Rosatom requests more funding for fast reactors

5 November 2018

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom has initiated a national programme “The development of atomic science, technology and technology”, involving the allocation of about RUB200 billion ($3bn) from the federal budget by 2024, according to the October edition of Country Rosatom. Representative of Rosatom deputy director general for international and scientific-technical projects Vyacheslav Pershukov told an industry conference in Tomsk that the national programme is being coordinated with the federal executive authorities. 

“The programme includes the Breakthrough project and the creation of a scientific infrastructure for implementing the strategy for transition to a two-component nuclear power industry [based on a combination of traditional power reactors and fast reactors]” said Pershukov. The new national programme will replace the federal target programme “Nuclear power technologies of a new generation”, which is being closed early. Rosatom will also continue to invest its own funds in the creation of new technologies.

The newspaper Kommersant cited a July letter from Rosatom director general Alexei Likhachev to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev requesting a national programme for the development of nuclear science and technology. This would include research in the field of the nuclear weapons complex, the construction of nuclear icebreakers and NPPs, as well as the development of new types of nuclear reactors, and a closed nuclear fuel cycle (the Breakthrough project). The paper quotes informed sources as saying this would involve the early termination of existing state programmes and the federal target programme for the nuclear industry and the transfer of the remaining funds to the new national programme.

Likhachev reportedly mentions the main Federal Target Programme of Rosatom, “Development of the nuclear power industry complex for 2018–2020” and its budget allocation of RUB17.5-17.9 billion. Rosatom also receives about RUB13 billion for three years for the programme, “Nuclear power technologies of the new generation” and almost RUB53 billion for the state programme on nuclear and radiation safety. This totals RUB120 billion, but Kommersant says Rosatom is also counting on additional funding for the Breakthrough project from the budget under the new programme.

In 2017, Rosatom decided to temporarily suspend plans to build the BREST-OD-300 lead-cooled fast reactor – part of the Breakthrough programme – for economic reasons. This proposal was contained in a decree amending the Federal Target Programme “Nuclear power technologies of the new generation for the period 2010-2015 and for the future until 2020,” Interfax reported. Initially, this project was planned to be implemented by 2020. At the Tomsk conference, Pershukov announced the possibility of launching BREST in 2026.

He said: “Scientists are already considering the next step - the construction of an industrial power complex with a 1200MWe commercial lead-cooled fast reactor,” according to Country Rosatom. He also spoke about plans to attract international partners to projects on new types of reactors. “Of course, we can independently build a two-component nuclear power industry in the country, but it is more important to make a project for the whole world, to help other countries in the transition to a two-component system. We invite partners to create a joint project,” he said.

In February, Likhachev told President Vladimir Putin about the importance of the BN-1200 fast neutron reactor project. “We put forward proposals to the government, and we hope that we will be able to place the first 1200MWe fast reactor in the energy system in 2020,” he added.



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