Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on 20 July signed a decree “On Measures for the Development of Nuclear Energy in the Republic of Uzbekistan”, and a resolution “On the Organisation of the Agency for the Development of Nuclear Energy".
The Agency for the Development of Nuclear Energy (Uzatom), which will report to the Cabinet of Ministers, will be a state administrative body responsible for the development and implementation of a unified state policy and strategic decisions on the development and use of nuclear energy.
A Scientific and Technical and Expert Council will be established within Uzatom, including representatives of the Security Council under the President, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the State State Committee of Ecology and Environmental Protection, the Academy of Sciences, Sanoatgeocontechnazorat, the Ministry of Health, other interested ministries and departments, as well as international experts in nuclear energy development.
The decree envisages the development of a draft law “On the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes” by the end of the year, a draft concept for the development of nuclear energy for 2019-2029, by June 2019, a portfolio of investment projects for the development of nuclear energy by November 2019, and a draft state programme for the development of nuclear energy for the period 2019-2029.
Uzbekistan and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement on nuclear energy cooperation in December 2017, and two working groups have been set up, one relating to nuclear power plant construction and one for scientific and technological development in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan said on 14 July that it had agreed with Russia to jointly build a nuclear plant to reduce dependence on gas and coal. Uzbekistan’s annual electricity requirements, which currently stand at around 69TWh, are met 85% by gas and coal. The remainder is produced by hydropower.
The plan is to commission the power plant by 2028 and ten possible sites have been identified for the plant. However, in late May, the director general of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev, said Uzbekistan plans to build its first nuclear plant in Navoi province. Rosatom has proposed a two unit station featuring VVER-1200 generation III+ reactors.