MINATOM is developing plans to set up a new generating company which would increase competition in the federal electricity wholesale market, according to Deputy Atomic Minister Bulat Nigmatulin.
The new company would increase investment and streamline policy in the nuclear industry, making possible a 14% reduction on export tariffs for electricity. Lower tariffs would benefit the regions, Nigmatulin said. However, the taxation system would not change.
A key component of MINATOM’s strategy over the coming decade will be to extend the working life of existing nuclear plants. From 2001 an increasing number of plants will reach the end of their 30-year design life and unless the appropriate measures are taken, all nuclear power plants will be closed by 2020, Nigmatulin pointed out. He confirmed that several partly built units were being given priority financing to ensure their rapid completion, including unit 1 at Rostov, unit 3 at Kalinin and unit 5 at Kursk. The power stations themselves will finance 50% of these projects, with the rest drawn from long-term investment credits, increased exports of electricity, the reinvestment of nuclear power plants’ debts to the federal budget and the development budget.
At the beginning of April, former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov signed a government resolution on the procedure for forming specific investment funds for the development of the atomic power industry in 1999. This legislation is designed to allow the formation of investment funds for nuclear plants and the organisations that run them.