Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom has secured new subsidies from the state over the next three years to complete the construction of new plants and refurbish existing facilities.
The country’s draft budget for 2017-2019, which was approved by the government on October 13, allocated Rosatom 21.2 billion rubles (US$336.2 million) in state funding for 2017. State support will later fall to 20.5 billion rubles (US$325.1 billion) and 20.7 billion rubles (US$328.2 million) in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Approximately 68.7 billion rubles (US$1.1 billion) in total were granted to Rosatom over the three-year period under the state programme entitled “Development of the Nuclear Energy Complex.”
State subsidies are estimated to cover between 30% and 40% of Rosatom’s capital expenditure per year.
The state-owned firm is currently constructing new plants in the Russian regions of Kursk, Rostov, Leningrad and Novoronezh. Newly appointed Rosatom CEO Sergey Likhachev told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week that a sixth reactor unit was currently being installed at the Novoronezh plant.
“This is the first such project worldwide,” Likhachev said, adding: “it is not only important for the Russian energy industry but a serious point of reference for the world.”
Russia currently has 10 functioning nuclear power plants (NPPs), which house 36 operating reactors and generate 27.1 GWe, or 11.5% of national electricity generation. Rosatom aims to hoist that share to 19.7% by 2035.
Earlier this year, the government attempted to allocate a combined 5.7 trillion rubles (US$90.3 billion) in state funding over that period to boost nuclear power generation in Russia. These plans, however, were sent back to the Ministry of Energy for revision earlier this year following resistance from rival energy companies and consumers. A government decree signed in August stipulated that 11 new reactors beyond the Kursk and others currently under construction should be commissioned by 2030. Early last year, Rosatom said that nine reactors would also be decommissioned by 2023 and a further three by 2027.
Under the new federal budget for 2017-2019, 15.1 billion rubles (US$239.3 million) were also assigned to the construction of new, state-of-the-art icebreakers to be used to escort vessels through Russia’s Arctic waters. The ships will be operated by Rosatom’s maritime subsidiary Rosatomflot, which currently numbers five nuclear-powered icebreakers in its fleet.