Nuclear Power in Russia

(Updated 6 September 2016)

  • Russia is moving steadily forward with plans for an expanded role of nuclear energy, including development of new reactor technology.
  • An average of one large reactor per year is due to come on line to 2028, balancing retired capacity.
  • Efficiency of nuclear generation in Russia has increased dramatically since the mid-1990s. Over 20 nuclear power reactors are confirmed or planned for export construction.
  • Exports of nuclear goods and services are a major Russian policy and economic objective.
  • Russia is a world leader in fast neutron reactor technology.

Russia's first nuclear power plant, and the first in the world to produce electricity, was the 5 MWe Obninsk reactor, in 1954. Russia's first two commercial-scale nuclear power plants started up in 1963-64, then in 1971-73 the first of today's production models were commissioned. By the mid-1980s Russia had 25 power reactors in operation, but the nuclear industry was beset by problems. The Chernobyl accident led to a resolution of these, as outlined in the Appendix.

Rosenergoatom is the only Russian utility operating nuclear power plants. Its ten nuclear plants have the status of branches. It was established in 1992 and was reconstituted as a utility in 2001, as a division of SC Rosatom.

Between the 1986 Chernobyl accident and mid-1990s, only one nuclear power station was commissioned in Russia, the four-unit Balakovo, with unit 3 being added to Smolensk. Economic reforms following the collapse of the Soviet Union meant an acute shortage of funds for nuclear developments, and a number of projects were stalled. But by the late 1990s exports of reactors to Iran, China and India were negotiated and Russia's stalled domestic construction program was revived as far as funds allowed.

Around 2000, nuclear construction revived and Rostov 1 (also known as Volgodonsk 1), the first of the delayed units, started up in 2001, joining 21 GWe already on the grid. This greatly boosted morale in the Russian nuclear industry. It was followed by Kalinin 3 in 2004, Rostov 2 in 2010 and Kalinin 4 in 2011.

By 2006 the government's resolve to develop nuclear power had firmed and there were projections of adding 2-3 GWe per year to 2030 in Russia as well as exporting plants to meet world demand for some 300 GWe of new nuclear capacity in that timeframe. Early in 2016 Rosatom said that Russia’s GDP gained three roubles for every one rouble invested in building nuclear power plants domestically, as well as enhanced “socio-economic development of the country as a whole.”

In February 2010 the government approved the federal target program designed to bring a new technology platform for the nuclear power industry based on fast reactors. Rosatom's long-term strategy up to 2050 involves moving to inherently safe nuclear plants using fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle – the Proryv (Breakthrough) Project. It envisages nuclear providing 45-50% of electricity at that time, with the share rising to 70-80% by the end of the century. In June 2010 the government approved plans for 173 GWe of new generating capacity by 2030, 43.4 GWe of this being nuclear. However, by January 2015 this domestic 2030 nuclear target had halved.

Apart from adding capacity, utilisation of existing plants has improved markedly. In the 1990s capacity factors averaged around 60%, but they have steadily improved since and in 2010, 2011 and 2014 were above 81%. Balakovo was the best plant in 2011 with 92.5%, and again in 2014 with 85.1%.

Electricity supply in Russia

Russia's electricity supply, formerly centrally controlled by RAO Unified Energy System (UES)*, faces a number of acute constraints. First, demand rose strongly to 2010 after more than a decade of stagnation; secondly some 50 GWe of generating plant (more than a quarter of it) in the European part of Russia is approcahing the end of its design life; and thirdly Gazprom has cut back on the very high level of natural gas supplies for electricity generation because it can make about five times as much money by exporting the gas to the west (27% of EU gas comes from Russia). In 2012 Gazprom exports were expected to reach $84.5 billion, $61 billion of this to Europe for 150 billion m3. Russia is one of the few countries without a populist energy policy favouring wind and solar generation; the priority is unashamedly nuclear.

UES' gas-fired plants burn about 60% of the gas marketed in Russia by Gazprom, and it is aimed to halve this by 2020. (Also, by 2020, the Western Siberian gas fields will be so depleted that they supply only a tenth of current Russian output, compared with nearly three quarters now.) Also there are major regional grid constraints so that a significant proportion of the capacity of some plants cannot be used. Some non-nuclear generators have been privatised, eg OGK-4 (E.ON Russia) is 76% owned by E.ON, and OGK-5 (Enel Russia) is 56% owned by Enel. Other OGKs are owned by Inter RAO or Gazprom. Some TGK companies (also supplying heat) are private, others such as TGK-3 or Mosenergo are owned by Gazprom.

* In Russia, 'energy' mostly implies electricity.

Electricity production was 1064 TWh in 2014, with 181 TWh coming from nuclear power, 533 TWh from gas, 157 TWh from coal and 177 TWh from hydro.  Net export was 8 TWh and final consumption was 738 TWh (after transmission losses of 107 and own use/ energy sector use of 210 TWh). In 2015 nuclear production was 195 TWh according to Rosenergoatom, 18.6% of total.

In November 2009, the government's Energy Strategy 2030 was published, projecting investments for the next two decades. It envisaged a possible doubling of generation capacity from 225 GWe in 2008 to 355-445 GWe in 2030. A revised scheme in mid 2010 projected 1288 billion kWh demand in 2020 and 1553 billion kWh in 2030, requiring 78 GWe of new plant by 2020 and total 178 GWe new build by 2030, including 43.4 GWe nuclear. The scheme envisaged decommissioning 67.7 GWe of capacity by 2030, including 16.5 GWe of nuclear plant (about 70% of present capacity). New investment by 2030 of RUR 9800 billion in power plants and RUR 10,200 billion in transmission would be required. In mid 2010 the projected annual electricity demand growth to 2020 was put at 2.2%. In mid 2013, UES projected 1.9%pa. Retail electricity prices are relatively low – for households in 2010, about 9c/kWh compared with EU median of 18.5 cents.

Rosenergoatom is the sole nuclear utility, following consolidation in 2001. In 2009 nuclear production was 163.3 billion kWh (83.7 TWh from VVER, 79.6 TWh from RBMK and other). Over 2010-12 it was 170-178 TWh, but dropped to 162 TWh in 2013. Before this, nuclear electricity output had risen strongly due simply to better performance of the nuclear plants, with capacity factors leaping from 56% to 76% 1998-2003 and then on to 80.2% in 2009. Rosenergoatom aims for 90% capacity factor by 2015. In 2006 Rosatom announced a target of nuclear providing 23% of electricity by 2020 and 25% by 2030, but 2007 and 2009 plans approved by the government scaled this back significantly. (see: Extending Nuclear Capacity below) In mid-2013 UES projected a decrease from 17.2% to 15.9% for nuclear output by 2020, with a substantial increase in fossil fuel power.

In July 2012 the Energy Ministry (Minenergo) published draft plans to commission 83 GWe of new capacity by 2020, including 10 GWe nuclear to total 30.5 GWe producing 238 TWh/yr. A year later Minenergo reduced the projection to 28.26 GWe in 2019. Total investment envisaged was RUR 8230 billion, including RUR 4950 billion on upgrading power plants, RUR 3280 billion on new grid capacity and RUR 1320 billion on nuclear.

In May 2015 the Ministry of Economic Development announced a “very significant" delay in commissioning new nuclear power plants due to “a current energy surplus”. Commissioning of two new Leningrad units and two new Novovoronezh units was delayed by one year, and construction of Smolensk II was postponed for six years. In September 2015 Rosatom said it expected to commission 15 further reactors of 18.6 GWe by 2030, reaching 44 GWe then (so presumably no retirements).

In parallel with this Russia is greatly increasing its hydro-electric capacity, aiming to increase by 60% to 2020 and double it by 2030. Hydro OGK is planning to commission 5 GWe by 2011. The 3 GWe Boguchanskaya plant in Siberia is being developed in collaboration with Rusal, for aluminium smelting. The aim is to have almost half of Russia's electricity from nuclear and hydro by 2030.

UES wholesale electricity tariffs were planned to increase from (US$) 1.1 c/kWh in 2001 to 1.9 c/kWh in 2005 and 2.4 c/kWh in 2015. However, only much smaller increases have so far been approved by the government, and even these have attracted wide opposition. However, electricity supplied is now being fully paid for, in contrast to the situation in the mid 1990s.

In February 2007 RAO UES said that it was aiming to raise up to US$ 15 billion by selling shares in as many as 15 power generation companies, having increased its investment target by 2010 from $79 to $118 billion. Late in 2006 UES raised $459 million by selling 14.4% of one of its generators, OGK-5, and since then the UES sell-off continued with investors committing to continued expansion. In mid-2008 RAO UES was wound up, having sold off all its assets. Some of these were bought by EU utilities, for instance Finland's Fortum bought at auction 76.5% of the small utility TGC-10, which operates in well-developed industrial regions of the Urals and Western Siberia. From July 2008, 25% of all Russia's power is sold on the competitive market. The wholesale power market was to be fully liberalised by 2011.

InterRAO UES was initially a subsidiary of RAO UES, involved with international trade and investment in electricity, particularly with Finland, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It acquired some of RAO UES assets when that company was broken up in 2008 and it now controls about 18 GWe in Russia and Armenia. It was responsible for finding a foreign investor and structuring electricity marketing for the proposed Baltic nuclear power plant. It aims to increase its generation capacity to 30 GWe by 2015. In November 2008 Rosatom's share in InterRAO was increased to 57.28%.

The Federal Grid Company (RAO FGC) owns Russia's 118,000-km high-voltage transmission grid and plans to invest €12 billion ($14.5 billion) over 2010-13 to modernize it. It has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Siemens to progress this, using the company's low-loss high-voltage DC transmission technology. The system operator is the Centralized Dispatching Administration (OAO SO-CDA).

Present nuclear capacity

Russia's nuclear plants, with 36 operating reactors totalling 27,167 MWe, comprise:

  • 4 early VVER-440/230 or similar pressurised water reactors, due to be decommissioned by 2020.
  • 2 later VVER-440/213 pressurised water reactors.
  • 12 current-generation VVER-1000 pressurised water reactors with a full containment structure, mostly V-320 types.
  • One new-generation VVER-1200 reactor.
  • 13 RBMK light water graphite reactors (LWGR) now unique to Russia. The four oldest of these were commissioned in the 1970s at Kursk and Leningrad and are of some concern to the Western world.
  • 4 small graphite-moderated BWR reactors in eastern Siberia, constructed in the 1970s for cogeneration (EGP-6 models on linked map) and due to be decommissioned by 2022.
  • One BN-600 fast neutron reactor and one BN-800. 

Apart from Bilibino, several reactors supply district heating – a total of over 11 PJ/yr.

Power reactors in operation

Reactor Type
V=PWR
MWe net,
each
Commercial
operation
Scheduled
close
Balakovo 1 V-320 988 5/86 2045
Balakovo 2 V-320 1028 1/88 2033
Balakovo 3 V-320 988 4/89 2034
Balakovo 4 V-320 988 12/93 2023?
Beloyarsk 3 BN-600 FBR 560 11/81 2025
Beloyarsk 4 BN-800 FBR 789 (2016) 2056
Bilibino 1-4 LWGR EGP-6 11 4/74-1/77 Dec 2018, Dec 2021
Kalinin 1 V-338 950 6/85 2025?
Kalinin 2 V-338 950 3/87 2032
Kalinin 3 V-320 988 11/2005 2034
Kalinin 4 V-320 950 9/2012 2042
Kola 1 V-230 432 12/73 2018 or 2033
Kola 2 V-320 411 2/75 2019 or 2034
Kola 3 V-213 411 12/82 2026
Kola 4 V-213 411 12/84 2039
Kursk 1 RBMK 1020 10/77 2022
Kursk 2 RBMK 971 8/79 2024
Kursk 3 RBMK 971 3/84 2029
Kursk 4 RBMK 925 2/86 2030
Leningrad 1 RBMK 925 11/74 2019
Leningrad 2 RBMK 971 2/76 2021
Leningrad 3 RBMK 971 6/80 2025
Leningrad 4 RBMK 925 8/81 2026
Novovoronezh 3 V-179 385 6/72 2016?
Novovoronezh 4 V-179 385 3/73 2032
Novovoronezh 5 V-187 950 2/81 2035 potential
Novovoronezh 6 V-392M 1114 (Jan 2017)  
Smolensk 1 RBMK 925 9/83 2028
Smolensk 2 RBMK 925 7/85 2030
Smolensk 3 RBMK 925 1/90 2034
Rostov 1 V-320 990 3/2001 2030?
Rostov 2 V-320 990 10/2010 2040
Rostov 3 V-320 1011 9/2015 2045
Total: 36   27,167 MWe

V-320 is the base model of what is generically VVER-1000; V-230 and V-213 are generically VVER-440; V-179 & V-187 are prototypes. Rostov was formerly sometimes known as Volgodonsk. Most closure dates are from January 2015 'roadmap'.

Life extension, uprates and completing construction

Most reactors are being licensed for life extension. Generally, Russian reactors were originally licensed for 30 years from first power. Late in 2000, plans were announced for lifetime extensions of 12 first-generation reactors* totalling 5.7 GWe, and the extension period envisaged is now 15 to 30 years, necessitating major investment in refurbishing them. However, the cost of this is generally only one fifth that of building replacement capacity.  In 2014 a new state program on licence extension was approved, bringing standards into line with international ones.

To the end of 2011, 15-year extensions had been achieved for 17 units totalling 9.8 GWe. To mid 2016, operational life extensions had been implemented for 24 units totalling 16,242 MWe: Beloyarsk 3, Novovoronezh 3-4-5, Kola-1-4, Kalinin 1, Balakovo 1, Kursk 1-4, Leningrad-1-4, Smolensk 1-2, Bilibino 1-4.  Projects for Balakovo 2-4, Kalinin 2 and Smolensk 3 will be carried out by 2023.

* Leningrad 1&2, Kursk 1&2, Kola 1&2, Bilibino 1-4, Novovoronezh 3&4.

Generally the VVER-440 units have got 15-year life extensions. (Kola 1&2 VVER-440 units are models which the EU has paid to shut down early in countries outside Russia.) Kola 2 is undergoing safety analysis with a view to licence extension to 60 years. The Kola 3 licence extension to 2026 ws confirmed in February 2016 after upgrading work.

Most VVER-1000 units are expected to have 25 to 30-year licence extensions, and in 2015 Balakovo 1 was licensed to 60 years.

In 2006 Rosatom said it was considering 15-year lifetime extensions and uprating of all its 11 operating RBMK reactors, and ten had licence extensions by mid 2016. Following significant design modifications made after the Chernobyl accident, as well as extensive refurbishment including replacement of fuel channels, a 45-year lifetime is seen as realistic for most of the 1000 MWe units. In 2011 they provided 47.5% of Russia's nuclear-generated electricity.

For older RBMK units, service lifetime performance recovery (LPR) operations involve correcting deformation of the graphite stack. After dismantling the pressure tubes, longitudinal cutting of a limited number of graphite columns returns the graphite stack geometry to a condition that meets the initial design requirements. The procedure will give each of these older reactors at least three years' extra operation, and may then be repeated. Leningrad 1 was the first reactor to undergo this over 2012-13.

Most reactors are being uprated. The July 2012 Energy Ministry draft plan envisaged increasing the power of VVER-440 units to 107%, that of RBMKs to 105% and VVER-1000 units to 104-110% (revised to 107-110% in 2013).

In May 2015 Rosenergoatom said it had completed uprating all VVER-1000 reactors to 104% of rated power, and was starting to take them to 107% using advanced TVS-2M fuel design, starting with Balakovo 4. Earlier, uprating of 5% for VVER-440 (but 7% for Kola 4) had been achieved. The overall cost was less than RUR 3 billion ($60.5 million), according to Rosenergoatom. The cost of this was earlier put at US$ 200 per kilowatt, compared with $2400/kW for construction of Rostov 2. Kalinin units 1-3 are quoted at 1075 MWe gross after uprate, and unit 4 started pilot commercial operation at 104% of rated power in February 2015.

Rosenergoatom has been investigating further uprates of VVER-1000 units to 107-110% of original capacity, using Balakovo 4 as a pilot plant to 2014. The cost of further uprates beyond 104% is expected to be up to $570/kW, depending on what needs to be replaced – the turbine generators being the main items. For the V-320 units, pilot commercial operation at 104% power is carried out over three fuel campaigns, with the reactor and other system parameters being monitored and relevant data collected. After this period, a cumulative 104% power operation report is produced for each plant. Rostechnadzor will then assess safety and possibly licence commercial operation at the higher power level.

