One of the priority areas of activity for the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (RMAE) is China and India. In the north-western region of China Russian specialists have completed the construction of a Uranium enrichment facility. A project between Russia and China on building two reactor installations with a power output of 1000 MW each, is in the planning stage. These Russian-Chinese deals amount to between 3 and 4 billion US dollars. With India, the RMAE plans to sign a 2-3 billion US dollars contract this year, concerning the construction of a nuclear power plant.
At present Russia is negotiating delivery of floating nuclear power plants to Indonesia. On Cuba, Russia plans to restart construction works on a nuclear power plant, consisting of two VVER-440 reactors. Started in 1983, the project was halted in the early nineties when more than halfway through.
Negotiations are also held with Egypt, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, on delivery of various nuclear technologies.
Worth mentioning is also the deal between RMAE and US Enrichment Corp. on delivery of down-blended weapons grade uranium. This deal, instantiated in 1994, amounts to 12 billion US dollars.
On the domestic side, however, RMAE has small reason to feel comfortable. Currently only 12 percent of Russias energy is produced by nuclear power plants. By the year 2010, the Russian Government will close down 18 ageing reactor installations. During the recent referendum held in Kostroma County in middle Russia, the local population expressed its negative opinion towards the construction of a new power plant. And throughout the planned renewal of the Russian nuclear power grid, the everpresent lack of funds dominates.
By the end of December 1996, RMAE received only 72 percent of what was planned through the Federal budget. Nevertheless; due to the export activities the salaries in the Ministry are higher than average in Russia.
- "Expert" magazine, no.1:1997.