Nuclear Race: Rosatom has an important advantage over the USA

The USA declared Russia another “energy war”. Now, in addition to the struggle for hydrocarbon markets, the objects of US sanctions may be the projects of Rosatom, as well as Chinese nuclear energy.

What should the next attacks on our country be indicative of?

On the eve of the US Department of Energy, a report was issued in which it actually recognized that the “hegemon” had lost its leadership position in nuclear energy compared with Russia and China. The conclusions presented in it may well be considered a declaration of war:

The US government will enter markets dominated by state-owned companies in Russia and China, and will restore our position as a world leader in exporting the best of technologies in the field of nuclear energy, and at the same time strict non-proliferation standards.

From the point of view of the White House, the situation was unacceptable. The United States was indeed one of the world leaders in the field of peaceful atom, but in the era of globalism, they seriously lost ground. Since the mid-nineties, only one power unit was built, numerous existing nuclear power plants are gradually developing their resources, and this is 97 operating reactors. The United States is not building the so-called “fast” reactors now, unlike Russia or China. In our country, for example, BN-800, BREST-300 and MBIR, which Rosatom is engaged in, in China - CDFR-600.

At the same time, the collapse of the USSR played a cruel joke with the United States itself. It turned out that the Russian (Soviet) technology for the enrichment of uranium, from which nuclear fuel is made, is more economically profitable than American than the latter have used. As part of the 1993 HEU-LEU deal, domestic weapons-grade uranium was converted to low enriched fuel for foreign nuclear power plants. After that, 20% of the quota was introduced for the supply of Russian fuel to the US market. Rosatom even intended to build an enrichment plant in America, but the European concern URENCO received permission instead.

As a result, URENCO USA accounts for 48% of the nuclear fuel market, the remaining 52% to other foreign suppliers. The hegemon does not have its own national uranium enrichment enterprises: old plants are closed, new ones have not yet been built. At the same time, local producers complain that the share of raw material production in the USA itself has fallen from 49% to 5%, now they demand that Donald Trump introduce a quota for US uranium of 25%.

In general, there are obvious problems and a serious lag, which is unacceptable for the president, who proclaimed the slogan on the return of America to its former greatness. At the same time, competitors did not lose time in vain. For example, 48 power units are already operating in China, of which 45 were commissioned in just the last 20 years, when the development of these technologies in the United States actually stopped. Note that Beijing acts in a very original way: at home, the Chinese trust the French, Americans and Russians to build nuclear power plants, and they promote their own designed reactors in the markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

But so far, Moscow is still the main rival for Washington. Rosatom has a major competitive advantage by providing a turnkey nuclear power plant project: from construction and staff training to after-sales service and spent fuel utilization. Thanks to this, the state corporation is actively promoting its services around the world.

In this case, I would like to draw attention to one promising project called “TVS-Square”. This is a direct response to the attempt to expand Westinghouse into traditional Russian markets in Eastern Europe and Ukraine. Domestic square-section fuel assemblies can also be installed in future in American-made reactors, which could not but cause concern at the US Department of Energy.

Knowing policies Washington, there is no doubt that it will begin to use all its sanctions capabilities to weaken the positions of Russia and China in the peaceful atom market.
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  • Photos used: RIA Novosti / Alexey Danichev / CC-BY-SA 3.0 /
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  1. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
    steelmaker April 25 2020 12: 57
    Russia is building all nuclear power plants abroad for its own credit. The payback period is 25-30 years. Therefore, the US of Russia is not a competitor.
    1. Badger Offline Badger
      Badger (Dmitriy) 1 May 2020 09: 55
      All countries are building this way or according to a very close scheme. The construction of such an object is very expensive, and very few can pay for everything.
      Russia is building on a turnkey basis, as described in the article, and this gives us greater advantages than others, we benefit now, and especially in the future.
  2. 123 Offline 123
    123 (123) April 25 2020 19: 14
    Since the time of the unforgettable Mikhail Sergeevich in the United States for 13 years, reactors have not been built at all. If I am not mistaken, currently 2 reactors are under construction, South Korea is operating. Themselves have forgotten how. Here is such a "leader" of technological development. What kind of war can they declare? Unless they continue to shit in small ways, putting pressure on potential customers, that's how they do it anyway. An example is the Bulgarians.
  3. boriz Offline boriz
    boriz (boriz) April 25 2020 20: 58
    The United States has truly been one of the world leaders in the field of peaceful atom, ...

    And where is this seen? The United States has never had uranium enrichment with industrial centrifuges. For decades, experiments and, sometimes, pilot production with centrifuges, a maximum of the third generation, have been conducted. In Russia, the 9th generation centrifuge is now in industrial use.
    What is happening in the USA right now is hysteria, from the realization that they are forever behind Russia. And Russia in the next 30 years, at least, will not be able to catch up with anyone in the world.
    Germany sends us the remnants of uranium hexafluoride, from which 235 uranium can no longer be extracted, and pays money for this, as for the disposal of nuclear waste. And Russian nuclear scientists load it into their centrifuges and continue to pull out 235 uranium from there. Because our centrifuges allow us to extract more of this uranium, due to higher characteristics. That is, it is not necessary to extract uranium from the earth, it is not necessary to make hexafluoride from it.
    And then, when uranium is not already liberated in our centrifuges, uranium 239 is isolated and used in MOX TVEL, in the form of a ballast. MOX fuel is the know-how of our nuclear scientists. When the MOX TVEL fulfills its life in the reactor, a significant part of uranium 239 is converted to uranium 235 and can be passed through centrifuges and used as fuel in reactors. It turns out to be an almost closed cycle.
    The rest of the world is very far from this. For the United States, this is simply unattainable.
    They are used to being the coolest or making others work for themselves. And now the world is changing, you have to pay for everything. Pay with real money, not green candy wrappers. But real money must still be able to earn. But there are problems with this, not used to it, sir.
  4. Konstantin Brykov (Konstantin Brykov) April 26 2020 09: 31
    Russia is a recognized world leader in nuclear energy. And the USA is nobody!) Everything that once could do and build is in the past. Competencies are confused, and collecting their business is not easy. About 20 years they did not build anything and did not design a suitable one.
  5. Oyo Sarkazmi Offline Oyo Sarkazmi
    Oyo Sarkazmi (Oyo Sarkazmi) April 26 2020 15: 29
    Information for the author: Westinghouse is 100% owned by Rosatom.
    1. T. Henks Offline T. Henks
      T. Henks (Igor) 1 May 2020 09: 56
      Why then are assemblies getting into editors in Ukraine so badly? And why is Westinghouse bankrupt?
      1. Oyo Sarkazmi Offline Oyo Sarkazmi
        Oyo Sarkazmi (Oyo Sarkazmi) 1 May 2020 18: 03
        He went bankrupt 4 years ago when Toshiba sold him. Rosatom bought and received all patent rights for square fuel elements. What you need to sell uranium in the United States.