Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom has signed a cooperation agreement with the country's Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities, or Minstroy. The document was signed yesterday by Rosatom general director Sergey Kirienko and the head of the ministry, Mikhail Men.

The agreement aims to "motivate" efficiency and provides for the introduction of innovative technologies in capital construction work at nuclear facilities, as well as the development of costing systems for such work and cooperation in training personnel.

"The purpose of signing the agreement is the formation of a strategic partnership between the two agencies for joint development of the regulatory framework in construction, including high-tech facilities," Minstroy said.

Minstroy, which said it serves as a regulator of the construction industry, is working to improve Russia's regulatory framework and incorporate international experience, such as Eurocodes. Eurocodes are a set of harmonized technical rules developed by the European Committee for Standardization for the structural design of construction works in the European Union.

"We are interested in studying the experience of [Rosatom] in reducing the cost of facilities and the use of new technologies for competitive selection of participants in the construction process," Men said in the Minstroy statement. "This work has already begun, but today it has been formalized with an agreement."

As part of the agreement, Rosatom and the ministry have launched a program to cut the cost and time of the corporation's construction work. They have so far identified five of six pilot projects for the program. These are the Hanhikivi, Akkuyu and Kursk 2 nuclear power plant projects in Finland, Turkey and Russia, respectively; the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant used fuel reprocessing reactor complex being built at the Mayak site; and the multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) being developed at the site of the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) at Dmitrovgrad in Russia's Ulyanovsk region.

Kirienko said the six projects represented different areas of Rosatom's work - nuclear power plant construction, fuel reprocessing and scientific research – but that the first of these was "the main thing for us" and thus three of the projects were new reactor construction projects in three different countries. He emphasized the "scale" of these three projects, stating that the value of the Turkish project alone was $20 billion.

Rosatom will invest more than RUB320 billion ($7.1 billion) in capital construction work in 2015. "This is more than 300 projects, more than 60,000 specialist construction workers, who are now on our construction sites," Kirienko said. "So for us, it is crucial how efficiently run this work is."

A working group comprising representatives of Rosatom and Minstroy, as well as other government departments, is to be created to oversee implementation of the agreement.

Source: World Nuclear News