Rosenergoatom is considering the introduction of a 24-month fuel cycle at new nuclear power units. Previously, VVER-1000 reactors operated for 12 months without refuelling and from 2008 they were all converted to an 18-month fuel cycle. VVER-440s still use a 12-month cycle. To achieve 24 months in new units, the design of VVERs will need to be changed and fuel enrichment would need to be increased from 4-4.5% U-235 to 6-7% in the VVER-TOI design.

The R&D Institute of Power Engineering was preparing plans for 5% uprating of the later Leningrad, Kursk and Smolensk RBMK units. For Leningrad 2-4, fuel enriched to average 3% instead of 2.4% would allow a 5% increase in power, and Rostechnadzor authorized trials in unit 2 of the new fuel. Following this it was to consider authorizing a 5% uprate for long-term operation. However, Rosenergoatom in May 2012 flagged problems with ageing of the graphite moderator, most acute at Leningrad 1, questioned proceeding with uprates of older units, and said it would consider de-rating individual units where problems such as pressure tube distortion were apparent due to graphite swelling. Leningrad 1 would be de-rated to 80% to prolong its operating life, and work to restore its graphite stack and extend its service life will be completed late in 2013. Similar work would then be done on all first-generation RBMKs, since these are so important economically to Rosenergoatom. However, future RBMK operation might possibly be at reduced capacity of 80% across all units. The successful repair of Leningrad 1 removed the pressure for accelerated replacement of old RBMK units.

Individual operating power plants

Balakovo: Rostechnadzor has approved a 4% increase in power from all four Balakovo V-320 reactors and major overhauls have been undertaken from 2012. Balakovo 1 was upgraded at a cost of RUR 9 billion over nine years, and in December 2015 Rostechnadzor gave it a 30-year life extension, the first Russian unit to achieve this. Rosatom has done the same for the other three units, all of which are uprated to 104% with 18-month refuel cycle. However, some may be still in trial operation and not yet licensed at this level. Balakovo 4 will be the first VVER-1000 unit uprated to 107%, using advanced TVS-2M fuel design. Upgrading will continue to 2018.

Beloyarsk: Beloyarsk 3 BN-600 fast neutron reactor in Zarechny municipality of Sverdlovsk region has been upgraded for 15-year life extension, to 2025, and is licensed to 2020. In 30 years of operation to late 2011, it produced 114 TWh with capacity factor of 76%. Due to progressive modification, its fuel burn-up has increased from 7% (design value) to 11.4%. It provides heat for Zarechny town as well as electricity from three 200 MWe turbine generators.

The Beloyarsk 4 BN-800 fast neutron reactor was delayed by lack of funds following construction start in 2006 and after first criticality in June 2014 it came online with grid connection in December 2015 and is expected to produce 3.5 TWh in 2016. . Its three steam generators drive a single turbine generator. The Market Council in July 2015 said it would enter commercial operation with power supply agreement in January 2017. Total cost of construction was reported as RUR 145.6 billion ($1.9 billion). 

Beloyarsk 5 as a BN-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013 and confirmed in the government decree in August 2016

(Further detail on Beloyarsk 4&5 is in the Transition to Fast Reactors subsection below.)

Bilibino: Units 1-4 have been given 15-year licence extensions, but will be shut down by 2022 – unit 1 in Dec 2018, units 2-4 in Dec 2021.

Kalinin: Unit 1 had a major overhaul in 2012 for licence extension and power uprate, and Kalinin 2 followed to 2016. Kalinin 2&3 have been approved for a 4% increase in power and are operating at this level on pilot commercial basis since 2012. Kalinin 1 was undergoing tests at 104% in 2013 and in mid-2014 it was granted a ten-year licence extension, to mid-2025. Application for Kalinin 2 is expected in 2016.

Kalinin 4 is a V-320 unit built by Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergopoekt. Rostechnadzor approved an operating licence in October 2011, it started up in November, was grid-connected in December and attained full commercial operation in September 2012. It uses major components originally supplied for Belene in Bulgaria. Final cost was RUR 7 billion ($220 million) under budget – about 10%. Silmash (Power Machines) is upgrading the turbine generator of units 3&4 to increase their gross power to 1100 MWe in 2016.

Kola: Safety analyses for Kola 3&4, which are later-model VVER-440 reactors, have allowed for at least 15-year life extension from 2011 and 2014 respectively, and significant upratings, despite low power demand in the Murmansk region and Karelia which means they are not fully utilised. In 2010, intended life extension was announced for Kola 3 (15 years). Kola 4 has been uprated to 107% using improved fuel assemblies on a six-year cycle and run on pilot basis but is not yet fully licensed at this level. In October 2014 Rostechnadzor granted a 25-year licence extension for unit 4, taking it to 2039 – 55 years. In May 2016 unit 3 was being prepared for operation at 107%.

In November 2013 the Regional Energy Planning Scheme suggested units 1&2 might continue to operate until two new VVER-TOI units are commissioned, likely to be 2025 and 2030 respectively. In mid-2014 Rosenergoatom suggested that Kola 1&2 might have a second life extension, taking them to 60 years operation (2033, 2034). In March 2016 Rosenergoatom launched a tender for work to extend the operating period of unit 1 to 60 years, until 2033. Work is expected to start in mid-2016 and to be completed by October 2018, when the current operating licence expires. Major works were undertaken on the two units over 1991 to 2005, costing $718 million, $96 million of this from international sources including neighbouring countries, and it is claimed that further work could bring them to contemporary standards.

The Kola reactors will be the first VVERs to run on reprocessed uranium (RepU) as a matter of course.

Kursk: Having had a licence extension to 2016, Kursk 1 was the first RBMK unit to be licensed for pilot operation with 5% uprate (apparently to 1020 MWe net) but units 2&4 were also operating at this level late in 2011. In February 2012 Rosatom said it would invest a further RUR 30 billion ($1.1 billion) in upgrading Kursk 2-4 and extending their operating lives – RUR 5.0, 11.9 & 13.7 billion respectively.

On units 1&2 work on the graphite moderator was undertaken to avoid the deformation experienced in Leningrad 1. Unit 2 was returned to service in February 2014 after its ‘lifetime performance restoration program’. Following inspection further work was postponed for unit 1, and was then completed in April 2016. Docmentation for restoring lifetime performance of the graphite stack of units 3&4 is being prepared by Atomenergoproekt for Rosenergoatom over 2016-17. Kursk 4 was issued a 15-year licence extension to December 2030 after RUR 13 billion in upgrade work over ten years.

Leningrad: In 2010, intended life extension was announced for Leningrad 4 (15 years), and it has undergone an RUR 17 billion refurbishment over 2008-11, including replacement of generator stator. The upgrading investment in all four Leningrad RBMK units totalled RUR 48 billion ($1.6 billion) to early 2012. Leningrad unit 1 was shut down in May 2012 due to deformation of the graphite moderator, and after a RUR 5 billion ($146 million) restoration of the graphite stack as the pioneer lifetime performance recovery (LPR) procedure it was restarted in November 2013. The same work was undertaken on unit 2 in 2014, and second stage lifetime performance recovery (LPR) work on unit 1 was planned for 2015. In 2016 Rosenergoatom plans to replace 150 pressure tubes in unit 2 and 50 in unit 1.

For Leningrad 2-4, fuel enriched to average 3% instead of 2.4% would allow a 5% increase in power – some 46 MWe each. Rostechnadzor authorized trials in unit 2 of the new fuel, and following this it was to consider authorizing a 5% uprate for long-term operation. This now seems in doubt. However, 15-year life extension of all four units is planned, with necessary upgrading. Used fuel is stored on site before being sent to MCC at Zheleznogorsk for longer-term storage and eventual reprocessing.

Decommissioning plans are: unit 1 – 2018; unit 2 – 2020; and units 3 and 4 – 2025.

Novovoronezh: Units 3&4 gained 15-year licence extensions to 2016 and 2017, then unit 4 was given a further 15-year licence extension, using parts from the decommissioned unit 3.

A plan for refurbishment, upgrade and life extension of Novovoronezh 5 was announced in mid-2009, this being the first second-generation VVER-1000 project. The initial estimate was RUR 1.66 billion ($52 million) but this eventually became RUR 14 billion ($450 million). The 12 months work from September 2010 included total replacement of the reactor control system and 80% of electrical equipment, and fitting upgraded safety systems, in particular, those of emergency core cooling and feedwater, and emergency power supply. Its potential operating life is extended to 2035. In 2011 it gained a five-year licence extension, and in 2015 it was licensed for a further 10 years, to 2025.

Unit 6, the first of a new generation of 1200 MWe class reactors, was grid-connected in August 2016 after about eight years' construction.

Smolensk: Early in 2012 Rosatom announced a RUR 45 billion ($1.5 billion) program to upgrade and extend the operating life of Smolensk 1-3 RBMK units. At the same time, construction of Smolensk II would get underway, with the first VVER unit to come on line by 2024. In 2012 Smolensk 1 was licensed to December 2022, a ten-year extension after refurbishment. Upgrading unit 2 was undertaken from 2013, to come back on line in 2015, and included replacement of fuel channels and upgrading the reactor control and protection system and radiation monitoring system, as well as reinforcing the building structure. In April 2015, an application was made for a 15-year licence extension. Unit 3 upgrade will follow, though it is already operating above 1000 MWe gross.

Rostov: Rostov 1 has been approved for a 4% increase in power and is operating at this level on pilot commercial basis. In September 2009 Rostechnadzor approved an operating licence for Rostov 2; it started up in January 2010, was grid connected in March, and apparently entered full commercial operation in October 2010. It was approved for 104% in October 2012. Unit 3 started up and was grid connected in December 2014, reached full power in July 2015, and entered commercial operation in September 2015. In December Rostechnadzor approved power increase to 104% of rated level. Rostov 3&4 are effectively new V-320 plants, and construction resumed in 2009. See also following section.

Reactors under construction

From mid-2008 there are four standard third-generation VVER reactors being built: at Leningrad (two units to commence stage 2) and Novovoronezh (similarly) to be commissioned 2012-14. This leads to a programme of starting to build at least 2000 MWe per year in Russia from 2009 (apart from export plants). See following section.

There has been considerable uncertainty about completing Kursk 5 – an upgraded RBMK design which is more than 70% built. Rosatom was keen to see it completed and in January 2007 the Duma's energy committee recommended that the government fund its completion by 2010*. However, funds were not forthcoming and the economic case for completion was doubtful, so in February 2012 Rosatom confirmed that the project was terminated. Instead, major announcements were made regarding Kursk II, a modern VVER plant to be built from 2015 to ensure that Kursk remains “the key electricity generation facility in the Central Black-Soil (Chernozemye) Region of Russia” – Kursk provided half the power there in 2011.

* In March 2007 the Industry Ministry recommended to the government that work proceed and Rosenergoatom then applied for RUR 27 billion (US$ 1 billion) from the ministry's 2008-10 federal budget to complete it. This did not materialise, so other funds were sought, and discussions with Sberbank and industrial electricity consumers such as steel producers continued into 2009. All other RBMK reactors – long condemned by the EU – are due to close by 2024, which would leave it technologically isolated. Despite positive statements as recently as September 2009, according to Rosatom early in 2010 it required RUR 45 billion and 3.5 years to finish and connect (RUR 27 billion for the plant itself), compared with around RUR 60 billion for building the same capacity from scratch in the new projects under way. Rosatom said that this meant "there is no sense in completing the reactor construction". (Accordingly it was then removed from WNA's "under construction" list.)

After the Fukushima accident, checks were made on Russian nuclear plants. Following these, in mid June 2011 Rosenergoatom announced a RUR 15 billion ($530 million) safety upgrade program for additional power and water supply back-up. Rosenergoatom spent RUR 2.6 billion on 66 mobile diesel generator sets, 35 mobile pumping units and 80 other pumps.

Retiring old units

The January 2015 Rosenergoatom plan envisages decommissioning nine units by 2023 – four VVERs (Kola 1&2, Novovoronezh 3&4), three RBMKs (Leningrad 1&2 and Kursk 1) and the four small Bilibino EGPs, total 4808 MWe gross, 4573 MWe net. Three more RBMK units (Kursk 2, Leningrad 3&4) and the Beloyarsk 4 BN-600 reactor are due to retire by 2027, total 3600 MWe gross, 3427 MWe net.

Building new nuclear capacity

Rosatom's initial proposal for a rapid expansion of nuclear capacity was based on the cost effectiveness of completing the 9 GWe of then (c2002) partially built plant. To get the funds, Minatom offered Gazprom the opportunity to invest in some of the partly completed nuclear plants. The rationale was that the US$ 7.3 billion required for the whole 10 GWe (including the just-completed Rostov 1) would be quickly recouped from gas exports if the new nuclear plant reduced the need to burn that gas domestically.

In September 2006 Rosatom announced a target of nuclear providing 23% of electricity by 2020, thus commissioning two 1200 MWe plants per year from 2011 to 2014 and then three per year until 2020 – adding some 31 GWe and giving some 44 GWe of nuclear capacity in 2020. The Minister of Finance strongly supported the program to increase nuclear share from 15.6% to 18.6% of total in 2020, hence improving energy security as well as promoting exports of nuclear power technology. After 2015 all funding would be from Rosatom revenues.

In September 2007 an ambitious federal target plan (FTP) to 2020 was released, working up to over 4 GWe per year new additions from 2016, but noting that from 2012 to 2020 only two 1200 MWe units per year were within the "financial capacity of the federal task program".  In February 2008, under the broader Master Plan for Electric Energy Facilities to 2020, the earlier federal target plan (FTP) to 2020 was endorsed with little change except that an extra five VVER-1200 units were added as "maximum scenario" or "extra" in the last few years to 2020. As well as the 4800 MWe capacity then under construction, a further 12,000 MWe was planned for completion mostly by 2016, and then a lot more by 2020. Several new sites were involved. Also the new 300 MWe units were listed as being VBER-300 PWR types. 

Kursk 5 RBMK was in the FTP to 2009 but construction was halted in 2012, when about 70% complete, and it is mothballed.

By April 2009 plans were radically scaled back, due both to reduced electricity demand growth and financial constraints. By July 2012, 30.5 GWe nuclear was projected for 2020. This was confirmed in a January 2015 ‘roadmap’, with an average of one reactor per year commissioned to 2025, including the first three TOI units and excluding the Baltic plant. The ‘roadmap’ excluded smaller and experimental units. But net additions to 2020 were only 6 GWe, taking the target to 31 GWe then.

Russian Nuclear Reactor Planned Additions and Retirements to 2035

 

More significantly, in about 2008 the Ministry of Industry and Energy (MIE) and Rosatom were charged with promptly developing an action plan to attract investment into power generation. It is envisaged that by 2020 much generation would be privatized and competitive, while the state would control natural monopoly functions such as the grid.

In March 2011 the State Duma’s energy committee recommended construction of Kursk II with standard VVER-TOI reactors and updating FTP plans to have units 1&2 put online in 2020 and 2023. It said that unit 1 must be in service by the time the first RBMK unit of phase I is closed, to ensure adequate supply to Moscow.

The FTP programme is based on VVER technology at least to the 2030s. But it highlights the goal of moving to fast neutron reactors and closed fuel cycle, for which in 2010 Rosatom proposed two options, outlined below in the Transition to Fast Reactors section. In stage 1 of the second option, which was adopted, a 100 MWe lead-bismuth-cooled fast reactor is to be built, and in stage 2 over 2015-2020 a pilot demonstration power facility (PDPF) 300 MWe lead-cooled BREST reactor and a multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) are to be built. 

In 2009 Siemens announced that it would withdraw from Areva and forge a link with Rosatom. A memorandum of understanding then confirmed the intent to set up a joint venture with Rosatom as majority shareholder, developing Russian VVER designs, building new nuclear power plants, and upgrading existing nuclear plants. This was hailed by Mr Putin as a long-term strategic partnership. However, finalising the agreement was delayed pending Siemens disengaging from Areva, and in September 2011 Siemens announced that it would not proceed. In any case most of Siemens intellectual property remained with Areva, so it would have had little to contribute to Rosatom/Atomenergoprom.

