Back to search results

Portfolio of foreign orders will ‘remain stable’ at $200bn Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev. Russia’s state nuclear energy company Rosatom expects its exports to have increased by 15% this year, director-general Alexey Likhachev was quoted as saying by Russian newspaper Izvestia.

Rosatom’s portfolio of foreign orders is set to remain stable at $200bn (€188bn), “even in the current geopolitical situation”, Likhachev said.

He said the supply of Rosatom products and services abroad is expected to top $10bn this year.

The rise in exports this year is due to contracts Rosatom was already implementing, as well as its supplying of fuel, conversion services, and enriched uranium products, Likhachev said.

Rosatom has avoided sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because of its importance in the supply chain of the global nuclear power industry.

However, many Western governments and customers have been looking to procure alternative nuclear fuel supply so as not to rely on Russia for part of their energy needs.

In the US, Bill Gates’ TerraPower, which is developing advanced small nuclear reactors, is said to be delaying a project to deploy its Natrium plant in Wyoming by at least two years because of a lack of advanced reactor fuel sources outside Russia.

TerraPower said Russia is the only commercial source of the more highly enriched fuel high-assay, low-enriched uranium (Haleu) fuel the Natrium nuclear power plant requires, but sourcing from there is no longer an option.

TerraPower will have to wait for the US supply chain to catch up and the chances that can happen by the company’s 2028 deployment target look slim.

The US DOE has established a consortium to help the US secure a domestic supply of Haleu. The consortium will provide the secretary of energy with Haleu demand estimates for domestic commercial use, buy Haleu for commercial use, carry out demonstration projects using Haleu and identify opportunities to improve the reliability of the Haleu supply chain.

Advanced Fuels Critical For New Reactors

The DOE said there is a very limited domestic capacity to provide Haleu from either DOE or commercial sources. This presents a significant obstacle to the development and deployment of advanced reactors and increases the risk of private investment to develop an assured supply of Haleu or to support the infrastructure required to produce it.

According to Wyoming Republican senator John Barrasso, the US lacks a domestic enrichment capability needed to produce the Haleu needed for advanced reactors, including demonstration projects that have already received billions in funding from Congress.

Advanced fuels such as those that use Haleu are seen as the most critical element in the design of advanced nuclear reactors, which need a robust fuel that can withstand very high temperatures without

Barrasso also said that in 2021 Russia supplied 14% of the uranium needed to fuel the US’ fleet of commercial nuclear reactors and was tied with Australia as the country’s third-largest supplier of uranium. He said despite numerous sanctions related to Moscow’s “brutal” invasion of Ukraine, no sanctions have been imposed on Russia’s uranium industry.

“As we continue working to eliminate imports of Russian uranium, a focused strategic investment in the domestic nuclear fuel supply chain is imperative.”

Date: Thursday, 29 December 2022
Original article: