Revitalized Russian Nuclear Industry Has Taken Over Energy Market Worldwide

For our theme today, we can see not only what was completed, but also what was planned.

Rosatom turned 10 this weekend. In his address to the employees and veterans of the corporation, Vladimir Putin noted Rosatom's leadership on the word atomic technology market, and the possibility of increasing its world market share.

Nikolai Zakharov will tell us about the usual and unusual things our atomic engineers are working on.


The sound hurts the ears, but doesn't make it less impressive: the large-scale workshops of Atommash, with giant machines. After processing, this unit will become a part of a steam generator, a colossal vessel in which steam is generated at the nuclear power plant, it rotates a turbine which makes electricity.

Here's the steam generator from the inside, there are 4 at the power plant, and this one will go to India, to the Kudankulam station. Now the workers are cleaning up the welding seams. The history of this enterprise is perhaps the most vivid illustration of the development of the domestic nuclear industry. Rapid Komsomol development in the Don steppe in the 70's, a decline in the 1990s after Chernobyl and problems in the country, and now a second birth: after almost a 30-year break, reactors for nuclear power plants are again made here.

The nuclear reactor shell is checked for flaws dozens of times, including in a huge X-ray chamber and in an underground stand, which is about 15 meters deep.

Andrey Marchenko, Technical Director: "Here it is lowered vertically."

Water is pumped into it at a pressure of more than 200 atmospheres to find possible defects. Currently operating reactors are the best proof that the technology has been worked out. Customers are coming from Asia, from Africa, and from Europe, where there are special requirements for safety.

Andrey Marchenko, Technical Director: The safety systems are designed to take into account the most unlikely cases that may lead to an accident, for example, an airplane collision into the sealed enclosure.

- Will it withstand this?

Andrey Marchenko, Technical Director: Yes.

And also tsunamis and earthquakes, which are being taken into account after the Fukushima accident. But how can the perfect quality of such important products be achieved?

Here's a fact: over the past 3 years, Rosatom employees have won the first place in the WorldSkills working professions competition. Alexei explains in his own way what the secret to the revival of the nuclear industry is.

Alexei Grigorievich, Welder: Rosatom took over Atommash, thanks to this the salaries became regular.

- And before?

Alexei Grigorievich, Welder: Earlier, I hear they didn't pay for 2 years.

- And now?

Alexei Grigorievich, Welder: And now they pay on time.

It was especially for the revival of the industry that in 2007 this state corporation was created.

President Putin: "The law on the State Corporation came into effect to create favorable conditions for the atomic industry, and modernization”.

Alexei Likhachev: "Thank you for your confidence, Vladimir Vladimirovich".

In the course of work of the new corporation, a dozen new power units were added to the already existing 10 nuclear power plants. 3rd and 4th at Kalinin NPP, 6th at Novovoronezhskaya, 1st on Leningradskaya, a new unit at the plant in the Sverdlovsk Region and at Rostov plant. At the latter, adjustments and equipment testing are ongoing. To date, the reactor is dismantled and ready for nuclear fuel. Revision or check of equipment readiness is ongoing to prepare for the physical launch.

This stage is practically the starting heartbeat of the Rostov nuclear plant, the nuclear reactor, which is due in December.

Svyatoslav Chukavin, Deputy Chief Engineer: "Rostov power plant gives our region economic stability because additional consumers have appeared, for example, Crimea, it provides for the economic stability of the southern region".

Also, Russian nuclear engineers are working in 12 countries where 34 power units will be built. In Belarus, the reactor's protective shell is already assembled.

Alexander Konuk, Head of Reactor Plant: "On the whole, the atomic power plant project is the most modern in the world, 3rd+ generation, there's nothing better right now".

In 3 months consumers will get a 3rd reactor in a Taiwanese plant, which is located in China. Iran is building a 2nd, and the Russians will build the 3rd reactor. And in India, the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. And on November 30 in Bangladesh, the 1st block was made for the future reactor #1.

Not a single company in the world builds so many nuclear plants, except the Russian one, of course.

Alexei Likhachev, Rosatom CEO: "We are not just building nuclear plants, we're building the industry from scratch with IAEA. We are training people, often with our money, we are creating atomic infrastructure, centers of science and technology, centers of learning".

The legacy of the Soviet era, of course, helps, during which the father of the atomic bomb, academic Kurchatov, began to call for the peaceful atom. To overcome the industry crisis after the 1990s, an ambitious task was set in the mid-2000s: to build 40 new reactors and have 1/4 of all national electricity produced by the nuclear plants.

Skeptics say that the share of electricity generated by nuclear plants is falling in the world. But Rosatom replies that you can't put solar panels or wind turbines just anywhere, just like hydropower plants. But the need for electricity will keep growing.

Alexei Likhachev: Nuclear energy makes an ideal basic energy, ensuring a constant supply with a predictable price.

- We can't do without nuclear plants.

- I don't think it's possible at all, and those countries who took a hard line are either subtly revisiting their decision, or just taking great losses.

Russia is the only country in the world that has an atomic fleet, is updating its icebreakers. 2 new ones, the "Arctic" and the "Siberia" have already been floated out. They are being completed and the shipbuilders are making the 3rd icebreaker, "Leader." Next-generation machines that are capable of piercing ice 3 or 4 meters thick, and will continue to provide year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route, the shortest path between Europe and the Far East.

Rosatom means not only nuclear plants and uranium mining, but also radioactive isotopes that help to defeat cancer.

Graphite material used in old reactors, is used to make bandages for treating burns and prostheses that can't be compared in quality to titanium, gold, or platinum.

Petr Zolkin, Chief Scientist: "If you implant a metal part, the patient will feel the weight of the metal, but not this one, it's the same density as bone. When patient sleeps on either one side or the other, they won't feel metal".

But they were used back in the Soviet years. Now, atomic scientists are trying to prove the advantages of their methods again.

In the future, another development will show itself, not directly related to nuclear technologies. One of Rosatom’s enterprises has signed a contract to supply cars parts for Ferrari and Maserati. So the results of Russian atomic scientists' labor will also be in elite supercars.

Nikolai Zakharov, Mariya Bizyavik, Kirill Puzyrny, Pavel Kostrikov, Arina Tretiakova for Vesti — Saturday News.