPP made a record short 18-day journey from Murmansk to Pevek and was moored to a specially designed pier protecting Akademik Lomonosov from storms and other natural hazards.
The pier is also used to carry power cables and flexible pipes supplying electricity and heat to consumers. Having a capacity of 70 MWe and 146 Gcal/h, Akademik Lomonosov will replace the retiring coal-fired Chaun thermal power plant and later the Bilibino NPP. Replacing coal generation with nuclear will improve environmental conditions in Pevek and decrease energy tariffs 2.5-fold, from RUB 16 to RUB 6 per kilowatt-hour.
As the world’s first floating power plant, Akademik Lomonosov will serve as a reference model for other similar facilities. While supplying electric power and heat to large local mining sites and utilities in Pevek and nearby and later in Bilibino, it will demonstrate capabilities, advantages and reliability of floating nuclear power plants. On December 19, it began delivering first power to the port of Pevek.
Another important event for the nuclear industry was the start of construction at Unit 2 of Kursk II. In April, the first concrete was poured for the foundation slab of the unit. Unit 1 and Unit 2 at Kursk II are pilot units of the VVER-TOI design (VVER-TOI stands for Water-Water Energy Reactor Universal Optimized Digital), which is based on the technology used in Generation III+ VVER-1200 reactors and upgraded to include a digital cost and construction management system. This system is designed to enable effective strategic and day-to-day budgeting and monitor construction progress in real time. Kursk II units feature better maneuverability and boast more efficient capacity utilization. Materials and systems intended for the VVER-TOI design enable safe operation of the nuclear power plant anywhere, from the tropics to the Arctic.
Novovoronezh NPP Unit 7 is another story of Rosatom’s success in the construction and operation of nuclear power plants. The new reactor unit was commissioned on October 31, a month ahead of schedule. Its compliance with the project design, technical standards and statutory regulations, including power efficiency requirements, was certified by Russia’s Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostechnadzor). Since the unit was connected to the grid on May 1, it had generated 2.5 billion kWh.
The new unit is the third one featuring a Generation III+ VVER-1200 reactor. What makes them different from the previous generation of reactors is a one-of-a-kind combination of active and passive safety systems making the nuclear power plant resistant to internal and external shocks. These systems include, among other things, a core catcher intended to catch the molten core material of a nuclear reactor and a passive heat removal system that releases excessive heat from the reactor core into the atmosphere even if the plant is cut off from power supply.
Generation III+ units are also more cost efficient: they generate 20% more power than Generation III VVER-1000 reactors but need 30% to 40% less staff. Core components of the machinery and equipment have two times’ longer design life, reaching 60 years and could be extended by 20 more years. “Now we have a two-unit nuclear power plant that can serve as a reference model for the nuclear facilities to be built abroad. We have accumulated extensive knowledge and experience in the construction, production, procurement, logistics, cost management and continuous performance improvement – everything we need to meet market challenges of today and solve ambitious tasks in nuclear construction,” said Alexander Lokshin, First Deputy Director General for Operations Management at Rosatom.
Another milestone reached in 2019 was the connection of a new VVER-1200 reactor unit of the Leningrad NPP to the heating network of the neighboring town of Sosnovy Bor. The new unit replaced the capacity of a shutdown RBMK reactor.
Northern Sea Route
Atomflot, Rosatom’s subsidiary in charge of the Russian nuclear fleet, celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2019. It was no ordinary celebration, though. In December 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law appointing Rosatom as infrastructure operator of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). Russian nuclear corporation key tasks here are to maintain the year-round navigation and increase freight traffic to 80 million tons per year by 2024.
The first task could only be solved using icebreakers of different types and functions. In November, Atomflot acquired Ob, a diesel-electric powered icebreaker and the first non-nuclear vessel in Rosatom’s fleet. Its function is to escort ships in the port of Sabetta.
Three Project 22220 series nuclear icebreakers are currently under construction. Two icebreakers of the same series – Ural and Sibir – are already afloat and expected to be commissioned in 2022. Arktika, the flagship Project 22220 icebreaker, is going through the first phase of sea trials that started on December 12. As of early December, Arktika was 93% ready and expected to be commissioned in May 2020. Negotiations are underway to obtain funding for two more nuclear-powered icebreakers. Construction costs are planned to reach RUB 100 million. The Government will provide RUB 45 million, with the remaining portion provided by Rosatom. One of the possible sources of finance is long-term (10-year rather than usual 5-year) contracts with mining companies for icebreaking services. Taymyr and Vaygach, two nuclear-powered icebreakers currently in operation, are expected to be decommissioned by 2030.
In February, Rosatom acquired a valuable asset from the Russian Transport Ministry – Hydrographic Survey Company. It provides recommendations on navigation routes and ship positioning systems and manages infrastructure construction projects along the NSR.
As the NSR operator, Rosatom is already ahead of schedule in increasing the freight traffic. As Rosatom’s Director General Alexey Likhachev said at Atomflot’s anniversary celebration in Murmansk, the target set for 2019 (26 million tons) had been achieved already by 15 November 2019. It is expected that the total freight transported on the NSR in 2019 will reach 30 million tons.
Rosatom established a special company, Rusatom Cargo, to increase traffic and get profit. Its primary function is to transport cargo for nuclear power plants constructed abroad and, what’s more important, make money off providing cargo transportation services to third parties. The main advantage of the new route is a shorter traveling time and, consequently, lower costs of cargo transportation between the ports of Northern Europe and Asia. To fulfill this task, Rosatom made a deal to buy a share in Delo Group that had won the right to acquire a controlling stake in Russia’s largest rail freight operator TransContainer.
