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Russia's Rosatom and the Norilsk Nickel are to study possible options and sites for a small nuclear power reactor.

(Image: Rosatom)

The agreement, signed by Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev (above right) and Nornickel President Vladimir Potanin (above left) will also consider the infrastructure that will be required for construction and operation of any new plant.

The development of the Norilsk industrial region and Norilsk Nickel means that more electricity generation will be needed beyond 2030, said Potanin.

He added: "The solution could be a nuclear power plant - a safe source of energy with minimal impact on the environment. Cooperation with Rosatom will allow Norilsk Nickel to gain access to advanced energy technologies, and ... develop the use of low-power nuclear power plants in remote regions of Russia."

Likhachev said the option of a small modular reactor (SMR) plant "based on the latest RITM-400 reactor unit" may be the priority as they consider the most suitable project for the region.

He added that the state corporation's projects "offer a reliable source of electricity with long-term predictable tariffs for consumers. In addition, nuclear energy can make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change due to the absence of CO2 emissions during the energy generation process, which is extremely important for the northern territories of our country". This meant such energy solutions were "in demand for large industrial consumers".

The energy system for the remote region is a standalone one run by Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, part of the Norilsk Nickel group. The city of Norilsk is within the Arctic circle in Russia's north, and has a population of more than 170,000 people.

The proposed RITM-400 is an 80 or 90 MW pressurised water reactor and would follow on from the RITM-200 reactors, based on the reactors used in the newest fleet of nuclear icebreakers.

Rosatom is already in the process of implementing a project to build an SMR in Yakutia, also in northern Russia, which will be used for industrial enterprises in the minerals industries as well as wider development of the region. Last week Rosatom's scientific and technical council approved the design of the RITM-200N - 190 MWt/55 MWe -  proposed for the pilot facility in Yakutia, which is planned to be commissioned in 2028.

MMC Norilsk Nickel describes itself as "a diversified mining and metallurgical company, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper. The company also produces cobalt, rhodium, silver, gold, iridium, ruthenium, selenium, tellurium and other products", and is listed on the Moscow and on the Saint-Petersburg Stock Exchanges.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 14 November 2023
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Agreement-to-consider-SMR-for-Norlisk-region