By Zeynep Beyza Karabay and Andrew Jay Rosenbaum/ Ankara
Russia has become a world leader in nuclear technology, after considerable investment in research and development, experts say.
According to research by the World Nuclear Association released in March 2015, Russia is “moving steadily forward with plans for much expanded role of nuclear energy, including development of new reactor technology.”
“The efficiency of nuclear generation in Russia has increased dramatically since the mid-1990s. Over 20nuclear power reactors are confirmed or planned for export construction,” the association says.
” Russia is a world leader in fast neutron reactor technology, and exports ofnuclear goods and services are a major Russian policy and economic objective,” the association says.
With over $100 billion worth of international nuclear projects underway, Russian technology is preferred for its cheaper price, safety and willingness to share knowledge.
Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear company, has 29 nuclear projects around the world and aims to increase the number to 34 through agreements currently being negotiated. The latest deal was struck with Jordan to build its first nuclear plant, worth $10 billion, on March 24.
Canada’s AECL, French Areva and Japan’s Mitsubishi are among Rosatom’s competitors, although Sergey Kondratyev, head of economics at the Institute for Energy and Finance, believes the Russian company’s biggest advantage is that it offers lower costs.”
The U.S. doesn’t want its allies, France, Japan and Canada, to share its nuclear knowledge or technology know-how with developing countries, Kondratyev said and added, “the U.S. is concerned that developing countries will build weapons with the nuclear technology and is pressuring its allies to prevent the transfer of nuclear knowledge to such countries,” Kondratyev said.
Whereas Russa follows a policy open to exchanging nuclear knowledge and helps to establish anuclear industry in desiring countries, he said.
Russia is chosen for its elevated security standards in nuclear technology, as well as for its long history and stable image, said Ivan Kapitonov, an academic at Russia’s RANHIGS University.
Control room of the Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant
“All Russia’s projects are multi-layered and designed to withstand various risks such as plane crashes and terrorist attacks,” Kapitonov said.
Dmitriy Baranov, economy analyst at Finam Management in Moscow, said ” Russia is seen as a country rich in natural sources but is behind in technology and itsnuclear projects provide a platform to show the world the technology it possesses.”
“The plants are also economically profitable and helps the country develop its global image while earning billions of dollars,” Baranov said.
There are 437 active nuclear plants in 31 countries around the globe and 68 projects under construction in 14 countries.
Russia has 10 active nuclear plants and 33 power reactors and seven new plants are under construction. The reactors make up 20 percent of the country’s electricity consumption.