In October 2014 Rosatom resolved in principle to develop small and medium power reactors, though initially they are not expected to compare economically with larger units. In May 2014 Rosenergoatom was completing comparative assessment of VVER-600 from Gidropress and VBER-600 from OKBM designs. In 2016 the VVER-600 was ordered to be built at Kola initially.

The latest Federal Target Program (FTP) envisages a 25-30% nuclear share in electricity supply by 2030, 45-50% in 2050 and 70-80% by end of century.

In August 2016 a government decree set out plans to build 11 new reactors beyond Kursk and those now under construction by 2030, as part of the Unified Energy System of Russia. It brought forward the dates for the first two BN-1200 reactors. The 11 units are listed in the table below as ‘planned’ to 2030, along with further Novovoronezh and Leningrad units.

See also subsections: Transition to Fast Reactors, and Fast reactors in the Reactor Technology section below

Power Reactors under Construction, Planned and officially Proposed

Plant Reactor Type MWe gross (net expected) Status, start construction Start or commercial op'n
Rostov 4 VVER-1000/V-320 1100 (1011) Const 1983, first new concrete 6/10 6/2017 or 2019
Floating NPP 1 for Pevek KLT-40S 35x2 (32x2) Const 5/09 2017-2018
Leningrad II-1 VVER-1200/V-491 1170 (1085) Const 10/08 Grid conn 5/2018
Novovoronezh II-2 VVER-1200/V-392M 1200 (1114) Const 7/09 Grid conn 10/2018, comm 1/2019
Leningrad II-2 VVER-1200/V-491 1170 (1085) Const 4/10 Grid conn 11/2019, comm 2/2020
Baltic 1 (Kaliningrad) VVER-1200/V-491 1194 (1109) Const 4/12, suspended 6/13 ??
Subtotal of 7 under construction   5904 MWe gross, (c5468 net)

(The MBIR research reactor is also under construction, at Dimitrovgrad.)

Power Reactors Planned and officially Proposed

Plant Reactor type MWe gross Status, start construction Operation
Dimitrovgrad SVBR-100 100 Planned, 2016 2018?
Seversk BREST-300 300 Planned, 2016 2025
Leningrad II-3 VVER 1200/V-491 1170 Planned, 2018 2023
Leningrad II-4 VVER 1200/V-491 1170 Planned, 2019 2024
Kursk II-1 VVER-TOI 1300 Planned, May 2018 April 2022
Kursk II-2 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned, 2019 2023
Nizhny Novgorod 1 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned, 2023 2028
Nizhny Novgorod 2 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned, 2025 2030
Central/Kostroma 1 VVER-TOI 1250 Planned by 2030
Central/Kostroma 2 VVER-TOI 1250 Planned by 2030
Smolensk II-1 VVER-TOI 1250 Planned, 2022 2027
Smolensk II-2 VVER-TOI 1250 Planned, 2024 2029
Kursk II-3 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned 2028
Kursk II-4 VVER-TOI 1255 Planned 2030
Tatar VVER-TOI 1250 Planned by 2030
Kola II-1 VVER-600/ V-498 600 Planned by 2030
Beloyarsk 5 BN-1200 1220 Planned, 2025 by 2031
South Urals 1 BN-1200 1220 Planned 2033
FNPP (for Sakha?) KLT-40S 40x2 Planned 2020
7 units at four sites from the following list: VVER-TOI 1250 each Planned 2031-35
Subtotal of 26 planned   28,390 MWe gross
South Urals 2 BN-1200 1220 Planned 2035
Kola II-2 VVER-600 600 Proposed  
Smolensk II-3 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed  
Smolensk II-4 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed  
Tatar 2 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed  
Seversk 1 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed  
Seversk 2 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed  
Bashkirsk 1 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed  
Bashkirsk 2 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed  
Primorsk 1 VK-300 or VBER-300 300 Proposed  
Primorsk 2 VK-300 or VBER-300 300 Proposed  
Baltic 2 (Kaliningrad) VVER 1200/V-491 1170 Suspended  
South Urals 3 BN-1200 1220 Proposed ?
Zheleznogorsk MCC VBER-300 300 Proposed ?
Zheleznogorsk MCC VBER-300 300 Proposed ?
Novovoronezh II-3 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Novovoronezh II-4 VVER 1200 1200 Proposed ?
Tver 1 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Tver 2 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Tver 3 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Tver 4 VVER-1200 1200 Proposed ?
Nizhny Novgorod 3 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed ?
Nizhny Novgorod 4 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed ?
Tsentral 3 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed ?
Tsentral 4 VVER-TOI 1255 Proposed ?
Beloyarsk 6 BN-1200/1600 1220/1600 Proposed (approved) ?
Balakovo 5&6 VVER-1000 1000x2 Formerly proposed RUSAL ?
Sakha ABV-6 18x2 Proposed ?
Subtotal of 22 units net 'proposed'   21,000 MWe approx apart from 7 planned

VVER-1200 is the reactor portion of the AES-2006 nuclear power plant, or for planned units beyond Leningrad II it will be VVER-TOI plant with VVER 1200/ V510 reactor. Rostov was also known as Volgodonsk, and construction of units 3&4 actually began in 1983 but was suspended indefinitely with relatively little work done. South Urals was to be BN-800, and now is to be BN-1200.

Seversk is near Tomsk, Tver is near Kalinin, Nizhegorod is a new site near Nizhniy Novgorod, 400 km east of Moscow, and Tsentral (central) is at Buisk in Kostrama region. South Ural is at Ozersk, Chelyabinsk region, 140 km west of Chelyabinsk in Sverdlovsk region. Tatarskaya is in Kamskiye Polyany in Nizhnekamsk Region. Primorsk is in the far east, as is Vilyuchinsk in the Kamchatka region, and Pevek in the Chukotka Autonomous Region near Bilibino, which it will replace. Floating nuclear power or cogeneration plants are planned for Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka and Pevek, Chukotka. Tver and Tsentral are considered alternatives in the short term.

Rostov 3&4 (formerly Volgodonsk)

The environmental statement and construction application were approved by Rostechnadzor in May 2009, the construction licence was granted to Energoatom in June, and construction resumed about September (it had started in 1983). First new concrete for unit 4 was in June 2010. The plant is 13.5 km from the city on the banks of Volgodonsk Tsimlyansk reservoir. Rosatom brought forward the completion dates of the two units after deciding that they would have V-320 type of VVER with improved steam generators and capacity of 1100 MWe. This is expected to save some RUR 10 billion relative to the AES-2006 technology as it continues the construction done over 1983-86. OMZ's Izhorskiye Zavody facility at Izhora is providing the pressure vessel for unit 3. Nizhniy Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (now NIAEP-ASE) is principal contractor for units 3&4, expected to cost 130 billion (US$ 4.1 billion) according to Rosenergoatom in August 2012. Steam generators for unit 4 will be from AEM-Tekhnologi at the Atommash plant, those for unit 3 from ZiO-Podolsk. Ukraine's Turboatom is providing the low-speed turbine generators for both units. Grid connection of unit 2 was in March 2010 and full commercial operation was in October. Unit 3 started up and was grid-connected in December 2014, and entered commercial operation in September 2015.

Novovoronezh II

The principal contractor for Phase II is JSC AtomEnergoProekt (Moscow), with work starting in 2007 and some involvement of NIAEP-ASE. Construction is now under the ASE group. This is the lead plant for deploying the V-392M version of the AES-2006 units. First concrete was poured for unit 1 of this (unit 6 at the site) in June 2008 and for unit 2 in July 2009. Unit 1 was expected to be commissioned in 2015, with unit 2 following a year later, at a total cost of US$ 5 billion for 2228 MWe net (1114 MWe net each). The reactor pressure vessels are from OMZ Izhora and the advanced steam generators from ZiO-Podolsk, with 60-year life expectancy. Turbine generators (high speed) are from Power Machines.

Atomenergoproekt told its contractors in December 2014 to accelerate work, but in May 2015 a delay of one year in commissioning both units was announced, due to low power demand. In September 2015 a pre-startup peer review was conducted for unit 1 under World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) auspices. Rostechnadzor issued the operating licence for unit 1 in March 2016, and fuel loading commenced.* It started up in May and was grid-connected in August 2016. According to the Market Council in July 2015, unit 1 will enter commercial operation with power supply agreement in January 2017. Unit 2 dates will be October 2018 commissioning and January 2019 commercial operation. The plant is on one of the main hubs of the Russian grid.

* Initially only one-third of the fuel assemblies are being loaded, the remainder of the core being dummies, half of which will be replaced with fuel at each subsequent refuelling.

Leningrad II

A general contract for Leningrad phase II AES-2006 plant was signed with St Petersburg AtomEnergoProekt (SPb AEP, merged with VNIPIET to become Atomproekt) in August 2007 and Rostechnadzor granted site licences in September 2007 for two units. A specific engineering, procurement and construction contract for the first two V-491 units was signed in Marchand Rostechnadzor issued a construction licence in June 2008. First concrete was poured on schedule for unit 1 in October 2008 and it was due to be commissioned in October 2013. However, a section of outer containment collapsed in 2011 and set back the schedule, as did subsequent manpower shortage, so that commissioning was then expected in 2016, following start-up at the end of 2015. Rostechnadzor granted a construction licence for the second reactor in July 2009, and first concrete was poured in April 2010. Commercial operation was due in 2018 but in May 2015 a delay of one year in commissioning both units was announced, due to low power demand. According to the Market Council in July 2015, unit 1 will be commissioned in June 2017 and enter commercial operation with power supply agreement in January 2018, unit 2 November 2019 and February 2020 respectively. Each reactor will also provide 1.05 TJ/hr (9.17 PJ/yr) of district heating. Gross power is 1170 MWe each, net expected 1085 MWe. They are designed to replace the oldest two Leningrad units.

The 2008 construction contract was for US$ 5.8 billion ($2480/kW) possibly including some infrastructure. Total project cost was estimated at $6.6 billion. In May 2015 Titan-2 became general contractor for units 1&2*, with Atomproekt remaining the general designer, and in October 2015 Titan-2 became also the principal equipment supplier. Construction is now under the ASE group which consolidates most of the entities involved.

* It was reported in September 2011 that Titan-2, a major subcontractor, took over from SPb AEP as principal construction contractor, then in February 2012 that Spetsstroy of Russia (Federal Agency for Special Construction) would do so.  In December 2013 Roesenergoatom transferred the project from Spetsstroy to Atomenergoproekt Moscow as principal contractor, while SPb AEP / VNIPIET/ Atomproekt remained architect general.  NIAEP-ASE also bid for the general contract in October 2013.  Rosatom had said in February 2012 that it did not believe that SPb AEP should perform the full range of design, construction and equipment supply roles.

A design contract for the next two units (3&4) was signed with SPb AEP in September 2008, and public consultation on these was held in Sosnovy Bor in mid 2009. An environmental review by Rostechnadzor was announced for them in January 2010 and site development licences were granted in June, then renewed in April 2013. Rosenergoatom signed a contract with VNIPIET at the end of December 2013 to develop project documentation. It expected construction licences in 2014 and construction start in 2015, but the delay to units 1&2 extends to units 3&4.

Nizhny Novgorod

The plant in Navashino District near Monakovo is eventually to comprise four AES-1200 units of 1150 MWe net and costing RUR 269 billion (US$ 9.4 billion), the first planned to come on line by 2019 to address a regional energy deficit. In February 2008 Rosatom appointed Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (NN-AEP or NIAEP) as the principal designer of the plant. Rostechnadzor issued a positive site review for units 1&2 early in 2010 and a site licence with prescription for site monitoring in January 2011. Rosatom's proposal to proceed with construction of two units was approved in November 2011. Site works started in 2012 and formal construction starts were expected soon after. This was to be the first VVER-TOI plant, with rated capacity of 1255 MWe per unit. Preliminary costing is RUR 240 billion ($7.38 billion). In the government decree of August 2016 two VVER-TOI were specified, for completion by 2030.

Tatar

A 4000 MWe nuclear plant was under construction and due on line from 1992, but construction ceased in 1990. Then a two-unit VVER-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013. In the government decree of August 2016 a single VVER-TOI was listed for completion by 2030 at Kamskiye Polyany in Nizhnekamsk Region of Tatarstan.

Central/Kostroma

The 2340 MWe Tsentral (Central) nuclear power plant is to be 5-10 km northwest of Buisk Town in the Kostroma region, on the Kostroma River. It was another of those deferred but following Rosatom's October 2008 decision to proceed, it appeared that construction might start in 2013. Then a two-unit VVER-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013, with both units to be online by 2030 and this was confirmed as VVER-TOI in August 2016. Moscow Atomenergoproekt is the architect-engineer. Rostechnadzor has approved the site and a development licence was expected by mid-2010, then a construction licence in 2012. The cost of the project and infrastructure is expected to be RUR 130 billion ($ 5 billion).

South Urals

The plant near Ozersk in Chelyabinsk region has been twice deferred, and was then reported by local government to have three BN-1200 fast reactor units planned, instead of four VVER-1200. Then a two-unit BN-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013. Plans for a single BN-1200 unit were confirmed in August 2016, for completion by 2030. There is only enough cooling water (70 GL/yr) for two of them, and the third will depend on completion of the Suriyamskoye Reservoir.

Kola II

In January 2012 Rosenergoatom said that the replacement Kola II plant, about 10 km south of the present plant in the Murmansk region and on the shores of Lake Imandra, would be brought forward and built with two VVER-TOI units to come on line in 2020. Then a two-unit VVER-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013. But in September 2014 Rosenergoatom was considering medium-sized units, either VVER-600 or VBER-600 for Kola. In the government decree of August 2016 a single VVER-600 was specified, for completion by 2030.

Kursk II

It was originally envisaged that the first unit of Kursk II should be online by the time Kursk 1 closes, then envisaged in 2016. In March 2011, the State Duma’s Energy Committee recommended that the government update the general scheme of deployment of electricity generators, to have units 1 and 2 of Kursk II being commissioned in 2020 and 2023 as the lead project with VVER-TOI types. The cost envisaged is RUR 440 billion ($15 billion). Kursk I-5 capacity had been planned in the federal target program and its abandonment left a likely base-load shortfall for UES in central Russia.

Rosatom started engineering surveys for Kursk II in 2011, and set up a task force of representatives from the nuclear industry and Kursk Region government to produce project documentation on construction of Kursk II. Site work commenced at the end of 2013, with environmental assessment. In June 2016 Rostechnadzor issued a construction licence to Rosenergoatom, and the main site works commenced later that month. Construction start is planned for May 2018 with a view to commissioning in April 2022 and in 2023. The total investment in building unit 1 will exceed RUR 200 billion ($3.14 billion), of which more than RUR 10 billion has been allocated for 2016. Atommash is to supply the reactor vessel, Power Machines the steam generators, and Energoteks the core catcher.

A four-unit plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013, units 3&4 to be on line by 2030. In June 2012 Rosatom appointed Moscow AEP as designer, and Nizhny-Novgorod AEP (NIAEP) as architect general and principal contractor.

Smolensk II

Atomenergoproekt Moscow is architect engineer for VVER-TOI units to replace old RBMK capacity at Smolensk. Roesnergoatom’s investment concept was approved in 2011. Site surveys were undertaken from June 2013, and three potential sites were short-listed. A four-unit VVER plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013, with two units on line by 2025 and two by 2030. Engineering surveys were completed in November 2014 and site works were due to start in 2015 at Pyatidvorka (6 km from Smolensk I), followed by construction in 2017. This was then deferred to 2022, with the first unit expected on line in 2027. Rostechnadzor is expected to issue a site licence in September 2016. In the government decree of August 2016 two VVER-TOI units were specified, for completion by 2030.

Seversk

The first 1200 MWe unit of the Seversk AES-2006 plant 32 km northwest of Tomsk was due to start up in 2015 with the second in 2017, but has been postponed, and a decision on construction schedule was still unresolved in 2012, in the light of electricity demand. Certainly its priority is downgraded in 2013. Rosatom was ready to start construction in 2013, but awaited ministerial direction. Then a two-unit VVER-1200 plant was included in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme in November 2013, both units to be on line by 2030. The plant will also supply 7.5 PJ/yr of district heating.

