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 Russia maintains its grip on global nuclear energy landscape

Increasing use of atomic power would not necessarily free economies from Moscow’s
influence. Faced with a global energy crisis and a race to slash emissions,
advanced economies are starting to reconsider nuclear power after a period
of declining investment. The incentive is all the greater among European
countries, which are urgently seeking to move away from Russian fossil
fuels to starve the Kremlin of funds for its assault on Ukraine.

But an atomic shift does not necessarily free a country from energy dependence on
Russia, given the scale of the country’s presence in the nuclear sector.

There were 437 operational reactors around the world as of 2021 excluding
those suspended, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. About
10 per cent or 42 reactors outside of Russia were using Soviet-designed
VVER technology, with others using designs from countries including the US,
Canada, Germany and France.

Ukraine has by far the largest number of VVER
fleets outside Russia, with all 15 of its operating reactors using the
technology, with the Czech Republic next on six. Similarly, of the 52
reactors currently being built around the world excluding Russia, 21 use
VVER. China, India and Turkey have the largest number with 4 each, with
countries like Bangladesh, Egypt and Iran also taking in Russian

The prevalence of Russian-designed reactors currently being
built is in part a matter of timing, according to Jonathan Cobb, analyst at
the World Nuclear Association, who said “the Russian reactor programme
itself was very active” over the past decade when many of the contracts
for these projects were signed.

Russia was also the seventh-largest
producer of uranium in 2021. State-owned Rosatom accounts for about 40 per
cent of the world’s uranium enrichment capacity, making it a crucial
supplier as most nuclear power stations use enriched fuel.

 FT 13th Nov 2022


November 12, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, Russia

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