Russian uranium trap
In March, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said for the first time since the start of the war that Moscow could limit the supply of uranium, a radioactive metal used to produce nuclear fuel, to Western countries. The announcement came against the backdrop of repeated assurances from Rosatom, the state nuclear energy corporation, of its reliability as a partner and impeccable performance of contract terms. Gazprom said the same thing shortly before it limited , and in some countries (for example, Denmark and the Netherlands) completely stopped gas supplies.
Rosatom did not so openly blackmail the countries of the West, but one can hardly expect any other behavior from the state corporation in a similar situation. Restricting uranium supplies could lead to the fact that both the United States and other countries will lose raw materials for their own production of nuclear fuel, and this will provoke interruptions in the operation of reactors around the world, the US Department of Energy said .
“We have the largest nuclear fleet in the world, and currently we do not have the ability to fuel all of our reactors,” said Assistant Secretary of Energy Katherine Huff.
The fact is that, although Rosatom accounts for only 6% of the world's uranium production, the corporation controls more than 45% of the world market for its processing and enrichment - the processes necessary to use natural material as fuel at nuclear power plants. The European Union buys about 40% of enriched uranium from Russia and Kazakhstan. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary and Slovakia depend on fuel supplied by Rosatom.
The situation is difficult in the US. Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan provide about half of the US's total uranium needs, with some of Kazakhstan's uranium also going through Rosatom. Experts have previously warned that such dependence threatens national security and diversification of supplies and processing is necessary. However, not only was not enough done in this direction, but even vice versa. Thus, in the 1990s, the United States liquidated its own enrichment industry. It was not expected to be needed after the 1993 HEU-LEU Agreement, or "Great Uranium Deal", as part of the disarmament program. The agreement between Moscow and Washington provided that the United States would receive fuel for nuclear power plants from the supply of Soviet weapons-grade uranium, which would be converted to low-enriched uranium before shipment.
Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan provide about half of the entire US demand for uranium
In the case of uranium, world leaders failed to appreciate the real danger of dependence on Moscow. If Russia nevertheless restricts supplies, it will take Western countries by surprise. However, Rosatom also has other means of influencing foreign states with the help of a peaceful atom.
Hostage at Rosatom
The state corporation Rosatom, according to its own data, controls over 70% of the world market for nuclear power plant exports and is currently building 35 power units in 12 countries. Of these, only seven are being actively built: in India, Bangladesh, Turkey, China and Russia. These are the so-called NPPs of Russian design, which are based on pressurized water reactors - VVER-1200 and VVER-440. It is them that Rosatom considers as promising models with an eye on mass production.
As a rule, along with the construction of a nuclear power plant, a contract is signed for the supply of Russian nuclear fuel to TVEL, a subsidiary of Rosatom's fuel company. The country that signed the contract for the construction of the Rosatom nuclear power plant becomes dependent on Russian fuel, specialists and technologies for decades, experts say. It is also necessary to carry out service maintenance and train local specialists with the participation of Russia. Converting Soviet or Russian nuclear power plants to European and American equipment is extremely difficult and expensive. This feature is a problem for the customer countries, but for Rosatom and the Russian authorities it is a huge advantage that can be used as a powerful political lever.
Kazakh political scientist Dosym Saltaev stated that “a state that pushes its nuclear reactor to another state expects to bind its partner for many years with various obligations”:
"The biggest threat is not the radiation hazard of nuclear power plants, but the 'embrace of Russia'."
Asset Nauryzbaev, a Kazakhstani expert in the field of energy and economics, believes that in the case of a Russian supplier, they will certainly fulfill all his commands:
“In the case of the West, it is a little easier, you can move forward there. However, with the Russian supplier, we will definitely be tied to Rosatom, to its technology for the production of fuel rods. Accordingly, this is of great political importance, because it will become a powerful lever of pressure: either we have to buy fuel for 25 years and store it at home, but what money is that! Or periodically get up before the question of where to get fuel.
Attraction of unprecedented generosity: your nuclear power plant for our money
Rosatom succeeds in persuading potential customers with the help of incredibly attractive conditions that other states do not offer. The state corporation is building nuclear power plants under a system of state loans covering 100% of the project cost, that is, it is ready to build the plant using funds from the Russian budget. It makes no sense for the customer countries to abandon the nuclear power plant at the expense of foreign taxpayers' money.
For the Russian economy, such contracts carry huge risks and are economically inefficient. Loans are often interest-free or at a nominal rate. The risk of return is high. But since foreign expansion has more political than economic meaning for Russia, the authorities are ready to turn a blind eye to the costs in favor of future foreign policy benefits.
For Rosatom, foreign expansion has more political than economic meaning
“Nigeria, Bangladesh, Vietnam will gladly allow you to build a nuclear power plant. Bring your money, your technologies, then return your investments for 30 years from the tariff,” said Konstantin Simonov, director of the Energy Security Fund.
In Hungary, Rosatom was going to build the Paks-2 nuclear power plant, mainly at the expense of a state loan in the amount of 10 billion euros. In Finland, during the construction of the Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power plant, worth 6.5 billion euros, the Russian state corporation assumed most of the financial risks, namely 5 billion euros. Half of these funds were planned to be received from the National Welfare Fund. Rosatom was unable to get any tax breaks or other preferences for itself, but was ready for any conditions - just to build a nuclear power plant in Finland.
