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Rosatom is offering worldwide its small nuclear reactors. A way to impose its technological leadership



Russia’s state-owned Rosatom is discussing the construction of small nuclear power  (SMR) plants with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and East Asian island states. The company’s CEO, Alexey Likhachev, announced this to the State Duma.

Likhachev stressed that demand for small nuclear power plants is high.

“Our analysts say that in the next 10-15 years, 30–40 GW of low-power nuclear power plants will be built on our planet,” he said. Precisely a type of reactor that Rosatom has been developing for a long time.

The head of Rosatom also informed us of ongoing negotiations with Russian companies Nornickel, Gazpromneft, and Lukoil regarding plans for small nuclear power plants. These nuclear reactors would become the power plants for energy-hungry industrial plants or mining facilities that are extremely isolated and therefore difficult to connect with external enegetic networks.

“Several countries are our partners and customers. With some of them, an intergovernmental agreement has been concluded, and we are working on contracts. With others, however, we are still working at the level of technical vision and economic model. We are negotiating with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and some island countries in Southeast Asia,” he said.

Not only small states, with difficulties in developing their own nuclear projects, have approached Rosatom; discussions are also underway with India so as to bring stable energy sources to the whole country.

A wide variety of reactors

Rosatom has been developing small reactors for 65 years, partly because previously these types of energy sources were used on nuclear submarines. The models are varied:

  • KTL-40s are nuclear fission reactors derived from the OK-150 and OK-900 naval reactors. KLT-40s were developed to power the Taymyr-class icebreakers (KLT-40M, 171 MW) and the LASH Sevmorput aircraft carrier (KLT-40, 135 MW).[1] They are pressurized water reactors (PWRs) fueled with 30–40% or 90% [note 1] enriched uranium-235 fuel to produce 135–171 MW of thermal power.[2]
  • RITM 200: an integrated III+ generation pressurized water reactor developed by OKBM Afrikantov and designed to produce 55 MWe. The design is an improvement of the KLT-40 reactor. It uses 20% enriched uranium-235 and can be refueled every 10 years for an expected lifetime of 60 years if installed in a floating power plant.[1] If installed in a fixed power plant, the fuel cycle is 6 years.
  • SVBR-100, a lead-cooled bismuth reactor that was created for shipboard use but can also be developed for fixed-site use, has 100 MW of electrical power and 280 Mw of thermal output using 20% enriched uranium.
    SVBR 100

So Rosatom will offer itself as a supplier of stable atomic energy somewhat all over the world, including developing countries. It lays the foundation for its own economic future for the next, at least, 50 years.

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