Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Will Russia Need More Uranium?

Kiriyenko Says Russia Needs Another 40 Nuclear Reactors
Moscow Times
February 2, 2006
by Vladimir Isachenkov
Associated Press

Russia's atomic energy chief said Wednesday that the nation needs to build dozens of nuclear reactors in a massive effort that would require restoring production links with related facilities in other ex-Soviet nations.

Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said Russia needed to build about 40 new nuclear reactors in order to bring the share of nuclear energy in the nation's energy balance to 25 percent, news agencies reported.

Note: that's the number of nuclear reaectors that China is building in the next 20 years.

Nuclear power now accounts for 16 to 17 percent of the country's electricity generation.

"We need to build two nuclear reactors per year beginning in 2011 or 2012," to achieve the goal, Kiriyenko said in the Siberian city of Zheleznogorsk, site of a major nuclear waste storage facility.

Note: again, China is building two reactors a year. Still, 2011 is a good five years away

About Kiriyenko: Sergei Vladilenovich Kiriyenko served as Prime Minister, the second-highest position in Russia government, from his appointment to the post by Boris Yeltsin on March 23, 1998 to August 23 of the same year. Prior to his nomination as Prime Minister, Kiriyenko was minister of energy. An influential man.

Russia has 31 nuclear reactors and plans to open three new commercial nuclear reactors over the next five years and to upgrade existing ones.

In recent years, Russia has overcome a public backlash against nuclear power that followed the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the government has supported an ambitious program to develop its nuclear industry.

Kiriyenko also said Russia would need to restore production ties with nuclear-related industries in other ex-Soviet states, which once were run by the obliquely named Soviet Medium Machine-Building Ministry.

"We need to use the resources of the Medium Machine-Building Ministry left in other ex-Soviet nations to the maximum extent possible," he said.

While major nuclear-related industrial facilities are located in Russia, Kazakhstan is home to key uranium mining facilities and Ukraine manufactures turbines for nuclear power plants.

Analysis: The United States-Russia HEU Agreement to defuse warheads and turn enriched uranium into nuclear power plant-grade uranium lasts until 2013. Of the 500 metric tons of HEU agreed on to be transferred, 262 metric tons have already been delivered. Low uranium production has been supplemented by the HEU for years, at the tune of 10-12,000 short tons of uranium. Even then the deficit will steadily rise. If Russia goes on and builds more nuclear reactors, when that HEU agreement expires, you can guarantee that there won't be another one.


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