Year in Review
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#260December 2022

Year in Review

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Rosatom partners with Latin American countries across a wide range of business areas. This article takes a look back at some of the partnerships made in 2022.

Rosatom has long been a supplier of natural uranium for the Brazilian nuclear power plants. In the departing year, TENEX (part of Rosatom) won an international contract with Industrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB) for the provision of uranium enrichment services in 2023–2027. The contract with the Brazilian party was signed in November 2022. On October 28, 2022, Internexco GmbH (part of Rosatom) was announced a winner of a contract for the supply of uranium hexafluoride for INB in 2023. These contracts open up attractive prospects for further cooperation, which will be translated into action in accordance with, among other documents, the Letter of Intent signed by TENEX and INB in 2019. By signing it, the parties expressed their readiness to collaborate in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Rosatom is also a major supplier of radioactive isotopes to Latin American countries. In particular, the Russian nuclear corporation meets around 50 % of Brazil’s demand for medical isotopes. Starting from 2022, Rosatom has been supplying Brazil with commercial isotopes, too. In July, Isotope (part of Rosatom) signed a contract with the Brazilian nuclear operator ELETRONUCLEAR S.A. to supply 45 kg of Zn‑64 depleted zinc in the form of acetate dihydrate. This product is used as an additive in the cooling systems of pressurized water reactors at nuclear power plants. Zn‑64 depleted zinc suppresses corrosion and slows down the accumulation of cobalt radionuclides. This material will be used at the Central Nuclear Almirante Álvaro Alberto complex (units 1 and 2). The first batch of zinc acetate dihydrate was shipped this November.

Besides, Rosatom held talks in 2021 with Brazil’s government-­owned Nuclear Technology Development Center (CDTN) on assistance in upgrading a neutron flux monitoring system NFMS‑01R for the Brazilian research reactor IPR-R1. This system processes signals from neutron flux detectors, and the data obtained is fed into the reactor control and protection system. NFMS‑01R was designed to use the existing neutron flux detectors installed in the reactor, so the upgrade kit will include only electronic signal converters, processors, displays and data loggers.

Technical documents and instruction manuals for the upgraded system were developed at Rosatom’s Research Institute for Instrumentation Engineering (SNIIP) in early 2022. In May, production of the new equipment was finished, the upgrade kit was delivered to CDTN in June 2022. SNIIP engineers are going to arrive in Brazil in the spring of 2023 to set up and commission the equipment. It will be put in operation and transferred to the customer for operation.

There are more Rosatom’s partners among other Latin American countries. This November, Rosatom and the Republic of Nicaragua signed a roadmap at the Atomexpo 2022 International Forum to establish a dialog in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The roadmap sets out certain steps the parties will take in the next two years to develop non-power applications of nuclear energy, and assess the prospects of geothermal, hydro and wind power projects in Nicaragua. The parties plan to organize technical tours, seminars, staff training workshops, and nuclear awareness events.

Also at Atomexpo 2022, Rosatom’s fuel division TVEL and the Mexican industrial group ABC Nuclear Products S. A. de C.V. signed a memorandum of understanding and potential cooperation in nuclear fuel back-end management. The parties plan to consider the possibility of collaboration in radioactive waste disposal and decommissioning of nuclear power plants and other radioactive and hazardous facilities to contribute to sustainable development of nuclear energy. Short-term plans are to participate in joint nuclear waste management projects in Mexico.

“With an extensive track record of the most complex nuclear back-end projects, we are ready to offer our Mexican colleagues the most advanced technology and solutions. Cooperation with ABC Nuclear Products is of great importance for Rosatom’s participation in Latin American projects,” says President of TVEL Natalia Nikipelova.