First Deputy Director General for Corporate Development and International Business of ROSATOM Kirill Komarov gave an interview to the magazine of SFEN (France) Revue Generale Nucleare. Here is the text (translated from French).
RGN: What in your opinion is the reason of the success of ROSATOM in external markets?
K. Komarov: The success of ROSATOM in external markets is associated with several mutually reinforcing factors. First of all, the effectiveness of the State Corporation is due to its unique structure. ROSATOM is an integrated company that comprises all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, including the operation of NPP, and is able to offer a range of competencies at every stage of any of the nuclear industry branches. We benefit in the market from the most modern technology of the reactors VVER-1200 of the generation III+. We do not just offer a project, but we always follow the rule of exporting those types of reactors that are appreciated in Russia. The VVER-1200 unit has already been put into operation at Novovoronezh NPP, and a start-up of the first unit of the Leningrad NPP-2 took place at the end of last year. So we can already talk about the batch manufacturing of new generation units and the reliability of the technologies that we offer. In addition to that, ROSATOM understands the specific character of the international market, and is able to offer optimal solutions according to the individual needs of the customer. Except for technology solutions, we can offer the most effective financing model for the customer. For example, some countries that are breaking fresh ground in the field of nuclear energy need the BOO scheme ("build-own-operate"). First of all, our customers are interested in the cost of a kilowatt-hour. It has to be predictable and competitive. We signed a similar contract in Turkey for the Akkuyu NPP, as the model meets the needs of the customer and is the most investment attractive one. According to our estimates, every dollar invested in the project of ROSATOM nuclear power plant produces $ 1.9 revenue to local suppliers plus approximately $ 4.3 to the country's GDP.
Another factor of success is the ability to build relationships with partners. ROSATOM is pleased to attract to its projects the largest foreign companies, building effective and mutually beneficial partnership relations. Finally, the existence of our own government-sponsored program of the development of nuclear energy in Russia raises our reputation in the eyes of foreign customers.
- How do you rate the nuclear energy market (in whole and when it comes to other types of energy, as well as the types of reactors)?
- Nuclear energy is referred to a high technology and considered to be a technology of the future in Russia. Certainly, some European countries renounce the use of nuclear energy gradually. I am talking about Germany, in particular. But among the countries that are really interested in reducing CO2 emissions and are looking for the most effective solutions to solve this global problem, such countries are minority. Recent preliminary data on greenhouse gas emissions in France confirmed that the power shortage from nuclear power plants damages the environment and does not allow to achieve the stated goals in combating climate change. Other types of energy are either not environmentally friendly (fossil energy sources) or insufficiently mature (renewable energy sources) due to generation instability. Accordingly, it is essential to continue investing in nuclear technologies of the future to ensure the reliability and the continuity of electricity generation. Besides, the nuclear energy market is not limited to European countries. Nowadays, nuclear power is the only opportunity to provide fast-growing countries with electricity at affordable prices (that is, comparable to the price of coal generation). This growth is impossible without increasing the share of nuclear energy within the energy consumption of these countries. It is estimated that by 2040, world energy consumption shall have grown by about 40%. That is why we are convinced that the world's nuclear power will develop rapidly, especially in developing countries. As for the types of reactors, this is greatly determined by specific markets. But in general, the most popular reactors will be water moderated reactors of the new generation III+. ROSATOM is the first and only company that commissioned the VVER-1200 unit of the generation III+ at Novovoronezh NPP, and the first start-up of the first LNPP-2 VVER-1200 unit took place at the end of 2017. Thus, we are the first at not only building the first block of generation III+, but at making a production line.
- What do you think about consolidation of China's position? Do you consider China a prospective market?
- We have a positive view of all existing nuclear programs, including those outside of Russia. China became one of the key stakeholders in the nuclear industry. You've made a good point: China is developing rapidly. That is why it really needs a low-carbon energy, capable to ensure the economic growth of the country. The third power unit of Tianwan NPP was commissioned at the end of 2017, which was built in China according to a Russian project with a VVER-1000 reactor. This nuclear power plant has a particular significance for us: Molten-core catchers were installed in VVER reactors for the first time ever. Similar devices are used in EPR reactors. Rosatom is interested in further development of cooperation with Chinese partners in the field of peaceful use of atomic energy and we will be pleased to support the implementation of new joint projects.
- What plans do you have in Europe?
- The nuclear industry is facing a change in a very near future, similar to the one that the aviation industry experienced several decades ago. I am referring to a division between the production of various equipment and components on the one hand, and the integrated design and integration of the nuclear power plant on the other hand. And this tendency influences largely our strategy in Europe.
First of all, we plan to expand the program of our cooperation. We offer a mutually beneficial scheme that consolidates our technologies and will ensure the future of the nuclear industry in Europe and in the world. Rosatom considers Europe as one of its key partners. The European Union is the largest export market for Rosatom. At the same time, European and, in particular, French companies are already taking an active part in our projects, supplying large components. If we put commercial relations aside, we would like to expand cooperation with Europe in the development of new technologies for the nuclear industry, research and innovation in the field of energy in general.