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This blog is aimed at tracing the world news related to nuclear power development internationally and in particular countries. Being an independent resource, we accept all kinds of opinions, positions and comments, and welcome you to discuss the posts and tell us what you think.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Here comes an article briefly scanning the pespectives of nuclear energy development in Russia for the coming years, I translated it out of Russian sources such as www.atominfo.ru

Former prime minister of Russia Sergei Kirienko as current head of “Rosatom” (national atomic energy agency of Russia) looking forward to launch at least two new reactors in Russia each year within a five year period, and the same amount of reactors to be launched abroad by Russian specialists.

As Mr. Kirienko stated in his interview in Russian newspaper “Zawtra” that the security level of Russian atomic reactors has risen several times during the last 20 years. According to him, Russian nuclear power plant is a “totally different machine” comparing to the equipment used once in Chernobyl.

Probably such confidence in the abilities of modern Russian reactors causes Mr. Kirienko’s organization to set its main goals as organizational changes, restructuring of several enterprises, and also several large scale changes within the professional community. Nuclear specialist retire and get replaced by a new generation of economists and managers, keen on financial issues but not being aware of nuclear energy industry peculiarities.

In 2006 there were 42 accidents registered on nuclear power plants in Russia. 89% of those were caused by technical, not human factors. During 2007 the statistics appear to be even more unfavorable for “Rosatom”. Only in July 2007 Kursk nuclear power plant had four cases of decreasing the power of reactors. Atomic agency of Russia blames thunders and generally hot weather, although the personnel of the power plant in their non-official comments speak about the technical failure of the worn-out equipment, and also low labor discipline.

On the other hand, the growth of world prices for oil and gas together with global warming threat causes both developed and underdeveloped countries to think over the “renaissance” of nuclear energy industry. But isn’t the large-scale building of new nuclear power plants bring a danger of new catastrophes able to cancel all the great development plans and literally cross out the entire nuclear industry?

Journalists of Associated Press decided to find out the details about the security issues on the world’s nuclear power plants. How many accidents happened in general, and is there a tendency to decrease their amount? Unfortunately, the journalistic curiosity remained unsatisfied. Official IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) web site removes the data about nuclear accidents from public access once every 6 months, in order not to represent the nuclear states “in a negative angle”.

For instance, Japan still cannot recover from bad news. The owners of Kasiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant were hiding from the public the information about the true scale of damage caused by the earthquake on July 16, 2007. Part of the data was simply lost because of the computerized monitoring systems’ failure. But even the remaining detectors’ indications prove that the Japanese engineers made a miscalculation when considering the maximum possible power of earthquake in the region, which was understated several times.

Japan is currently not planning to launch a large number of new nuclear power plants.

The accident in Japan was commented by “Rosatom” as a “simple concourse of circumstances” (comments published by Russian information agency RIA Novosti). “Rosatom”s experts claimed that the messages about radioactive leakage outside the Kasiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant was “just someone’s unjustified fear and a bunch of emotions”, although the leakage fact was accepted by the owners of the damaged plant themselves.

The situation in “Rosatom” resembles much the USSR right before Chernobyl accident, when the aged members of Politburo decided that nuclear power plants were completely secure. Kremlin did not pay much attention to the vital needs of the atomic industry and started planning a large number of nuclear plants construction, together with reorganization leaving the management of the reactors to non-professionals. Everyone is aware of how it all ended. Isn’t that the same way Kirienko’s team goes now?

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