Rosatom plans to begin pouring "first concrete" for unit 3 of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey next spring, the deputy director responsible for development and international business, Kirill Komarov, told a press conference in Sochi.
“We were recently given a permit for the construction of unit 3, but we had worked on the unit before that based on a limited permit for work related to all non-nuclear activities." He added that Rosatom plans to obtain a construction licence for the unit 4 by autumn 2021. “We submitted all the documents in May this year. This will be the last licence that we need to obtain,” he said. This usually takes a little over a year, so I think by the fall of 2021, we can safely expect a licence for the fourth unit."
The Akkuyu project will comprise four VVER-1200 units with an installed capacity of 4800MWe.The shareholders of plant project owner Akkuyu Nuclear are: Rusatom Overseas (74.915%), Atomstroyexport (2.267%), Inter RAO (0.820%), Rosenergoatom Concern (21.948%), Atomtechenergo (0.025%) and Atomenergoremont (0.025%). However, according to Turkish and Armenian press reports, Inter RAO withdrew from the in October.
As to construction in China, Rosatom plans to begin pouring first concrete in 2021 for unit 7 of the Tianwan NPP and unit 3 of the Xudabao NPP, Komarov said. In 2019, Rosatom signed the general contract with China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) for the construction of Xudabao 3&4 in Liaoning Province and for the construction of Tianwan 7&8 in Jiangsu province. All four units will have Generation 3+ VVER-1200 reactors. Units 1-4 at Tianwan are Russian designed VVER-1000 units.
In Bulgaria, Rosatom is ready to expand the membership of the consortium, which is taking part in the tender for the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant, Komarov said. "In fact, the consortium, of course, is far from an exhaustive list of international companies that can take part in this project," he said. In June, Rosatom, Framatome and GE Steam Power signed memorandums of understanding to co-operate in the selection of a strategic investor for the plant's construction.
In December 2019, Bulgaria invited five companies to file binding offers for the Belene project: CNNC, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, Russia's Atomenergoprom, a subsidiary of Rosatom, France's Framatome and US-based General Electric. Preliminary site works at Belene originally began in 2008, and contracts for components including large forgings and I&C systems were signed with suppliers.
Initially, the plant was to be built by Atomstroyexport (part of Rosatom) after Russia won an international tender in 2006, but the project was cancelled in 2012, after a change of government. The project was revived in 2018 after a series of arbitration procedures, which saw Bulgaria pay €601.6 million ($691.5m) in compensation to Atomstroyexport for the equipment already manufactured. These components are now stored at the construction site, and if Bulgaria goes ahead with the project, Atomstroyexport will be the main contractor.
Komarov clarified that Rosatom is considering the possibility of cooperation with European equipment suppliers, but does not plan to include them in the consortium. "The the fact that some company wants to be a supplier does not mean that we will need to formally expand the consortium. The consortium has been signed for three, I think it will remain so, unless something extraordinary happens. But the number of European companies that want to take part in this project is very large," he said.
Komarov explained that the consortium was created, among other things, to attract funding for the project. “In Bulgaria we need to solve several problems - we need to decide how to build a nuclear power plant, we need to solve the problem of how to attract funding. We formed this consortium not only as potential suppliers of this project. We formed it from a number of companies that would be ready not only to bring technology, but also to bring money and provide export financing for the supply of their own part of the equipment and, possibly, even beyond," he said.
Currently, the procedure for choosing an investor Belene has been suspended because of the coronavirus. "Because of pandemic restrictions, potential investors do not have the opportunity to access the data-room, the place where all materials and information about the project are collected. This has already been postponed several times. Let's hope that at some time, the pandemic will stop being such a serious threat and it will be possible to return to normal activities and continue this story," Komarov said.
Speaking more generally, Komarov said Rosatom aims in the near future to keep its portfolio of orders abroad at current level. “We have already accumulated a very decent portfolio of foreign orders, which ranged between $135 billion and $140 billion in recent years. Our main task today is not to increase this portfolio, but to maintain it, because, as you can see, our foreign revenue is growing each year. This means that every year we have secured a certain part of the orders that we signed earlier, which in turn means that our portfolio is shrinking," he said.
Photo: Kirill Komarov is First Deputy Director General for Corporate Development and International Business of ROSATOM