Atomenrgopoekt Moscow is to build the plant at estimated cost of RUR 134 billion (US$ 4.4 billion). Rostechnadzor granted a site development licence in November 2009 and a further site licence in 2011. Site work has commenced. In 2010 Seversk was put on the updated general scheme of deployment of energy facilities, with the first reactor commissioning before 2020 and the second one in 2020-2025. Seversk is the site of a major enrichment plant and former weapons facilities. A design contract for the low-speed turbine generators has been signed between Moscow AEP which is responsible for design and engineering, and Alstom Atomenergomash. This would be the first Russian plant using the low-speed turbines.

In the government decree of August 2016 a single BREST-300 fast reactor was the only unit specified, for completion by 2025. See account below.

Baltic

Separately from the February 2008 plan, Rosatom energy-trading subsidiary InterRAO UES proposed a Baltic or Baltiyskaya AES-2006 nuclear plant in Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast to generate electricity for export, and with up to 49% European equity. Private or foreign equity would be an innovation for Russia. The plant was designed to comprise two 1200 MWe VVER units, V-491 model, sited at Neman, on the Lithuanian border and costing some RUR 194 billion (in 2009 value, €4.6 billion, $6.8 billion), for 2300 MWe net. Project approval was confirmed by government decree in September 2009, following initial approval in mid-2008 as an amendment to the federal target program (FTP) of 2007. The mid-2011 business plan estimated the likely capital cost to be €6.63 to 8.15 billion.

WorleyParsons was appointed technical consultant for the project. Rosenergoatom set up a subsidiary: JSC Baltic NPP to build and commission the plant. St Petersburg Atomenergoproekt - VNIPIET (now merged as Atomproekt) is the architect engineer, Nizhniy Novgorod AEP (NIAEP) is construction manager, with Atomstroyexport (ASE). TitanStroyMontazh is engineering subcontractor. Originally AEM Petrozavodskmash was to produce the pressure vessel for unit 1 but this was assigned to AEM-Tekhnologii at the Atommash plant. OMZ's Ishorskiye Zavody will produce the pressure vessel for unit 2 and the pressurisers for both units. Alstom-Atomenergomash will supply the Arabelle low-speed turbine generators for both units – the plant will be the JV's first customer, and the Baltic plant would be the first Russian plant to use major foreign components. (LMZ high-speed turbine generators had initially been approved.)

Site work began in February 2010. Expenditure to January 2012 was RUR 7.25 billion ($241 million), and that in 2012 was expected to be RUR 7 billion. Rostechnadzor issued a construction licence for unit 1 in November 2011 and first concrete was poured on (revised) schedule in April 2012, with the base completed in December 2012. Unit 1 was planned to come on line in October 2016, after 55 months construction, supplying Rosenergoatom. Commercial operation was due in 2017. Second unit construction was planned over 2013-18, with 48 months to first power and full operation in April 2018. NIAEP-ASE suspended construction in June 2013 (see below), pending a full review of the project intended to be by mid-2014, though some work on the containment was ongoing in following months. Rosenergoatom said that in October 2013 it had spent RUR 50-60 billion ($1.2 to 1.6 billion) on the project.

InterRAO UES was responsible for soliciting investment (by about 2014, well after construction start) and also for electricity sales. The Baltic plant directly competes with the plan for a new unit at Visaginas near Ignalina in Lithuania and with plans for new nuclear plants in Belarus and Poland. Rosenergoatom said that the plant is deliberately placed "essentially within the EU" and is designed to be integrated with the EU grid. Most of the power (87% in the mid 2011 business plan) would be exported to Germany, Poland and Baltic states. Transmission to northern Germany would be via a new undersea cable, and in 2011 Inter RAO and Alpiq agreed to investigate an 800 MWe undersea DC link to Germany's grid. Some €1 billion in transmission infrastructure would be required. There is already some transmission capacity east through Lithuania and Belarus to the St Petersburg region if that were added to the options. The European equity would be in order to secure markets for the power. Lithuania was invited to consider the prospect, instead of building Visaginas as a Baltic states plus Poland project, but declined. However in April 2014 Rosatom said the Baltic plant was designed to “operate within the unified grid of the Baltics and North-West of Russia”. But now, due to potential isolation of the Kaliningrad Region grid*, Rosatom “has to rebuild its project completely.” In June 2015 Latvia’s SiltumElektroProjekt LLC (SEP) won a RUR 47 million, six-month contract to do a feasibility study on connecting the Baltic plant ‘interstate’.

* Lithuania’s revised energy policy in 2012 involves rebuilding its grid to be independent of the Russian/Belarus system and to work in with the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO) synchronous system, as well as strengthening interconnection among the three Baltic states.

Czech power utility CEZ earlier expressed interest in the project, as did Iberdrola from Spain, whose engineering subsidiary already works at Kola, Balakovo and Novovoronezh nuclear power plants. In April 2010 Enel signed a wide-ranging agreement with Inter RAO which positioned it to take up to 49% of the plant, but this did not proceed. Rosatom earlier said that the project would not be delayed even if 49% private equity or long-term sales contracts were not forthcoming.

However, in June 2013 construction was suspended due to lack of interest in the project from the Baltic states, Poland and Germany, all of whom have historical issues regarding Russia and/or Kaliningrad. Construction has remained stalled since then. In July 2015 Kaliningrad local government was talking up the prospects of an aluminium smelter to justify resuming construction of the plant. The plant was omitted from the January 2015 ‘roadmap’ to 2035. In September 2015 the first deputy director general for operations management at Rosatom said that only when long-term electricity sales contracts are negotiated and “formalized in binding documents, i.e. contracts for buying electricity produced by plant from the western side, we could speak of continuation of construction.”

NIAEP said it was investigating building some small nuclear plants in Kaliningrad instead – eight 40 MWe units such as those on floating nuclear power plants was mentioned as a possibility, and they would fit into the local energy system better, with its 500 MWe total requirement. In mid-2014 Rosenergoatom was considering VVER-600 from Gidropress with many of the same components as the original, and VBER-600 from OKBM, the latter being less developed so involving a two-year delay. A new schedule and site configuration, involving small units, was to be approved by mid-2014, but there had been no news of this to mid-2015. Meanwhile manufacture and supply of equipment has continued and it is being stored on site in ten warehouses. The polar crane was delivered in August 2014. A contract for storing four steam generators for 15 months from July 2015 was let for RUR 46 million. See also grid implications in Electricity Transmission Grids paper.

As well as the Baltic plant, two other ventures with Rusal (see below) will apparently require private equity.

Tver

The plant at Udomlya district and 4 km from Kalinin was being designed by Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (NN-AEP), and in January 2010 it was announced that Rostechnadzor would conduct an environmental review of it for the first two VVER-1200 units, these being on the general scheme of electricity generators deployment to 2020. No firm dates have been given for the project, though a site development licence was expected in March 2010.

Pevek

Energoatom signed a RUR 9.98 billion purchase contract for the first floating nuclear power plant for Vilyuchinsk, on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East, in July 2009. The 2x35 MWe plant, named Academician Lomonosov, is due to be completed in 2011 and commissioned in 2012, but the project is delayed due to shipyard insolvency. The two reactors were installed in October 2013, and the shipyard expected to deliver the plant to Rosenergoatom in September 2016, but this has now slipped to November 2017. Commissioning on site is planned for 2019. See FNPP subsection below.

Dimitrovgrad

In December 2009 AKME-Engineering was set up by Rosatom and a partner to develop and operate a pilot power generating plant (PPGP), a 100 MWe SVBR unit, at Dimitrovgrad by 2017.* The design is also known as the MTBF-100. In 2010 AKME-Engineering contracted with Atomenergoproekt to design the pilot SVBR-100, with the RF State Research Centre Institute for Physics & Power Engineering (IPPE) at Obninsk. Construction at the State Scientific Centre – Research Institute for Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) is scheduled to take 42 months, from 2015 to late 2018. In February 2013 AKME signed a contract with KomplektEnergo to supply the steam turbine for the pilot unit in 2016 and commission it in 2017. In May 2013 AKME-engineering was licensed for construction and operation of nuclear plants by Rostechnadzor, and in June AKME-Engineering secured the site adjacent to NIIAR. While site works had started in 2013, the official site permit was issued in February 2015. Rosatom explained that for designs developed on technological platforms not previously used in civil nuclear power, a siting licence issued by the regulatory authorities means acceptance of the design in terms of safety and its conformity with requirements of federal standards and rules. The company will now apply to Rostechnadzor for a construction licence.

* AKME-Engineering was set up by Rosatom and the En+ Group (a subsidiary of Russian Machines Co/ Basic Element Group) as a 50-50 JV. In 2011 JSC Irkutskenergo, an En+ subsidiary, took over the En+ 50% share. The main project participants are OKB Gidropress at Podolsk, VNIPIET OAO at St Petersburg, and the RF State Research Centre Institute for Physics & Power Engineering (IPPE) at Obninsk. The project cost was estimated at RUR 16 billion, and En+ was prepared to put in most of this, with Rosatom contributing the technology, based on naval experience. Since this is thus a public-private partnership, it was not basically funded from the federal budget. In 2014 a commercial partner was still being sought.

UES was reported to support construction of new nuclear plants in the regions of Yaroslavl, Chelyabinsk (South Urals) and Vladimir, with two to four units at each.

Further Power Reactors Proposed, uncertain status

Unit Type MWe each gross Start construction
Leningrad II 5-6
VVER-1200
1200
 
North-west 1 & 2
BWR VK-300
300
 
Plants with low priority for UES:
Bashkira 1-4
PWR
   
Far East 1-4 PWR, 1/3 for Rusal smelter 1000  

Transition to Fast Reactors

The principal scheme of innovative nuclear power for Russia based on new technology platform envisages full recycling of fuel, balancing thermal and fast reactors, so that 100 GWe of total capacity requires only about 100 tonnes of input per year, from enrichment tails, natural uranium and thorium, with minor actinides being burned. About 100 t/yr of fission product wastes go to a geological repository. The BN-series fast reactor plans are part of Rosatom's so-called Proryv, or "Breakthrough," project, to develop fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle whose mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel will be reprocessed and recycled. They have a negative temperature coefficient of reactivity so that higher temperatures decrease reactivity.

Starting 2020-25 it is envisaged that fast neutron power reactors will play an increasing role in Russia, though these will probably be new designs such as BREST with a single core and no blanket assembly for plutonium production. Fast reactors are projected as comprising some 14 GWe by 2030 and 34 GWe of capacity by 2050.  

The BN-600 reactor at Beloyarsk has operated successfully since 1980 and is now licensed to 2020. It is a three-loop pool type reactor of 1470 MWt, 600 MWe gross and 560 MWe net.

BN-800 Beloyarsk 4

The Beloyarsk 4 BN-800 fast reactor designed by OKBM Afrikantov was intended to replace the BN-600 unit 3 at Beloyarsk, though the RUR 64 billion (US$ 2.05 billion) project was delayed by lack of funds following construction start in 2006. It was initially represented as the first Generation III reactor which, after 2020, would start to take a large share of Russian capacity as older designs were phased out. 

This first (and probably only Russian) BN-800 unit first started up in June 2014, with first power to the turbine in November 2015. It is 2100 MWt, 864 MWe gross, 789 MWe net. It is essentially a demonstration unit for fuel and design features for the BN-1200, or as Rosatom said in September 2015: BN-800 has been created for testing elements of closing the nuclear fuel cycle rather than electricity generation. Uralenergostroy is the general civil contractor for both Beloyarsk reactors, and sees BN-800 as a bridge to significantly different future designs such as BN-1200, which in 2015 Rosatom described as “by 2025 the first commercial fast neutron reactor”.

Rosenergoatom said that "for us, the BN-800 is not only the basis for development of a closed nuclear fuel cycle. It is also a test case for technical solutions that will later be used for commercial production of the BN-1200. Among other things, the BN-800 must answer questions about the economic viability of potential fast reactors ... if such a unit has more functions than to generate electricity, then it becomes economically attractive. That's what we have to find out.” The Beloyarsk plant director said: “The main objective of the BN-800 is [to provide] operating experience and technological solutions that will be applied to the BN-1200.” Rosatom’s scientific and technology council was to review the situation by mid-2015.

The BN-800 achieved first criticality in June 2014, was grid-connected in December 2015, reached full power in August 2016 and is expected in commercial operation later in the year. Electricity from Beloyarsk 4 was included in the production target of Rosenergoatom for 2016, with 3.5 TWh now expected in the year, and power supply contracts have been signed.

The long preparatory period with a year’s delay before return to criticality in mid-2015 was due to a technical issue with the fuel assemblies, which had to be redesigned when it became clear that not enough MOX fuel would be available for an initial core load. Hence initial fuel is about 75% uranium enriched to about 20% plus one-fifth MOX fuel assemblies. It is to change over to a full load of pelletised MOX fuel by 2019 after the Zheleznogorsk MCC plant gets into full production and the fuel is tested. Initial vibropacked fuel is made by NIIAR and pelletised MOX at PA Mayak. The unit is intended to demonstrate the use of MOX fuel at industrial scale, including that made from weapons plutonium, and justify the closed fuel cycle technology. It does not have a breeding blanket and breeding ratio is quoted as 1.0, though the version designed for Sanming in China has up to 198 DU fuel elements in a blanket. Further reactor details in the information paper on Fast Neutron Reactors.

In May 2009 St Petersburg Atomenergopoekt (SPb AEP, now Atomproekt) said it was starting design work on a BN-800 reactor for China, where two were planned at Sanming – Chinese Demonstration Fast Reactors (CDFR). They would use pelletised MOX fuel, initially from MCC. A high-level agreement was signed in October 2009, then another in November 2012, and an intergovernmental agreement relating to them was expected in 2012, but is still pending in 2015, and the project was reported to be suspended indefinitely. NIAEP-Atomstroyexport said in July 2014 that a framework contract and contract for engineering design was expected by the end of the year.

BN-1200 Beloyarsk 5

The BN-1200 reactor is being developed by OKBM Afrikantov in Zarechny, and the engineering design was expected to be complete by the end of 2014 with related R&D completed in 2016, partly funded by the federal nuclear technology programme. Rosatom’s Scientific & Technical Board was to review it along with cost estimates in August 2015. In April OKBM said that capital cost was now the same as for VVER-TOI. Detailed design completion is expected in 2017. The design is expected to significantly improve upon that of the BN-800. Rosatom sees this as a “Generation IV design with natural security” – an element of the Proryv (breakthrough) Project*, with closed fuel cycle. It is 1220 MWe gross, with breeding ratio quoted as 1.2 to 1.4. See reactor details in the Fast Neutron Reactors paper.

* for large fast reactors, BN series and BREST.

OKBM expected the first BN-1200 unit with MOX fuel to be commissioned in 2020, then eight more to 2030, moving to dense nitride U-Pu fuel. SPb AEP (merged with VNIPIET to become Atomproekt) is the general designer. Rosatom's Science and Technology Council in 2011 approved the BN-1200 reactor for Beloyarsk, and Rosatom expected to commit to this construction, once the BN-800 is operating. In May 2012 Rosenergoatom started environmental assessment for a BN-1200 unit as Beloyarsk 5, with an evaporative cooling tower. In April 2015 Rosenergoatom said that construction decision would be delayed to at least 2020, as it wanted to improve the fuel and review the economic viability of the project. Federal financing and Rosatom funds of RUR 102 billion ($3.3 billion) are envisaged.

OKBM earlier envisaged about 11 GWe of BN-1200 plants by 2030, including South Urals NPP wher the second BN-1200 will be built. The Chelyabinsk regional government has planned for three units to be built at South Urals plant. In November 2013 the Regional Energy Planning Scheme included construction of two BN-1200 units at South Urals by 2030. The government decree of August 2016 specified only one here.

SVBR-100 Dimitrovgrad

Moving in the other direction, and downsizing from BN-800 etc, a pilot 100 MWe SVBR-100 unit is planned to be built next to RIIAR Dimitrovgrad by AKME-Engineering by about 2017. This is a modular lead-bismuth cooled fast neutron reactor design from OKB Gidropress, and is intended to meet regional needs in Russia and abroad. RUR 13.23 billion was allocated for this in February 2010, including RUR 3.75 billion from the federal budget. Rosatom is looking for additional investors. The cost has increased to RUR 36 billion. Details below in Reactor Technology section and in the Small Nuclear Power Reactors paper.

