Nuclear production increases
Russian nuclear power plants have increased electricity generation by 13% over last year, according to Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Bulat Nigmatulin.
He said that during the first nine months of this year, Russia’s 29 nuclear units have generated 10 billion kWh of electricity more than during the same period last year. He forecast a total of 118 billion kWh for 1999, 15 billion kWh up on 1998.
Nigmatulin believes the nuclear industry’s main task is to extend the lifetime of the first-generation power units, which have been operating for 20-25 years. He argues that nuclear power engineering in Russia will only survive if the working life of these units is extended by 10 years. There are 12 units due to reach the end of their design lives at the start of the next decade.
“Starting to design and build new power stations for the long term with reactors like the VVER-640 and new VVER-1000 is only realistic when we can extend the service life of the first-generation units and put unfinished installations into production,” he insisted.
• The share of cash in payments for energy produced by Russia’s nuclear power stations over the first five months of this year increased to 15%, up from 10.7% in the same period of 1998, according to figures produced by Nigmatulin. Due to the low level of payment, tax owed by nuclear power stations to the federal budget currently exceeds 3 billion roubles.