Russian government announces ambitious new plans for nuclear plant construction spike


Publish date: March 14, 2008

Written by: Charles Digges

The Russian government published Wednesday a document outlining the construction of four at least four new nuclear power plants in the Urals mountains and in the central part of the country, and includes ambitious aspirations to build a total of 42 new atomic power stations by 2020.

Bellona fundamentally opposes new nuclear plans in Russia, a country that can barely contain its own overflowing waste and which meanwhile invites other countries to send their waste there.

The plan publicised Wednesday had been approved on February 22nd by the Russian government, RIA Novosti Russian newswire reported. Implementing and monitoring the plan and its progress will fall to the Rosatom corporation under the leadership of Sergei Kiriyenko. The government Ministries of Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Economic Development will also be involved.

Within three months, the same groups are to draft an action plan to attract investment in the Russian power industry.

No plans on how to deal with the spike in spent nuclear fuel that will result from these new reactors have been included in any of the plans announced by the Russian government.

Russia currently operates ten nuclear power plants with total capacity of 23.242 gigawatts.

The scheme envisions one VVER-1000 pressurized water reactor and one RBMK-1000 reactor – based on the fatally flawed Chernobyl reactor design – entering operation before 2010. In addition, the world’s first floating nuclear power plant – the Akademik Lomonosov – with two 35 MW KLT-40C reactors would be launched.

Currently, construction work is underway to complete Kalinin 4, while foundations are being laid for the first two new reactors at Novovoronezh Phase II, the Akademik Lomonosov is under construction at the Sevmash shipyard. Plans are being finalised for Leningrad Phase II.

The speed of nuclear build accelerates in the period between 2011 and 2015, when one VVER-1000, some eight new VVER-1200 units and one BN-800 fast reactor are planned to start up, World Nuclear News reported.

From 2016 to 2020 between 15 and 20 VVER-1200s could be brought online, along with six new-design VBER-300 boiling water reactors. Two more floating plants are slated for completion during this time, said WNN.

The nuclear build announced in Russia comes as little surprise following announcements by the UK government and the US government that they, too, will be pursuing an increase in nuclear power over the next two decades.