Advanced Nuclear Technologies Federal Program 2010-2020

Rosatom put forward two fast reactor implementation options for government decision in relation to the Advanced Nuclear Technologies Federal Program 2010-2020. The first focused on a lead-cooled fast reactor such as BREST with its fuel cycle, and assumed mobilisation of all available resources on this project with a total funding of about RUR 140 billion (about $3.1 billion). The second multi-track option was favoured, since it involved lower risks than the first. It would result in technical designs of the Generation IV reactor and associated closed fuel cycles technologies by 2014, and a technological basis of the future innovative nuclear energy system featuring the Generation IV reactors working in closed fuel cycles by 2020. A detailed design would be developed for a multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) by 2014 also. This second option was designed to attract more funds apart from the federal budget allocation, was favoured by Rosatom, and was accepted.

In January 2010 the government approved the federal target program (FTP) "New-generation nuclear energy technologies for the period 2010-2015 and up to 2020" designed to bring a new technology platform for the nuclear power industry based on fast neutron reactors. It anticipated RUR 110 billion to 2020 out of the federal budget, including RUR 60 billion for fast reactors, and subsequent announcements started to allocate funds among three types: BREST, SVBR and continuing R&D on sodium cooled types.

The FTP involved plans to build and commission a commercial complex to fabricate dense fuel, to complete construction of a pilot demonstration pyrochemical complex to fabricate BN fuel, and to test closed fuel cycle technologies. Fusion studies are included and the total R&D budget is RUR 55.7 billion, mostly from the federal budget. The FTP implementation is intended to result in a 70% growth in exports of high technology equipment, works and services rendered by the Russian nuclear industry by 2020. In 2012 the head of Rosatom said that the FTP was being accelerated to bring forward development and have a full range of fast reactor technologies with associated fuel cycles operating by 2020. Rosatom's R&D budget would be almost doubled by then to achieve this.

The FTP implementation will enable commercializing new fast neutron reactors for Russia to build over 2020-2030. Rosatom's long-term strategy up to 2050 involves moving to inherently safe nuclear plants using fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle and MOX or nitride fuel.

Federal target programme funding for fast neutron reactors to 2020

cooling Demonstration reactor timing Construction RUR billion R&D RUR billion Total RUR billion
Pb-Bi cooled SVBR 100 MWe by 2017 10.153 3.075 13.228
Na cooled (BN-600, BN-800) to 2016 0 5.366 5.366
Pb cooled BREST 300 MWe 2016-22 15.555 10.143 25.698
multiple MBIR 150 MWt 2015-20 11.390 5.042 16.432
  Total:   37.1   60.7

Source: Government decree #50, 2010. Mosr (RUR 9.5 billion) of the funding for SVBR construction is from "other sources". The 2020 timeline has stretched to at least 2022.

BREST-300 Seversk

In September 2012 Rosatom announced that a pilot demonstration BREST-300 fast reactor with associated fuel cycle facilities including dense nitride fuel fabrication would be built at the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk, near Tomsk. A construction schedule was presented at a Proryv (breakthrough) Project meeting at SCC in March 2013. The State Environmental Commission of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor) issued a positive statement on the construction licence application package for the pilot demonstration power complex (PDPC) and fuel fabrication module in June 2014, and Rostechnadzor issued a licence in 2014. NIKIET finished the BREST design in 2014, and working documentation for preparation of the site and construction of the reactor will be prepared in 2016, along with a preliminary report on the safety aspects of the project. Atomproekt is the general designer. A government decree in August 2016 ordered construction by 2025. If it is successful as a 300 MWe unit, a 1200 MWe (2800 MWt) version will follow. The PDPC comprises three phases: the fuel fabrication/re-fabrication module, a nuclear power plant with BREST-OD-300 reactor, and used nuclear fuel reprocessing module. In April 2014 the fuel fabrication/re-fabrication module was approved by the State Expert Review Authority of Russia (Glavgosekspertiza).

Proceeding with the project depended on successful testing of the nitride fuel in the BN-600 reactor from the end of 2013. The reactor commissioning is expected in 2022. RUR 25 billion ($809 million) has been budgeted for the reactor and RUR 17 billion ($550 million) for the fuel cycle facilities, though it appears that only RUR 15.555 billion would come from the federal budget. Project financing of RUR 6.6 billion was budgeted for 2015 (including RUR 4.8 billion from the federal budget and RUR 1.8bn from other sources). The total PDPF investment is expected to be over RUR 64 billion.

MBIR

Design of the 150 MWt multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (mnogotselevoy issledovatilskiy reaktor na bystrych neytronach, MBIR) was finalised in 2014 by NIKIET and the equipment contract let to Atomenergomash-Technologies. Rostechnadzor issued a site licence in 2014, a construction licence in May 2015, and construction started in September 2015. The total project cost was then quoted as RUR 40-41 billion, with some of this expected from investors. Completion is expected in 2020 at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR or NIIAR) in Dimitrovgrad, as part of the Nuclear Innovation Cluster there. General design contractor is JSC Atomproekt (St Petersburg), general contractor (civil works) is Uralenergostroy (Yekaterinburg), and scientific adviser is State Scientific Centre IPPE (Obninsk).

MBIR will be a multi-loop research reactor capable of testing lead, lead-bismuth and gas coolants as well as sodium, and running on MOX fuel. It will be part of an international research centre at RIAR’s site and IAEA is expected to sign an agreement on the MBIR International Research Centre in September 2016. The project is open to foreign collaboration, in connection with the IAEA INPRO program. MBIR will replace the BOR-60 fast research reactor. See also R&D section in the information paper on Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle.

Aluminium and nuclear power

In 2006 the major aluminium producer SUAL (which in March 2007 became part of RUSAL) signed an agreement with Rosatom to support investment in new nuclear capacity at Kola, to power expanded aluminium smelting there from 2013. Four units totalling 1000 MWe were envisaged for Kola stage 2 underpinned by a 25-year contract with SUAL, but economic feasibility is in doubt and the project appears to have been dropped and replaced by two others.

Since 2007 Rosatom and RUSAL, now the world's largest aluminium and alumina producer, have been undertaking a feasibility study on a nuclear power generation and aluminium smelter at Primorye in Russia's far east. This proposal is taking shape as a US$ 10 billion project involving four 1000 MWe reactors and a 600,000 t/yr smelter with Atomstroyexport having a controlling share in the nuclear side. The smelter would require about one third of the output from 4 GWe, and electricity exports to China and North and South Korea are envisaged.

In October 2007 a $8 billion project was announced for the world's biggest aluminium smelter at Balakovo in the Saratov region, complete with two new nuclear reactors to power it. The 1.05 million tonne per year aluminium smelter is to be built by RUSAL and would require about 15 billion kWh/yr. The initial plan was for the existing Balakovo nuclear power plant of four 950 MWe reactors to be expanded with two more, already partly constructed* – the smelter would require a little over one-third of the output of the expanded power plant. However, in February 2010 it was reported that RUSAL proposed to build its own 2000 MWe nuclear power station, Balakovo AES2, with construction to start in 2011. The overall budget for the energy and metals complex was estimated by the Minister of Investment in the Saratov District to be about $12 billion. Land has been allotted for the project and design has commenced. Aluminium smelting is energy-intensive and requires reliable low-cost electricity to be competitive. Increasingly it is also carbon-constrained – this smelter will emit about 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year just from anode consumption.

* Construction of Phase II of Balakovo plant, started in 1987, was stopped in 1992. At that time, unit 5 was 60% complete and unit 6 was 15% – both VVER-1000. From mid 2000 Rosenergoatom prepared Balakovo II for construction completion. However, then Rusal decided against the plan, and in 2009 Rosatom announced freezing the project. In 2015 it called for bids to mothball the project by 2019.

RUSAL announced an agreement with the regional government which would become effective when the nuclear plant expansion is approved by Rosatom or an alternative is agreed. Balakovo units 5&6 have been listed as prospective for some time but were dropped off the 2007-08 Rosatom plan for completing 26 new power reactors by 2020 as they were low priority for UES grid supply. Balakovo is on the Volga River 800 km SE of Moscow.

Meanwhile, and relevant to these proposals, in 2011 Renova's Integrated Energy Systems (IES) Holding, Russia’s largest privately-owned power producer and supplier, agreed to sell its 141 MWe Bogoslovskaya CHP plant to RUSAL in mid-2012, along with the rights to develop a new 230 MWe combined cycle gas turbine unit at the plant, in the central region of Sverdlovsk. This deal, along with another for a supply contract from the Federal Grid Company, enables RUSAL's Bogoslovosk smelter to continue operating. These arrangements were made at presidential level, and will absolve the Bogoslovskaya smelter from paying the cross-subsidy from industrial consumers to other electricity users that is inherent in the general distribution tariff.

In 2015 RUSAL’s plans for Balakovo and Primorye smelters were on hold.

Nuclear icebreakers and merchant ship

Nuclear propulsion has proven technically and economically essential in the Russian Arctic where operating conditions are beyond the capability of conventional icebreakers. The power levels required for breaking ice up to 3 metres thick, coupled with refuelling difficulties for other types of vessels, are significant factors. The nuclear fleet has increased Arctic navigation on the Northern Sea Route (NSR) from two to ten months per year, and in the Western Arctic, to year-round. Greater use of the icebreaker fleet is expected with developments on the Yamal Peninsula and further east. For instance the Yamal LNG project is expected to need 200 shipping movements per year from Sabetta at the mouth of the Ob River. The fleet is operated by Atomflot, a Rosatom division, and is commercially vital to northern mineral and oil/gas developments. The newest icebreakers being built have 34-metre beam, able to open a path for large ships.

The icebreaker Lenin was the world’s first nuclear-powered surface vessel (20,000 dwt) and remained in service for 30 years (1959-89), though new reactors were fitted in 1970.

It led to a series of larger icebreakers, the six 23,500 dwt Arktika-class, launched from 1975. These powerful vessels have two 171 MWt OK-900 reactors delivering 54 MW at the propellers and are used in deep Arctic waters. The Arktika was the first surface vessel to reach the North Pole, in 1977. The seventh and largest Arktika class icebreaker – 50 Years of Victory (50 Let Pobedy) entered service in 2007. It is 25,800 dwt, 160 m long and 20m wide, and is designed to break through ice up to 2.8 metres thick. Its performance in service has been impressive.

For use in shallow waters such as estuaries and rivers, two shallow-draught Taymyr-class icebreakers of 18,260 dwt with one reactor delivering 35 MW were built in Finland and then fitted with their nuclear steam supply system in Russia. They are built to conform with international safety standards for nuclear vessels and were launched from 1989.

Larger third-generation 'universal' LK-60 icebreakers are being built as dual-draught (8.55 or 10.5m) wide-beam (34m) ships of 25,450 dwt or 33,540 dwt with ballast, able to handle three metres of ice. In August 2012 the United Shipbuilding Corporation won the contract for the first new-generation LK-60 icebreaker powered by two RITM-200 reactors of 175 MWt each, delivering 60 MW at the propellers via twin turbine-generators and three motors. They would be built by subsidiary Baltijsky Zavod Shipbuilding. Rosatomflot expects to have the pilot version commissioned in 2018 at a cost of RUR 37 billion. In January 2013 Rosatom called for bids to build two more of these universal icebreaker vessels (project 22220), for delivery in 2019 and 2020, and in May 2104 a contract for RUR 84.4 billion ($2.4 billion) was signed with USC, the vessels to be built at the same shipyard. In August 2013 Rostechnadzor licensed Baltijsky Zavod Shipbuilding to install the RITM-200 reactor units from OKBM Afrikantov for the pilot model. The keel of Arctica was laid in November 2013, and that of Sibir in May 2015.

A more powerful LC-110 icebreaker of 110 MW net and 55,600 dwt is planned, to be capable of breaking through ice up to 4.5 m thick. The first vessel will be the Leader with 50 m beam to match large tankers.

LK-60
Diagram of LK-60 icebreaker (Source: Rosatom)

In 1988 the NS Sevmorput was commissioned in Russia, mainly to serve northern Siberian ports. It is a 61,900 tonne 260 m long lash-carrier (taking lighters to ports with shallow water) and container ship with ice-breaking bow. It is powered by the same KLT-40 reactor as used in larger icebreakers, delivering 32.5 propeller MW from the 135 MWt reactor and it needed refuelling only once to 2003.

Russian experience with nuclear powered Arctic ships totals about 300 reactor-years in 2009. In 2008 the Arctic fleet was transferred from the Murmansk Shipping Company under the Ministry of Transport to FSUE Atomflot, under Rosatom.

Floating nuclear power plants

Rosatom was planning to build seven or eight floating nuclear power plants by 2015. The first of them was to be constructed and tehn remain at Severodvinsk with intended completion in 2010, but plans changed. Each FNPP has two 35 MWe KLT-40S nuclear reactors. (If primarily for desalination this set-up is known as APVS-80.) The operating life is envisaged as 38 years: three 12-year campaigns with a year's maintenance outage in between.

A decision to commit to building a series was envisaged in 2014 when the first is near commissioning. The actual hulls might be built in South Korea or China, and fitted out in Russia. Rosenergoatom earlier signed an agreement with JSC Kirov Factory to build further units, and Kirov subsidiary Kirov Energomash was expected to be the main non-nuclear contractor on these.

The keel of the first floating nuclear power plant (FNPP), named Academician Lomonosov, was laid in April 2007 at Sevmash in Severodvinsk, but in August 2008 Rosatom cancelled the contract (apparently due to the military workload at Sevmash) and transferred it to the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard at St Petersburg, which has experience in building nuclear icebreakers. After signing a new RUR 9.98 billion contract in February, new keel-laying took place in May 2009 and the two reactors were delivered from OKBM Afrikantov by August. The 21,500 tonne hull (144 metres long, 30 m wide) was launched at the end of June 2010 and started mooring tests in mid-2016.

Plans for Floating Nuclear Power Plants map


The site originally planned for its deployment was Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka peninsula, to ensure sustainable electricity and heat supplies to the naval base there. Completion and towing to the site is expected in 2012 and grid connection in 2013, but due to insolvency of the shipyard JSC Baltijsky Zavod* and ensuing legal processes it is delayed considerably. Barely any work was done over 2011-12 after some RUR 2 billion allocated to finance the construction apparently disappeared. The state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation acquired the shipyard in 2012 and a new contract with Baltijsky Zavod-Sudostroyeniye (BZS), the successor of the bankrupt namesake, was signed in December 2012. The cost of completing the FNPP was then put at RUR 7.631 billion ($248 million). The two reactors were installed in October 2013.

* a subsidiary of privately-owned United Industrial Corporation.

The reactor assembling and acceptance tests were carried out at Nizhniy Novgorod Machine Engineering Plant (NMZ). Three companies had contributed: OKBM (development of design and technical follow-up of the manufacture and testing), Izhorskiye Zavody (manufacture of the reactor pressure vessel), and NMZ (manufacture of component parts and reactor assembling).

Rosenergoatom now hopes to take delivery in November 2017 and deliver it to Pevek in 2018 for commissioning on site in 2019. In June 2009 Rostechnadzor approved the environmental review for the siting licence for the facility, as well as the justification of investment in it. In September 2015 Rosatom signed a cooperation agreement with the government of the Chukotka Autonomous District for power sector development around the Chaun-Bilibino Energy Hub, including installation of the first FNPP at Pevek. Construction of onshore facilities for the plant are due in 2016, and the plant is due to be commissioned in 2019. It is now being called a floating nuclear cogeneration plant (FNCP) or floating nuclear power unit (FPU).

Pevek on the Chukotka peninsula in the Chaun district of the far northeast, near Bilibino, was originally planned as the site for the second FNPP, to replace the Bilibino nuclear plant and a 35 MWe thermal plant as a major component of the Chaun-Bilibino industrial hub. However, at the end of 2012 the Ministries of Defence, Energy and Industry agreed to make Pevek the site for the delayed first FNPP unit, the Academician Lomonosov. Roesenergoatom said that the tariff revenue of Chukotka made it more attractive than the Vilyuchinsk naval base, which is expected to have natural gas connected in 2014.