In 2019, Rosatom started building a 210 MW wind farm in the Stavropol Krai (Russia). With 84 turbines with a capacity of 2.5 MW each, the farm is planned to generate 496.7 million kWh on the annual average. The estimated project costs exceed USD 350 million. Construction of the find farm is part of Rosatom’s strategy to develop wind energy projects in the country.
Agreements and arrangements
Most of Rosatom’s key agreements were made at large nuclear industry events and energy conferences. For instance, more than 40 agreements were signed at AtomExpo held in April 2019. More agreements were signed on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in September and at the Russian Energy Week. Some contracts, though, were signed at bilateral meetings, such as a contract for the supply of nuclear fuel to Chinese nuclear power plants.
Construction of power plants and NSTCs
Rosatom’s engineering division ASE and subsidiaries of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed a construction contract for Units 7 and 8 of the Tianwan nuclear power plant and an engineering design contract for Xudabao Units 3 and 4.
Russia and Ethiopia signed a three-year roadmap that provides for developing designs of a nuclear power plant and a nuclear science and technology center (NSTC), training staff for the nuclear industry and raising public awareness of nuclear energy in the country.
Rosatom and the Republic of the Congo signed a two-year roadmap to look into the possibility of building an NSTC and staff training.
Rusatom Overseas and Russia’s GHP Group signed a memorandum of understanding. The companies will team up to develop power supply solutions for the Suroyam iron ore deposit in the Chelyabinsk region (Russia) and explore the possibility of building a small-scale nuclear power plant based on a RITM-200 reactor.
Rosatom and the Government of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) signed an agreement of cooperation in the construction of small-scale nuclear power plants with RITM-200 reactors. The parties will jointly work on a feasibility study, conduct engineering surveys, develop a financial model and select a site for the power plant.
In July, Rosatom’s TVEL Fuel Company signed a contract with CNSP and CNEIC (both are CNNC subsidiaries) to supply nuclear fuel for Tianwan Units 7 and 8.
In November, TVEL signed a similar contract with CNEIC, CNSP and CNLNPC (also a subsidiary of CNNC) to supply nuclear fuel for yet-to-be-constructed Xudabo Units 3 and 4.
TVEL and the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority signed a contract for the supply of uranium components to be used in low-enriched nuclear fuel for ETTR 2 research reactor.
TVEL made an agreement with Germany-based Hermith on the joint production and sales of titanium products. The parties plan to establish a joint venture to manufacture aircraft titanium tubing, special wire for additive manufacturing, sonotrodes, car suspension parts, medical implants and prosthetic devices.
Rusatom Additive Technologies (a Rosatom Group company) and Ural Works of Civil Aviation signed a strategic cooperation agreement to develop the EM 401 engine family, create a competency center for gas turbine manufacturing, and promote a broader industrial collaboration.
Rosatom and RusHydro signed an agreement to collaborate in the development of composite materials for core machinery, auxiliary equipment and structural elements of small hydro power plants, wind turbines and external reinforcement solutions.
Machinery and equipment
Rosatom’s subsidiary AtomEnergoMash signed a memorandum of understanding with Egyptian Petrojet, a leading EPC company in the Middle East and Africa. The parties agreed to join their efforts in the production and supply of equipment for nuclear power plants, oil refining and petrochemical facilities.
Another subsidiary of Rosatom, Central Research Institute for Machine Building Technology, also made an agreement with Petrojet to certify materials, processes, equipment and laboratories, train staff and assess their performance in compliance with Russian national standards.
ZiO-Podolsk and Swiss-based Hitachi Zosen INOVA (a subsidiary of Japanese Hitachi Zosen Corp.) signed an agreement to set up a consortium that will develop design solutions and supply equipment for waste recycling plants in the Moscow Region.
Rusatom Healthcare (a Rosatom Group company), Research Institute of Technical Physics and Automation (NIITFA) and Slovenia’s Cosylab signed a memorandum of cooperation in the development of integrated software for NIITFA’s radiation therapy and diagnostics systems. Cosylab will be involved in the implementation of a quality management system and international certification of the software.
Titan-2 (a group of companies providing construction services and supplying equipment for Hanhikivi 1) and a consortium of French Framatome SAS and German Siemens AG signed a contract for the supply of main I&C systems.
Rosatom and Rosseti (a Russian power grid company) agreed to cooperate in the construction of grid facilities abroad and use Rosatom’s expertise in predictive analytics and digital twin technology.
Education and public awareness
Rosatom and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba signed a memorandum of cooperation on training staff for the nuclear industry.
Rusatom International Network (RIN) and Hungary’s University of Dunaújváros made an agreement to hold joint lectures and seminars, publish learning materials, set up a student exchange program, and cooperate in other areas.
Rosatom’s Technical Academy signed a nuclear workforce training agreement with Uzbekistan’s Nuclear Energy Development Agency (Uzatom) and a memorandum of cooperation with the European Nuclear Education Network (ENEN).
Rosatom, the Ministry for Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, and the Far Eastern Federal University signed an agreement to establish an international research and development center for nuclear technology on Russky Island in Vladivostok and jointly deliver digital projects.
Rosatom, Russia’s largest bank Sberbank and the Federal Biomedical Agency signed a memorandum of cooperation in the development of best practices for affordable and user-friendly healthcare services. The parties will join their efforts in creating a dedicated digital ecosystem.
Rosatom and the Foundation for Reforms in the Utilities Sector made a cooperation agreement to upgrade the utilities infrastructure in cities and towns with the population of less than 500,000 people. Finance to be provided by the Foundation will be used by Rosatom to introduce advanced and innovative cost-efficient digital solutions.
Rosatom and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment signed a cooperation agreement providing for joint delivery of federal programs and the Environment national project and developing proposals for implementation of the national policy in the Arctic region.