Russia is Interested in Building Tiny Nuclear Power Plants

According to three individuals acquainted with the Russian government’s decision, the Russian government has agreed to invest about 80 million rubles ($1.09 billion) for Rosatom‘s initiative to build low-power nuclear power plants (NPPs) in 2021-2024, Kommersant writes.

The budget will provide 24 billion rubles ($326.9 million) to the state business, while the National Wealth Fund will provide another 55.9 billion rubles ($761.49 million) (NWF). The first modest nuclear power plants will be developed in Russia, but the state firm plans to enter the worldwide market after that. Analysts caution that export prospects are unclear due to the high cost of modest nuclear production.

Rosatom need small nuclear power plants (up to 300 MW) to increase its export portfolio. According to state corporation projections, demand for small nuclear power plants will increase, reaching 23 GW in 2025-2040 among potential consumers – Latin American, African, Asian, and Eastern European nations. Rosatom aspires to be a market leader, capturing 20% of the market by 2030.

So far, only one tiny nuclear power station in the world is operational: the Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power plant in Chukotka (70 MW).

The major issue, according to Vladimir Sklyar of VTB Capital, would be the entire cost of constructing such locations. Small NPP projects now cost an excessive $5,000-7,000 per 1 kW, taking into consideration the expenses of arranging the nuclear waste management system, the expert noted, substantially outbidding renewable energy initiatives, particularly wind production.

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