However, total estimated costs increased to RUR 37 billion ($740 million) at May 2015, partly due to factoring in the required site works and infrastructure. The government is contributing to this coastal infrastructure, with RUR 5 billion over 2016-20. The pilot FNPP itself is costing Rosenergoatom RUR 21.5 billion, and it expects the second one to be about RUR 18 billion.

The third site is Chersky or Sakha in Yakutia. In June 2010 a "roadmap" for deployment of up to eight further FNPPs was expected, on the occasion of launching the barge for the first, but it has not appeared. As of early 2009, four floating plants were designated for northern Yakutia in connection with the Elkon uranium mining project in southern Yakutia, and in 2007 an agreement was signed with the Sakha Republic (northeast Yakutia region) to build one of them, using smaller ABV-6 reactors. Five were intended for use by Gazprom for offshore oil and gas field development and for operations on the Kola peninsula near Finland and the Yamal peninsula in central Siberia. There is also perceived to be considerable export potential for the FNPPs, on a fully-serviced basis. Electricity cost is expected to be much lower than from present alternatives.

In May 2014 the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) signed an agreement with Rosatom to cooperate in construction of floating nuclear cogeneration plants for China offshore islands. These would be built in China but be based on Russian technology, and possibly using Russian KLT-40S reactors. In August 2015 Rosatom and Indonesia’s BATAN signed a cooperation agreement on construction of FNPPs.

The larger end of the Russian FNPP range would use a pair of 325 MWe VBER-300 reactors on a 49,000 tonne barge, and a smaller one could use a pair of RITM-200 reactors on a 17,500 t barge, as successor to the KLT-40. ATETs-80 and ATETs-200 are twin-reactor cogeneration units using KLT-40 and may be floating or land-based. The former produces 85 MWe plus 120,000 m3/day of potable water.

The small ABV-6 reactor is 38 MW thermal and a pair mounted on a 97-metre, 8700 tonne barge is known as Volnolom floating NPP, producing 12-18 MWe plus 40,000 m3/day of potable water by reverse osmosis.

As well as FNPPs, NIKIET is developing a sunken power plant which will sit on the sea bed supplying electricity for Arctic oil and gas development. This is SHELF, 6 MWe integral PWR. Details in the R&D section of the paper on Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle.

Heating

In addition, 5 GW of thermal power plants (mostly AST-500 integral PWR type) for district and industrial heat will be constructed at Arkhangelsk (4 VK-300 units commissioned to 2016), Voronezh (2 units 2012-18), Saratov, Dimitrovgrad and (small-scale, KLT-40 type PWR) at Chukoyka and Severodvinsk. Russian nuclear plants provided 11.4 PJ of district heating in 2005, and this is expected to increase to 30.8 PJ by about 2010. (A 1000 MWe reactor produces about 95 PJ per year internally to generate the electricity.)

Heavy engineering and turbine generators

The main reactor component supplier is OMZ's Komplekt-Atom-Izhora facility which is doubling the production of large forgings so as to be able to manufacture three or four pressure vessels per year from 2011. OMZ subsidiary Izhorskiye Zavody is expected to produce the forgings for all new domestic AES-2006 model VVER-1200 nuclear reactors (four per year from 2016) plus exports. At present Izhora can produce the heavy high-quality forgings required for Russia's VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors at the rate of two per year. These forgings include reactor pressure vessels, steam generators, and heavy piping. In 2008 the company rebuilt its 12,000 tonne hydraulic press, claimed to be the largest in Europe, and a second stage of work will increase that capacity to 15,000 tonnes.

In May 2012 Rosenergoatom said that reactor pressure vessels for its VVER-TOI reactors would be made by both Izhorskiye Zavody and the Ukrainian works Energomashspetsstal (EMSS) with Russian Petrozavodskmash. In mid-2015 Rosatom announced that a new nickel-alloy steel coupled with larger (4.2m) diameter pressure vessel would mean that the VVER-TOI should have a 120-year operational life. A 420-tonne ingot had been forged into one of these by OMZ-Spetsstal in December 2014. The new alloy was developed at Atomenergomash’s Central Research Institute for Machine Building Technology (CNIITMASH).

Petrozavodskmash makes steam generators and has the contract for RPV and various internals for Baltic 1 reactor. Izhorskiye Zavody was expected to supply these components for unit 2.

ZiO-Podolsk also makes steam generators, including those for Belene/ Kozloduy 7.

Turbine generators for the new plants are mainly from Power Machines (Silovye Mashiny – Silmash) subsidiary LMZ, which has six orders for high-speed (3000 rpm) turbines: four of 1200 MWe for Novovoronezh and Leningrad, plus smaller ones for Kalinin and Beloyarsk. The company plans also to offer 1200 MWe low-speed (1500 rpm) turbine generators from 2014, and is investing RUB 6 billion in a factory near St Petersburg to produce these. Silmash is 26% owned by Siemens.

Alstom Atomenergomash (AAEM) is a joint venture between French turbine manufacturer Alstom and Atomenergomash (AEM, an AEP subsidiary), which will produce low-speed turbine generators based on Alstom's Arabelle design, sized from 1200 to 1800 MWe. The Baltic plant will be the first customer, in a RUB 35 billion order, with Russian content about 50%. This will increase to over 70% for subsequent projects. It will produce the Arabelle units at AEM's newly-acquired Atommash plant at Volgodonsk for delivery in 2015.

Ukraine's Turboatom is offering a 1250 MWe low-speed turbine generator for the VVER-TOI. Rosenergoatom says it insists on having at least two turbine vendors, and prefers three.

Reactor technology

In September 2006 the technology future for Russia was focused on four elements:

  • Serial construction of AES-2006 units, with increased service life to 60 years,
  • Fast breeder BN-800,
  • Small and medium reactors – KLT-40 and VBER-300,
  • High temperature reactors (HTR).

Since 2006 the SVBR-100 has come to the fore, and HTRs disappeared from the news.

VVER-1000, AES-92, AES-91

The main reactor design being deployed until now has been the V-320 version of the VVER-1000 pressurised water reactor with 950-1000 MWe net output. It is from OKB Gidropress (Experimental Design Bureau Hydropress), has 30-year basic design life and dates from the 1980s. A later version of this for export is the V-392, with enhanced safety and seismic features, as the basis of the AES-92 power plant. All models have four coolant loops, with horizontal steam generators. Maximum burn-up is 60 GWd/tU. VVER stands for water-cooled, water-moderated energy reactor.

Advanced versions of this VVER-1000 with western instrument and control systems have been built at Tianwan in China and are being built at Kudankulam in India - as AES-91 and AES-92 nuclear power plants respectively. The former was bid for Finland in 2002 and for Sanmen and Yangjiang in China in 2005, while the AES-92 was accepted for Belene in Bulgaria in 2006. These have 40-year design life. (Major components of the two designs are the same except for slightly taller pressure vessel in AES-91, but cooling and safety systems differ. The AES-92 has greater passive safety features features – 12 heat exchangers for passive decay heat removal; the AES-91 has extra seismic protection. The V-428 in the AES-91 is the first Russian reactor to have a core-catcher, V-412 in AES-92 also has core catcher.)

VVER-1200, AES-2006, MIR-1200

Development of a third-generation standardised VVER-1200 reactor of about 1170 MWe net folloowed, as the basis of the AES-2006 power plant. Rosatom drew upon Gidropress, OKBM, Kurchatov Institute, Rosenergoatom, Atomstroyexport, three Atomenergoproekt outfits, VNIINPP and others. Two design streams emerged: one from Atomproekt in St Petersburg with V-491 reactor, and one from Atomenergoproekt in Moscow with V-392M reactor.

The V-491 provides about 1170 MWe gross, 1085 net, and the V-392M provides about 1199 MWe gross, 1114 net, both from 3200 MWt, along with about 300 MWt for district heating. This is an evolutionary development of the well-proven VVER-1000/V-320 and then the third-generation V-392 in the AES-92 plant (or the AES-91 for Atomproekt version), with longer life (60 years for non-replaceable equipment, not 30), greater power, and greater thermal efficiency (34.8% net instead of 31.6%). Compared with the V-392, it has the same number of fuel assemblies (163) but a wider pressure vessel, slightly higher operating pressure and temperature (329ºC outlet), and higher burn-up (up to 70 GWd/t). It retains four coolant loops. Refueling cycle is up to 24 months. Core catchers filled with non-metallic materials are under the pressure vessels. Construction time for serial units is "no more than 54 months".

The lead units are being built at Novovoronezh II (V-392M), starting operation in 2016, and at Leningrad II (V-491) for 2017-18. Both plants will use Areva's Teleperm safety instrument and control systems. Atomproekt’s Leningrad II with V-491 reactor is quoted as the reference plant for further units at Tianwan in China. The two AES-2006 plants are very similar apart from safety systems configuration. They are expected to run for 60 years with capacity factor of 92%, and probably with Silmash turbine generators. Capital cost was said to be US$ 1200/kW (though the first contract of them is more like $2100/kW) and construction time 54 months. They have enhanced safety including that related to earthquakes and aircraft impact with some passive safety features and double containment. However, it appears that only six will be built domestically – two V-392M and four V-491, before moving on to the VVER-TOI, with potential for international design certification.

For the Novovoronezh V-392M units Atomernergoproekt Moscow has installed what it calls dry protection, a 144-tonne structure surrounding the reactor core that reduces emission of radiation and heat. It consists of a steel cylinder with double walls, 7m diameter, with the space between them filled with specially formulated concrete. This gives it better aircraft crash resistance than V-491. They have passive decay heat removal by air circulation.

Atomproekt’s Leningrad V-491 units have four trains of active safety systems, with water tanks high up in the structure to provide water cooling for decay heat, and is more suited to Finland and central Europe rather than seismic sites (DBGM is only 250 Gal). Atomproekt’s AES-2006 has two steam turbine variants: Russian Silmash high-speed version for Russia, or Alstom Arabelle low-speed turbine as proposed for Hanhikivi and MIR-1200 (Silmash plans to produce low-speed turbines from 2014).

For Europe, the basic Atomproekt V-491 St Petersburg version has been slightly modified by Atomproekt as the MIR-1200 (Modernized International Reactor), and bid for Temelin 3&4. It is also selected for Hanhikivi in Finland, as AES-2006 E, with "extended list of accidents and external impacts" including higher seismic tolerance. As of late 2014 Gidropress still designated the reactor unit V-491.

VVER-TOI

A further evolution, or finessing, of Moscow Atomenergoproekt’s version of the AES-2006 power plant with the V-392M reactor is the VVER-TOI (typical optimized, with enhanced information) design for the AES-2010 plant, the VVER-1300 reactor being designated V-510 by Gidropress. Rosatom says that this is planned to be standard for new projects in Russia and worldwide, with minor variations (such as the cheaper VVER-1300A). It has an upgraded pressure vessel with four welds rather than six, and will use a new steel which “removes nearly all limitations on RPV operation in terms of radiation embrittlement of metal”, making possible a service life of more than 60 years with 70 GWd/t fuel burn-up and 18 to 24-month fuel cycle. It has increased power to 3300 MWt, 1255 MWe gross (nominally 1300), improved core design still with 163 fuel assemblies to increase cooling reliability, larger steam generators, further development of passive safety with at least 72-hour grace period requiring no operator intervention after shutdown, lower construction and operating costs, and 40-month construction time. It is claimed to require only 130-135 tonnes of natural uranium (compared with typical 190 tU now) per gigawatt year. It will use a low-speed turbine-generator.

The project was initiated in 2009 and the completed design was presented to the customer, Rosenergoatom at the end of 2012. The design aim was to try and save 20% of the cost. It was submitted to Rostechnadzor in 2013 for licensing, with a view to subsequent international certification in accordance with EUR requirements as the standard future export model. EUR approval is seen as basic in many markets, notably China. In 2012 Rosatom announced that it intended to apply for UK design certification for the VVER-TOI design with a view to Rusatom Overseas building them in UK. This application was expected in 2015, in conjunction with Rolls-Royce.

It appears the first units will be at Kursk, then Akkuyu in Turkey, then Tsentral, Smolensk and Nizhny Novgorod. In June 2012 Rosatom said it would apply for VVER-1200 design certification in UK and USA, through Rusatom Overseas, with the VVER-TOI version. Development involved OKB Gidropress (chief designer), NRC Kurchatov Institute (scientific supervisor), All-Russian Scientific and Research Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operation (VNIIAES – architect-engineer), and NIAEP-ASE jointly with Alstom (turbine island designer). V-509 and V-513 reactors are variants of V-510, the V-513 as VVER-1200.

VVER-1300A

This is presented as a cheaper variant of the VVER-TOI/V-510 reactor, and has two new PGV-1300A steam generators, decreased metal content and decreased containment diameter. It is under active development as a variant of VVER-TOI.

A Rosenergoatom account of the safety features of the reactor is on the Nuclear Engineering International website, and Gidropress account.

Russian PWR nuclear power reactors*

Generic reactor type Reactor plant model Whole power plant
VBER-300   (under development) OKBM, 325 MWe gross, based on KLT-40
VVER-210 V-1 prototype VVER, Novovoronezh 1
VVER-365 V-3M Novovoronezh 2
VVER-440 V-179 Novovoronezh 3-4, prototype VVER-440
V-230 Kola 1-2, EU units closed down
V-270 Armenia 1-2, based on V-230
V-213 Kola 3-4, Rovno 1-2, Loviisa, Paks, Dukovany, Bohunice V2, Mochovce
V-318 Cuba, based on V-213, full containment & ECCS
VVER-640 V-407 (under development), Gen III+, Gidropress
VVER-300 V-478 (under development, based on V-407), Gen III+, Gidropress
VVER-600 V-498 (under development by Gidropress, based on V-491), Gen III+, proposed for Kola, Baltic
VVER-1000 V-187 Novovoronezh 5, prototype VVER-1000
V-302 South Ukraine 1
V-320 most Russian & Ukraine plants, Kozloduy 5-6, Temelin 1-2
V-338 Kalinin 1-2, South Ukraine 2
V-446 based on V-392, adapted to previous Siemens work, Bushehr 1
V-413 AES-91
V-428 AES-91 Tianwan and Vietnam proposal, based on V-392, Gen III
V-428M Tianwan 4&5, later version
V-412 AES-92 Kudankulam, based on V-392, Gen III
V-392 AES-92 – meets EUR standards, Armenia, Khmelnitsky 3-4, Gen III
V-392B AES-92
V-466 AES-91/99 Olkiluoto bid, also Sanmen, developed from V-428, Gen III
V-466B AES-92 Belene/Kozloduy 7, Bushehr 2-3, Jordan?, developed from V-412 & V-466, 60-year lifetime, 1060 MWe gross, Gen III, Gidropress
VVER-1200 V-392M AES-2006 by Moscow AEP and Gidropress, Novovoronezh, Rooppur, Akkuyu; Developed from V-392 and V-412, Gen III+, 1170 MWe gross, more passive safety than V-491, developed to VVER-TOI.
V-491 AES-2006 Leningrad, Baltic, Belarus, Tianwan 7&8, Ninh Thuan 1; developed from AES-91 V-428 by Atomproekt and Gidropress, Gen III+, 1170 MWe gross, developed to MIR-1200 for EUR Temelin bid.
  V-510 Gen III+, AES-2010, VVER-TOI, 1250 MWe gross, developed by Moscow AEP from V-392M, Nizhny Novgorod, Kursk II, Smolensk II, Central, Tatar
  V-509 Akkuyu version of VVER, based on Novovoronezh
  V-513 Upgraded V-392M, VVER-TOI
  V-522 Hanhikivi version of VVER-1200/V-491 AES-2006E
  V-527 Paks II version of VVER-1200/V-491 AES-2006E
  V-529 El Dabaa version of VVER-1200/V-491 AES-2006E
VVER-1200A V-501 Concept proposal AES-2006, but two-loop, shelved in 2011
VVER-1300 V-488 AES-2006M, developmental model, Gen III+, Gidropress
VVER-1300A   Cheaper variant of VVER-TOI
VVER-1500 V-448 Gidropress, Gen III+, shelved in 2006
VVER-1800   (concept proposal) three loops, based on 1300A and 1500
VVER-SCP V-393 being developed, Supercritical, Gen IV

AES=NPP. Early V numbers referred to models which were widely built in several countries, eg V-230, V-320. Then the V-392 seemed to be a general export version of the V-320. Later V numbers are fairly project-specific. Broadly the first digit of the number is the VVER generation, the second is the reactor system and the third – and any suffix – relates to the building.
Generation III or III+ ratings are as advised by Gidropress, but not necessarily accepted internationally.

