In a video address to employees of Russia’s nuclear industry on 28 April, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev spoke about production targets safety standards. He said that, despite the pandemic, production targets were met. “The performance ratio for all key indicators at the end of last year was 105.5%, an excellent result,” he said, noting that the target figures for “are significantly higher than last year, while state control over our work is increasing”. He noted the recent commissioning of the Leningrad 6 reactor adding that work on foreign sites is progressing well and is on schedule.
He also spoke about Rosatom’s expansion into the wind energy sector and green hydrogen production. We are expanding the wind energy sector. “Since April 1, the Karmalinovskaya wind farm in the Stavropol Territory has been supplying electricity to the wholesale market. This is the third wind farm built by Rosatom. The development of wind power has allowed us to take an important step in sustainable development. Rosatom signed an agreement with a major logistics operator, Delo holding, on the organisation of electricity supplies from our wind farms to the largest terminals in the Azov-Black Sea region. This will enable Russian exporters to seek a reduction in the "carbon tax" that will be introduced in the EU countries.”
As to hydrogen production from nuclear sources, he said: “This year, RUB94 billion ($1.26bn) have been allocated for the implementation of the programme. All the objectives of the first quarter, including 35 milestones, have been successfully completed. In particular, field work on pre-design engineering surveys in Yakutia have been completed - the first low-power land-based NPP with a ship-based RITM-200 reactor will be built there.” Rosatom is also responsible for implementing the scientific and technical programme "New Composite Materials". Likhachev said the programme had already been agreed with all interested parties and would be submitted to the government in May.
He said the main task for 2021 was to increase revenue to RUB1,500bn “To do this, each of us will have to not only work seriously, but also clearly understand our place, the place of our enterprise and division in the implementation of our common strategy, and achievement of financial and production indicators. I ask you to pay special attention to the plans to improve efficiency that are currently being drawn up at division level. In general, the economic component of our work, income growth and cost reduction are now a priority.”
The most important tasks for 2021 are the physical start-up of Belarus NPP unit 2 and handing over unit 1 to Belarus to begin commercial operation. “In Hungary, we need to obtain a building licence, and in Finland and Egypt, we need to prepare and submit to the regulators the documents necessary for obtaining a licence. The construction of the BREST-300 reactor in Seversk is to be launched. By the end of the year, the new icebreaker Sibir is to join Atomflot.” Another priority is establishment of the National Centre for Physics and Mathematics.
However, Likhachev singled out a topic “that worries me very much” - labour protection in the nuclear industry. While no serious incidents in nuclear, radiation and industrial safety were recorded in the first quarter of 2021, negative trends in labour protection were evident. “Compared with the first quarter of last year, there is a serious increase in injuries 21 in three months. This is a lot. Six of them have severe health consequences. And, sadly, we already have two deaths. A thorough investigation revealed negligence, disorder and a complete disregard for elementary safety standards.” He said it was “unacceptable” and an action plan was being drawn up to prevent injuries, which would be launched in the near future. “You must show by your personal example the absolute priority of safety in the nuclear industry.”