Rumours of Rosatom director’s departure cause dismay

30 September 2016

Sergei Kiriyenko, Director General of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is expected to be appointed to a new post as first deputy head of the presidential (Kremlin) administration, replacing Vyacheslav Volodin, who has been appointed speaker of the Duma (lower house of parliament), according to Russian media reports. However, neither Kiriyenko nor the Kremlin have confirmed the reports. Kiriyenko’s press secretary, Sergei Novikov, said he does not respond to rumours, while Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov said he had “reliable information” that Kiriyenko was still head of Rosatom.

Russian nuclear industry sources told NEI that the news was causing considerable consternation. When Kiriyenko was first appointed to head the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy in 2005, which became Rosatom in 2007, he was viewed with suspicion by nuclear industry personnel, who resented the appointment of a manager with no nuclear or scientific  background. However, he worked hard to learn about the industry and eventually was reluctantly accepted. Today, having made Rosatom one of Russia’s most successful state corporations, he is generally valued. 

There is concern that his successor could be yet another manager who will have to learn on the job. Or a military figure with no knowledge of the nuclear industry. Other possibilities may be one of the 10 current deputy directors of Rosatom or some other prominent figure within the nuclear complex. It is also conceivable, NEI was told, that Kiriyenko could still retain overall control of the industry from his position within the presidential administration. As yet there has been no official confirmation of his appointment to the Kremlin post, but this is expected in the near future.

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