* V-392M has two active safety channels, while V-491 has four, and turbine hall layouts are also different. In the V-392M there is a focus placed on avoidance of redundancy, aiming at higher cost-effectiveness of the plant construction and operation. Both V-392M and V-491 designs include a common emergency core cooling system (ECCS) passive section, but in the V-392M the ECCS active section is represented by a combined two-channel high and low pressure system, while the V-491 utilizes a segregated four-channel high and low pressure system. The V-392M design features a closed two-channel steam generator emergency cool-down system, whereas the V491 uses a traditional four-channel emergency feedwater system. To mitigate consequences of beyond design basis accidents involving total loss of AC power sources, both designs use a passive heat removal system, which is air-cooled in the V-392M and water-cooled in the V-491. Additionally, the V-392M design is fitted with a four-channel emergency passive core flooding system.

While Gidropress is responsible for the actual 1200 MWe reactor, Moscow AEP and Atomproekt St Petersburg are going different ways on the cooling systems, and one or the other may be chosen for future plants once Leningrad II and Novovoronezh II are operating. Passive safety systems prevail in Moscow’s V-392M design, while St Petersburg’s V-491 design focuses on active safety systems based on Tianwan V-428 design.

For the immediate future, Gidropress shows the VVER-1200/V-392M and V-491 reactors evolving into VVER-1300/V-488 (in AES-2006M power plant) four-loop versions, and into the VVER-1200A/V-501 (similar, but two-loop design) reactors, though the latter has been shelved. This then evolves to the VVER-1800 with three loops. The AES-2006M has an uprated VVER-1200 with less conservative design and new steam generators, giving it 1300 MWe. The VVER-1200A/V-501 was expected to have lower construction cost, but now a VVER-1300A seems to fill this role. The four-loop VVER-1200 also evolves to the half-sized VVER-600 with only two loops.

VVER-600

Since 2008 OKB Gidropress with SPb AEP and Kurchatov Institute has also been developing a two-loop VVER-600 (project V-498) from V-491 (1200 MWe, four-loop), using the same basic equipment but no core catcher (corium retained in RPV), as a Generation III+ type. In December 2011 Gidropress signed a contract with the Design and Engineering Branch of Rosenergoatom for R&D related to the VVER-600 reactor, though this was not part of any federal Rosatom program. Gidropress presented the design to Rosenergoatom in February 2013, saying a project package could be ready in two years. It will be capable of load-following, and have a 60-year life. Rosenergoatom has been considering it for the Baltic plant site as a straightforward option to replace the 1200 MWe units, and it is now planned for Kola. It has high export potential, and Gidropress, NIAEP and Kurchatov have been progressing it slowly. The VVER-600 supercedes the VVER-640 in Gidropress plans.*

* The VVER-640 (V-407), an 1800 MWt, 640 MWe design originally developed by Gidropress jointly with Siemens. It had advanced safety features (passive safety systems). After apparently beginning construction of the first at Sosnovy Bor, funds ran out and it disappeared from plans. However, it came back on the drawing boards, now as a Generation III+ type, with four cooling loops, low power density, low-enriched fuel (3.6%), passive safety systems, 33.6% thermal efficiency and only 45 GWd/t burn-up. In March 2013 SPbAEP (merged with VNIPIET to become Atomproekt) said that subject to Rosatom approval it could have a VVER-640 project ready to go possibly at the Kola site by the end of 2014. The project partners – Atomenergomash, OKB Gidropress, Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (CDBME) of the Russian Shipbuilding Agency, OMZ’s Izhorskiye Zavody, Kurchatov Institute, and VNIPIET – “confirmed its readiness for updating aiming at commercialization.” In May 2013 Atomenergoproekt said it has already been discussing with VNIPIET the feasibility and practicability of using the VVER-640 project “as the starting point for the development of next-generation medium-power nuclear power plants, including with the use of passive safety systems.”

VVER-1500

About 2005 Rosatom (the Federal Atomic Energy Agency) promoted the basic design for VVER-1500 pressurised water reactors by Gidropress as a priority. Design was expected to be complete in 2007, but the project was shelved in 2006. It was a four-loop design, 42,350 MWt producing 1500 MWe gross, with increased pressure vessel diameter to 5 metres, 241 fuel assemblies in core enriched to 4.4%, burn-up up 45-55 and up to 60 GWd/t and life of 60 years. If revived, it will be a Generation III+ model meeting EUR criteria.

VVER-1800

This is a development of the VVER-1300A, but with three loops, using steam generators and circulation pumps from it, and reactor pressure vessel and internals from VVER-1500, which it supercedes. However, development is paused.

VVER-SKD-1700

A Generation IV Gidropress project in collaboration with the Generation IV International Forum is the supercritical VVER (VVER-SKD or VVER-SCWR) with higher thermodynamic efficiency (45%) and higher breeding ratio (0.95) and oriented towards the closed fuel cycle. Focus is on structural materials and fuels. The main version is 3830 MWt, 1700 MWe, with 540°C operating temperature. The SPA Central Research Institute of Machine Engineering Technology (TsNIITMASH) in Moscow and OKB Giidropress are involved in the draft proposals. OKB Gidropress says that “Such reactors are expected to increase significantly thermal energy conversion efficiency, move to the fast neutron spectrum in the reactor core and, by thus, substantially improve parameters of breeding of the secondary nuclear fuel in the reactor.” Also referred to as VVER-1700, V-393. Rosatom is reported to be developing it to a full design and bidding to build a prototype ahead of other SCWR designs in Europe, Canada, China and Japan.

A PSKD-600 fast reactor version (1430 MWt, 600 MWe) is also being developed, with primary circuit temperature of 500°C, hence also a secondary steam circuit, and breeding ratio >1.

VVER-I

The VVER-I is a range of small modular reactors under development, with integral steam generators. It is proposed to be built at a central factory and then transported by ship, rail and road to the construction site with a high degree of modularization. There are three planned sizes of 100, 200 and 300 MWe (VVER-I-200, etc). Gidropress quotes $5000/kW construction cost for VVER-I-200.

VVER with spectral core

As a step in the direction of breeder reactors and to obtain better fuel utilisation, Gidropress has a VVER-S project with spectral core control, changing the neutron spectrum by having removable diplacers (e.g. 13) in each fuel assembly (in 132 fuel assemblies out of 241 in a 3300 MWt reactor). Spectral regulation is achieved by changing the water-uranium ratio in the process of fuel burn-up. Compensating for burn-up using burnable poisons is minimised and is replaced by the shift of neutron spectrum. Fresh fuel has the so-called displacers in each assembly to decrease the moderator (water) quantity in the core and making more of a fast neutron spectrum, which decreases the reactivity coefficient and increases the breeding ratio of nuclear fuel (in contrast to the regulation with boron in the water or burnable poisons).

As burn-up proceeds and fission products build up, reducing the breeding ratio, the displacers are gradually extracted, which increases the water-uranium ratio and slows the neutron spectrum to near thermal. This makes it possible to use the Pu-239 and Pu-241 isotopes, effectively accumulated in the ‘rigid’ spectrum from the U-238. Water-uranium ratio in the core is about 1.5 at start of cycle and about 2.0 at end.

Fast reactors

For context, see also above section on Transition to Fast Reactors.

The BN-800 fast neutron (bystry neutron) reactor from OKBM Afrikantov and Atomproekt being built at Beloyarsk was designed to supersede the BN-600 unit there and utilise MOX fuel with both reactor-grade and weapons plutonium. It is 2100 MWt, 864 MWe gross, 789 MWe net, and have fuel burn-up of 66 GWd/t, increasing to 100 GWd/t. Further BN-800 units were planned.

The BN-1200 is designed by OKBM for operation with MOX fuel from 2020 and dense nitride U-Pu fuel subsequently, in closed fuel cycle. Rosatom plans to submit the BN-1200 to the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) as a Generation IV design. The BN-1200 will produce 2900 MWt (1220 MWe), has a 60-year design life, simplified refuelling, and burn-up of up to 120 GWd/t. The capital cost is expected to be much the same as VVER-TOI, though economic evaluation continued in 2015. Design is expected to be complete in 2016 and the first unit could be commissioned in 2025. It is intended to produce electricity at RUR 0.65/kWh (US 2.23 cents/kWh). This is part of a federal Rosatom program, the Proryv (Breakthrough) Project for large fast neutron reactors.

A BN-1800 was briefly under development.

Fast reactors represent a technological advantage for Russia and the BN-800 has been picked up by China. There is also significant export or collaborative potential with Japan. In February 2010 a government decree allocated RUR 5.37 billion funding for sodium-cooled fast reactor development. In late 2012 Rosatom said that it plans to make available its experimental facilities for use as part of the GIF, including specifically large physical test benches at Obninsk’s Institute of Physics and Power Engineering, the BOR-60 research reactor at NIIAR, and the future multifunction research reactor MBIR to be built at the NIIAR site.

The BREST-300 lead-cooled fast reactor (Bystry Reaktor so Svintsovym Teplonositelem) is another innovation, from NIKIET, with the first unit earlier being proposed for Beloyarsk-5. This will be a new-generation fast reactor which dispenses with the fertile blanket around the core and supersedes the BN-600/800 design, to give enhanced proliferation resistance. In February 2010 a government decree approved RUR 40 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) funding for an initial 300 MWe BREST unit (at SCC Seversk rather than Beloyarsk) over 2016-20. See also Advanced Reactors paper.

The SVBR-100 (Svintsovo-Vismutovyi Bystryi Reaktor – lead-bismuth fast reactor) is a modular lead-bismuth cooled fast neutron reactor designed by OKB Gidropress in Podolsk and the Institute for Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE), so that larger power plants are built incrementally and comprise several 100 MWe modules. The project is being undertaken by AKME-engineering – a 50-50 joint venture of Rosatom and private company En+ Group. The demonstration 101 MWe pilot commercial power unit (PCPU) unit is planned to be built next to RIAR Dimitrovgrad by 2019. However, in December 2014 Rosatom said that the cost had blown out to RUR 36 billion ($704 million), more than twice the RUR 15 billion original estimate, making it “less commercially attractive”, and Rosatom was having second thoughts. However, in October 2015 Rosatom reported that "experts have confirmed there are no scientific or technical issues that would prevent completion of the project and obtaining a construction licence."

Each 100 MWe fast reactor module with lead-bismuth primary coolant is 4.5 x 8.2 metres, built in factories and delivered to site. The 280 MWt reactor has integral design and forced convection circulation of primary coolant at up to 500°C with two main circulation pumps but passive cooling after shutdown. Fuel is low-enriched (16.5%) uranium or MOX initially, later possibly nitride. Refueling interval is 7-8 years and there is no breeding blanket. Design life is 60 years. It is proposed as a replacement for Novovoronezh 3&4 (in the present reactor halls), and for Kozloduy in Bulgaria. It is described by Gidropress as a multi-function reactor, for power, heat or desalination, to meet regional needs in Russia and abroad. Serial production is envisaged from 2024. Rosatom is seeking additional investors in the project to enable it to proceed, but has said that it is not negotiating with China on the matter. See Small Nuclear Reactors paper.

Another new reactor, also described as a multi-function fast reactor – MBIR – is being built at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) at Dimitrovgrad. See R&D section in the Russian Fuel Cycle paper since this is not essentially a power reactor.

Small Floating VVERs

After many years of promoting the idea, in 2006 Rosatom approved construction of a nuclear power plant on a barge (floating power module – FPM) to supply power and heat to isolated coastal towns. See Floating Nuclear Power Plant subsection above.

Two OKBM Afrikantov KLT-40S or KLT-40C reactors derived from those in icebreakers, but with low-enriched fuel (less than 20% U-235), will supply 70 MWe of power plus 586 GJ/hr (5.1 PJ/yr) of heat. They will be mounted on a 21,500 tonne, 144 m long, 30 m wide barge. Refuelling interval is 3-4 years on site, and at the end of a 12-year operating cycle the whole plant is returned to a shipyard (Zvezdochka, near Sevmash has been mentioned) for a 2-year overhaul and storage of used fuel, before being returned to service. Each reactor is 140-150 MWt and can deliver 38.5 MWe if no cogeneration is required.

The smaller ABV reactor units are under development by OKBM Afrikantov, with a range of sizes from 38 MW thermal (ABV-6M ) down to 18 MWt (ABV-3), giving 4-18 MWe outputs. The PWR/VVER units are compact, with integral steam generator. The whole unit of some 200 tonnes (ABV-6) would be factory-produced for ground or barge mounting. A single ABV-6M would require a 3500 tonne barge, the ABV-3: 1600 tonne. The core is similar to that of the KLT-40 except that enrichment is 16.5% and average burnup 95 GWd/t. Refuelling interval is about 8-10 years, and service life about 50 years. In mainly desalination mode the ABV-6M is expected to produce 55,000 m3/day of potable water by reverse osmosis. The company said at the end of 2009 that an ABV-R7D would cost RUR 1.5 billion, but that Rosatom preferred the larger and proven KLT-40 design.

OKBM Afrikantov is developing a new compact icebreaker reactor – RITM-200 – to replace the current KLT 40 reactors. This is an integral 175 MWt, 55 MWe PWR with inherent safety features. (Some sources indicate only 40 MWe.) Two of these, as in the new LK-60 icebreakers, will give 60 MW shaft power via twin turbine generators and three motors. At 65% capacity factor fuel reloading is required after 7 years and major overhaul period is 20 years. Fuel enrichment is almost 20% and the service life 40 years.

For floating nuclear power plants a single RITM-200 could replace twin KLT-40S and require a barge one-third the displacement, though their use in pairs is envisaged*. The reactor mass of the RITM-200 is only 2200 tonnes, compared with 3740 t for the KLT-40C.

* Twin RITM-200 units would use a 17,500 tonne barge 135 m long and 30 m wide.

Exports of combined power and desalination units is planned, with China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria, Cape Verde and Argentina being mentioned as potential buyers, though Russia would probably retain ownership of the plant with operational responsibility, and simply sell the output. Rosatom has formed a group of expert desalination advisors as part of a strategy to sell its thermal desalination technologies. It is targeting world regions where clean water is scarce as part of its drive for leadership in in the global nuclear market.

VBER-300, VBER-200 to 600

OKBM Afrikantov's VBER-300 PWR is a 325 MWe gross, 295 MWe net, PWR unit developed from naval power plants and was originally envisaged in pairs as a floating nuclear power plant.* As a cogeneration plant it is rated at 200 MWe and 1900 GJ/hr for heat or desalination. The reactor is designed for 60-year life and 90% capacity factor. It was planned to develop it as a land-based unit with Kazatomprom, with a view to exports, and the first unit was to be built at Aktau in Kazakhstan. However, this agreement stalled, and OKBM has been looking for a new partner to develop it. Two demonstration units are proposed at Zheleznogorsk for the Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC), costing some $2 billion. MCC preferred the VBER design to the VK-300.

* Twin VBER-300 units would use a 49,000 tonne barge 170 m long and 62 m wide.

In October 2012 a VBER-500 design was announced by OKBM Afrikantov, with design to be completed in about 2015 in collaboration with NIAEP. In fact OKBM offers 200 to 600 MWe plants “based on the standard 100 MWe module”. They are based on over 6000 reactor-years of experience with naval reactors. The VBERs are not part of any federal program, but the VBER-500 has explicit support from Rosenergoatom, with Kola replacement in view, but the VBER-500 has explicit support from Rosenergoatom, with Kola replacement in view, and the VBER-600 also perhaps as alternative for Baltic plant’s 1200 MWe units.

VK-300 BWR

The VK-300 boiling water reactor is being developed by the Research & Development Institute of Power Engineering (NIKIET) for both power (250 MWe) and desalination (150 MWe plus 1675 GJ/hr). It has evolved from the Melekess VK-50 BWR at Dimitrovgrad, but uses standard components wherever possible, eg the reactor vessel of the VVER-1000. A feasibility study on building 4 cogeneration VK-300 units at Archangelsk was favourable, each delivering 250 MWe power and 31.5 TJ/yr heat, but this has not proceeded.

RBMK/LWGR

A development of the RBMK light water graphite reactor was the MKER-800, with much improved safety systems and containment, but this too has been shelved. Like the RBMK itself, it was designed by VNIPIET (All-Russia Science Research and Design Institute of Power Engineering Technology) at St Petersburg.

HTRs

In the 1970-80s OKBM undertook substantial research on high temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTRs). In the 1990s it took a lead role in the international GT-MHR (Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor) project based on a General Atomics (US) design. Preliminary design was completed in 2001 and the prototype was to be constructed at Seversk (Tomsk-7, Siberian Chemical Combine) by 2010, with construction of the first four-module power plant (4x285 MWe) by 2015. Initially it was to be used to burn pure ex-weapons plutonium, and replace production reactors which supplied electricity there to 2010.

In the longer-term perspective, HTRs were seen as important for burning actinides, and later for hydrogen production. The coordinating committee for this GT-MHR project continued meeting to at least 2010, when it discussed plans to 2014, but there has been no further news of this HTR project. OKBM is now in charge of Russian HTR collaboration with China.

In 2015 Rosatom agreed with Indonesia’s BATAN for the pre-project phase of construction of an experimental multi-functional HTR there. The architect general will be Atomproekt, and NUKEM Technologies GmbH would be implementing the project jointly with OKBM Afrikantov which has developed the design. An EPC contract for the project is expected in 2016.

International

From 2001 Russia has been a lead country in the IAEA Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO). In 2006 Russia joined the Generation-IV International Forum, for which NEA provides the secretariat. Russia Russia is also a member of the NEA's Multinational Design Evaluation Program which is increasingly important in rationalising reactor design criteria.

Improving reactor performance through fuel development

A major recent emphasis has been the improvement in operation of present reactors with better fuels and greater efficiency in their use, closing much of the gap between Western and Russian performance. Fuel developments include the use of burnable poisons – gadolinium and erbium, as well as structural changes to the fuel assemblies.

With uranium-gadolinium fuel and structural changes, VVER-1000 fuel has been pushed out to four-year endurance, and VVER-440 fuel even longer. For VVER-1000, five years is envisaged from 2010, with enrichment levels increasing nearly by one-third (from 3.77% to 4.87%) in that time, average burn-up going up by 40% (to 57.7 GWd/t) and operating costs dropping by 5%. With a 3 x 18 month operating cycle, burn-up would be lower (51.3 GWd/t) but load factor could increase to 87%. Comparable improvements were envisaged for later-model VVER-440 units.

For RBMK reactors the most important development has been the introduction of uranium-erbium fuel at all units, though structural changes have helped. As enrichment and erbium content are increased (eg from 2.4 or 2.6% to 2.8% average enrichment and 0.6% erbium), increased burn-up is possible and the fuel can stay in the reactor six years. Also from 2009 the enrichment is profiled along the fuel elements, with 3.2% in the central section and 2.5% in the upper and lower parts. This better utilises uranium resources and further extends fuel life in the core.

For the BN-600 fast reactor, improved fuel means up to 560 days between refuelling.

Beyond these initiatives, the basic requirements for fuel have been set as: fuel operational lifetime extended to 6 years, improved burn-up of 70 GWd/tU, and improved fuel reliability. In addition, many nuclear plants will need to be used in load-following mode, and fuel which performs well under variable load conditions will be required.

All RBMK reactors now use recycled uranium from VVER-440 reactors and some has also been used experimentally at Kalinin-2 and Kola-2 VVERs. It is intended to extend this. A related project has been to utilise surplus weapons-grade plutonium in MOX fuel for up to seven VVER-1000 reactors from 2008, for one fast reactor (Beloyarsk-3) from 2007, and then Beloyarsk-4 from its start-up. In 2012 Rosenergoatom said it planned to use MOX in new-generation VVER-TOI reactors, subject to evaluation which should be complete in 2016.

Export of nuclear reactors

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for promoting Russian nuclear technologies abroad, including building up a system of Rosatom foreign representatives in Russian embassies. This is backed up by provision of substantial competitive finance for nuclear construction in client countries, as well as readiness to take equity or even build-own-operate (BOO) as in Turkey. At 2015 Atomexpo it was announced that at the start of the year Rosatom’s foreign portfolio of orders totaled US$ 101.4 billion, of which $66 billion was reactors, $21.8 billion was the contracted sales of EUP and SWU, and the remaining $13.6 billion was attributable to the sales of fabricated fuel assemblies and uranium. The total at the end of 2015 was over $110 billion, excluding Egypt, and export revenues in 2015 were $6.4 billion, up 20% from 2014. Rosatom’s goal is to gain half its total revenue from exported goods and services by 2030, and half its reactor revenue from overseas projects in 2017. Early in 2016 Rosatom said that Russia’s GDP gained two roubles for every one rouble invested in building nuclear power plants abroad, as well as enhanced trade.

From 2020, Rosatom forecasts global construction of about 16 units per year, with 4-5 of those potentially from Rosatom. The company sees its strength as its ability to make an integrated offer for its nuclear power plants, offering not only turnkey construction and fuel, but also training, services, infrastructure development, legal and regulatory structures, etc. in a single package. Rosatom said in November 2015 that due to its integrated structure, the cost (LCOE, levelized cost of energy) of new VVER reactors is no more than $50-$60 per MWh in most countries.

In 2016 Rosatom and the Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank) agreed to develop their cooperation to support Rosatom's investments in projects overseas. The agreement reflects the bank's "new strategic priorities". Rosatom said that “implementation of projects in the framework of the signed agreement will help to address the global challenges of the nuclear industry and increase the energy security of the Russian Federation." It will "contribute to the growth of the Russian economy and the expansion of Russia's presence in the global nuclear energy market," Rosatom said.

Atomstroyexport (ASE) has largely completed three reactor construction projects abroad, all involving VVER-1000 units. First, it took over building a reactor for Iran at the Bushehr power plant, a project commenced by Siemens KWU but then aborted. That reactor is now operating. Then it sold two AES-91 units to China for Jiangsu Tianwan at Lianyungang (both now operating) and two AES-92 units to India for Kudankulam (both now operating). It is likely that ASE will build a second unit at Bushehr and agreements have been signed for two more at Tianwan in China. In 2007 a memorandum of understanding was signed to build four more VVER units at Kudankulam, and this has now become about ten units including VVER-1200 types at more than one site.

There is a variety of funding arrangements for Russian export nuclear power plants. China and Iran pay for them directly, India benefits from substantial Russian finance, Belarus, Bangladesh and Hungary will rely on major loans, Turkey will pioneer build-own-operate using Russian finance but with guaranteed long-term electricity price, Finland will involve Russian 34% equity.

In April 2015 Rosatom said that it had contracts for 19 nuclear plants in nine countries, including those under construction (5). In December 2015 it said it had orders for 34 nuclear power reactors in 13 countries, at about $5 billion each to construct, and it was negotiating for more. In September the total value of all export orders was $300 billion, excluding Egypt.

Export sales and prospects for Russian nuclear power plants (post-Soviet)

Country Plant Type Est. cost Status, financing
Ukraine Khmelnitski 2 & Rovno 4 2 x V-320 reactors, 1000 MWe   operating
Iran Bushehr 1 V-446 reactor, 1000 MWe   operating
China Tianwan 1&2 2 x AES-91   operating
India Kudankulam 1&2 2 x AES-92 $3 billion operating
Operating: 7

 

Country Plant Type Est. cost Status, financing
China Tianwan 3&4 2 x AES-91 $4 billion Under construction from Dec 2012
Belarus Ostrovets 1&2 2 x AES-2006 (V-491) $10 billion Loan organised for 90%, construction start 2013
Construction: 4

 

Country Plant Type Est. cost Status, financing
India Kudankulam 3&4 2 x VVER-TOI $5.8 million Confirmed, loan organised for 85%, construction start 2017?
Bangladesh Rooppur 1&2 2 x AES-2006 (V-392M) $4 billion Confirmed, loan organised for 90%, construction start 2017?
Turkey Akkuyu 1-4 4 x VVER-TOI $25 billion Confirmed, BOO, construction start late 2016?
Vietnam Ninh Thuan 1, 1&2 2 x AES-2006 (V-491) $9 billion Confirmed, loan organised for 85%, construction start 2020?
Finland Hanhikivi 1 1 x AES-2006 (V-491) €6 billion Contracted, Rosatom 34% equity, also arranging loan for 75% of capital cost, construction start 2018?
Iran Bushehr 2&3 2 x AES-92 (V-466B)   Construction contract Nov 2014, NIAEP-ASE, barter for oil or pay cash
Armenia Metsamor 3 1 x AES-92 $5 billion Contracted, loan for 50%
Contracted: 14

 

Country Plant Type Est. cost Status, financing
Egypt El Dabaa 4 x AES-2006 $26 billion Planned, state loan organised for 85%, repaid over 35 years from commissioning. Contract due 2016.
China Tianwan 7&8 2 x AES-2006   Planned
Vietnam Ninh Thuan 1, 3&4 2 x AES-2006   Planned
India Kudankulam 5&6 2 x AES-92?   Planned, framework agreement due 2016
Hungary Paks 5&6 2 x AES-2006 €12.5 billion Planned, loan organised for 80%
Slovakia Bohunice V3 1 x AES-2006   Planned, possible 51% Rosatom equity
Jordan Al Amra 2 x AES-92 $10 billion Planned, BOO, finance organised for 49.9%
Ordered: 15

 

Country Plant Type Est. cost Status, financing
India Andra Pradesh 6 x AES-2006   Negotiated in 2015
Bulgaria Belene/Kozloduy 7 2 x AES-92   Cancelled, but may be revived
Ukraine Khmelnitski completion of 2 x V-392 reactors $4.9 million Was due to commence construction 2015, 85% financed by loan, but contract rescinded by Ukraine in 2015
South Africa Thyspunt up to 8 x AES-2006   Broad agreement signed, no specifics, Russia offers finance, prefers BOO
Nigeria   AES-2006?   Broad agreement signed, no specifics, Russia offers finance, BOO
Argentina Atucha 5? AES-2006   Broad agreement signed, no specifics, Russia offers finance, contract expected 2016.
Indonesia Serpong 10 MWe HTR   Concept design by OKBM Afrikantov
Algeria ? ?   Agreement signed, no specifics
Proposals: up to 22

AES-91 & AES-92 have 1000 MWe class reactors, AES-2006 have 1200 MWe class reactors.

The above Table gives an overview of Rosatom’s export projects for nuclear power plants. It is focused on 1000 and 1200 MWe-class VVER reactors, the former being well-proven and the latter a very credible design soon to be operating in Russia. In virtually all cases, the technology is backed by very competitive finance. Rosatom expects its order book to reach $100 billion by the end of 2014, up 25% in 12 months.

Russia's policy for building nuclear power plants in non-nuclear weapons states is to deliver on a turnkey basis, including supply of all fuel and repatriation of used fuel for the life of the plant. The fuel is to be reprocessed in Russia and the separated wastes returned to the client country eventually. Evidently India is being treated as a weapons state, since Russia will supply all the enriched fuel for Kudankulam, but India will reprocess it and keep the plutonium.

Rusatom Overseas expects two export Russian reactors constructed on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis to be operating soon after 2020 and 24 by 2030. Only two of the projects listed below are BOO at this stage.

China: When China called for competitive bids for four large third-generation reactors to be built at Sanmen and Yangjiang, ASE unsuccessfully bid the AES-92 power plant for these. However Tianwan 3&4 are now under construction, with further units there planned.

India: Beyond Kudankulam 3&4, in 2009 plans to build four more VVER units (probably AES-2006) were confirmed for Haripur in West Bengal.

Belarus: Ostrovets NPP will be a 2400 MWe AES-2006 plant developed by SPb AEP (merged with VNIPIET to become Atomproekt) based on AES-91 design. Atomstroyexport, now NIAEP-ASE, is the principal construction contractor. Russia is lending up to $10 billion for 25 years to finance 90% of the contract.

Bangladesh: The Rooppur nuclear power plant originally to be two AES-92 reactors, but now evidently AES-2006 with two V-392M reactors, is to be built by Atomstroyexport (now NIAEP-ASE) for the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission. Russia is providing $500 million then $1.5 billion to cover 90% of the first unit’s construction.

Turkey: In 2010 Russian and Turkish heads of state signed and then ratified an intergovernmental agreement for Rosatom to build, own and operate the Akkuyu plant of four AES-2006 units as a US$ 20 billion project. This will be its first foreign plant on that BOO basis. Construction was due to start in 2016, but is delayed.

Vietnam: The Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant will have two VVER-1000 reactors in its first stage built by NN AEP-Atomstroyexport. Russia's Ministry of Finance will finance at least 85% of the $9 billion for this first plant. A second agreement for $500 million loan covers the establishment of a nuclear science and technology centre. Construction start is delayed to about 2020.

Finland: In mid-2013 Fennovoima signed a project development agreement for the Hanhikivi nuclear power plant with Rusatom Overseas, which will also take at least a 34% share of the project.

Hungary: In January 2014 an agreement was signed for two reactors, apparently AES-2006, with low-interest finance to cover 80% of the cost.

Jordan: In October 2013 ASE agreed to build two AES-92 nuclear units, while Rusatom Overseas would be strategic partner and operator of the plant, hence BOO basis. Russia will contribute at least 49% of the project's $10 billion cost.

Bulgaria accepted Rosatom’s bid for two AES-92 units for Belene in October 2006. ASE leads a consortium including Areva NP and Bulgarian enterprises in the €4.0 billion project, which now is unlikely to proceed.

Ukraine: ASE was contracted to complete building Khmelnitsky 3&4, where construction started in the 1980s and ceased in 1990. A Russian loan was to provide 85% of the finance. In 2015 Ukraine rescinded the contract.

Czech Republic: A Škoda JS/Atomstroyexport/OKB Gidropress consortium is proposing to build two AES-2006/MIR-1200 units, but a decision between this consortium and a Westinghouse-led one has been deferred. Financing will be a significant consideration.

Kazakhstan: Despite disagreements over 2009-10, ASE is likely to build the first of a series of small reactors (probably VBER-300) in Kazakhstan.

South Africa: A broad agreement with offer of finance has been signed, but the country is open to other offers as well, for 9600 MWe capacity required.

Considerable export potential for floating nuclear power plants (FNPP), on a fully-serviced basis, has been identified. Indonesia is one possible market. In August 2015 Rosatom and Indonesia’s BATAN signed a cooperation agreement on construction of FNPPs.

Since 2006 Rosatom has actively pursued cooperation deals in South Africa, Namibia, Chile and Morocco as well as with Egypt, Algeria, and Kuwait.

In February 2008 ASE formed an alliance with TechnoPromExport (TPE), an exporter of all other large-scale power generation types. This will rationalize their international marketing. TPE boasts of having completed 400 power projects in 50 countries around the world totalling some 87 GWe.

For other fuel cycle exports see companion paper: Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle.


Sources:
Prof V.Ivanov, WNA Symposium 2001, Prof A.Gagarinski and Mr A.Malyshev, WNA Symposium 2002.
Josephson, Paul R, 1999, Red Atom - Russia's nuclear power program from Stalin to today.
Minatom 2000, Strategy of Nuclear Power Development in Russia,
O. Saraev, paper at WNA mid-term meeting in Moscow, May 2003.
Rosenergoatom Bulletin 2002, esp. M.Rogov paper.
Perera, Judith 2003, Nuclear Power in the Former USSR, McCloskey, UK.
Kamenskikh, I, 2005, paper at WNA Symposium.
Kirienko, S. 2006, paper at World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference, April and WNA Symposium, Sept.
Shchedrovitsky, P. 2007, paper at WNA Symposium, Sept.
Panov et al 2006, Floating Power Sources Based on Nuclear reactor Plants
Rosenergoatom website
Rosatom website
nuclear.ru
Gagarisnkiy, A.Yu., April 2012, Post-Fukushima Trends in Russian Nuclear Energy
Rosenergoatom, 2012, Russian Nuclear Power Plants 2011
Antysheva, Tatiana, 2011, SVBR-100: New generation power plants for small and medium-sized power applications
Grigory Ponomarenko, OKB “GIDROPRESS”, Present and Future of WWER Technology, presented at the IAEA Technical Meeting on Technology Assessment for New Nuclear Power Programmes, held in Vienna, Austria on 1-3 September 2015
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