But the most impressive attraction of unprecedented generosity "Rosatom" staged in Turkey. There, the Akkuyu NPP is being built at the expense of an interest-free state loan in the amount of more than 20 billion euros. The station is built according to the BOO principle (build - own - operate, or "build - own - operate"). It belongs to a Turkish legal entity whose founders are companies from Russia. The Russian side will support the project at all stages: from design to its decommissioning. The agreement was concluded without financial obligations from Turkey. The Russian budget will have to pay for everything: for the disposal of radioactive waste, and for the training of Turkish personnel in Russia, and for the decommissioning of reactors. All this can cost about the same amount as the construction of a nuclear power plant. Eliminate the consequences of the accident, if it occurs, will also have to be paid for by Russian taxpayers, and here the amount can be infinitely huge.
“Nowhere in the world are nuclear power plants being built according to the “build-own-operate” scheme with a fixed cost of selling electricity in dollars set for 25 years in advance. And not a single state export credit agency (USA, France, Korea, etc.) gives its money for free: today the loan rate is at least 4-5%, ” wrote Bulat Nigmatullin, former Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation for Atomic Energy, demanding terminate the agreement.
Not surprisingly, Ankara did not join the sanctions against Russia, and also abstained from voting on the suspension of Russia's rights in the Council of Europe. He condemned the sanctions and Bangladesh, where Russia is also building the Rooppur nuclear power plant.
At the same time, the construction of Akkuyu will make Turkey much more dependent on Russia for decades. The launch of the nuclear power plant will provide approximately 10% of the energy consumption of the entire republic, despite the fact that Ankara also receives half of the required volume of gas from Russia. According to the head of Rosatom, the state corporation plans to stay there for up to 100 years.
Scandal at Akkuyu NPP
Moscow and Ankara signed an agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant in 2010. At the same time, it was agreed that the main contractor of the station should be a Russian-Turkish joint venture (JV), but this year Rosatom tried to remove the Turkish company from the construction process.
The general customer of the Akkuyu project was Rosatom's subsidiary, JSC Akkuyu Nuclear, which was specially established in Turkey to manage the project. The main contractor for construction, technical consulting services and equipment supplies was the Russian-Turkish joint venture Titan-2 IC Ictas. It was established by the Russian Titan-2 Concern and the Turkish İçtas Inşaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş, the leader of the Turkish infrastructure market. It was İçtas Inşaat that performed most of the work at the nuclear power plant. And it was her that Rosatom suspended from work in July. Passes were blocked for all employees of the company, and work actually stopped.
İçtas Inşaat called the actions of the Russian side unlawful and stated that this is how Akkuyu Nuclear is trying to reduce the presence of Turkish companies in the project, leaving them at the level of subcontractors. İçtas Inşaat applied to the court, which ruled to seal the company's equipment to protect it. However, the Russian employees at the station broke the seals and tried to appropriate the equipment, replacing the serial numbers and names on it.
Later it became known that Rosatom's Akkuyu Nuclear replaced the Turkish İçtas Inşaat with TSM Enerji, established by three Russian companies: Titan-2 (49% of shares), Installation and Construction Department No. 90 (25.5% of shares) and Sosnovoborelektromontazh (25.5%). Thus, the construction management was transferred from Russian-Turkish to a completely Russian contractor.
The Turkish edition of Tele 1 reported that the consequences of breaking the contract for Ankara were tangible. The daily production of concrete decreased from the limit of 2.5-3 thousand to 200-300 cubic meters. From 7,000 to 10,000 qualified builders stopped work. But most importantly, the construction time under this regime automatically increased by 1–2 years. This brought down the plans of Recep Tayyip Erdogan to solemnly launch block No. 1 on the eve of the centenary of the founding of the Turkish Republic and use this occasion as an electoral asset in 2023.
Rosatom called numerous violations by the Turkish company as the formal reason for terminating the contract. However, according to analysts, the threat of exclusion of the company was an attempt to pressure Ankara to force Turkish companies to buy out 49% in the Akkuyu project and thus take over part of the construction financing. According to an intergovernmental agreement, the station was to be built at the expense of a Russian state loan, but the document also provides for the possibility of selling a stake in the project to foreign investors. Negotiations about this went on for several years, but in the end, all Turkish companies refused to participate. The inclusion of the Turkish side would ease the burden of financing for Moscow, which became especially important after February 24 and a series of sanctions strikes on the financial sector, when it became difficult to find funds for the next tranche of Russia. However, the Turkish side was in no hurry to invest - now because of the crisis in its own economy.
Presumably, at the talks in Sochi, Erdogan was able to convince Putin to continue Russian funding in full. However, in return, he had to agree to Moscow's condition to replace the Russian-Turkish contractor with a company that is already fully controlled by Russian legal entities. That is, to make a decision that, according to Turkish opposition politicians, puts the country's national security at high risk.
After the meeting in Sochi, Akkuyu Nuclear announced the re-signing of the contract with the suspended İçtas Inşaat. According to sources, this helped Erdogan save face by returning "his" company to the project. However, in fact, her participation in the construction of block No. 1 and its launch was excluded. Whether the company will build other Akkuyu reactors is still unknown.
Expansion for budgets
The “build-own-operate” principle is still rather an exception, says engineer-physicist, expert of the Radioactive Waste Safety program Andrey Ozharovsky. In his opinion, Rosatom itself pursues the interests of developing the state budget:
“Rosatom benefits from any order for nuclear power plants. There is no growth in demand for electricity within the country, we now have its overproduction, at least in the European part, because industrial production is not growing. Therefore, they need orders from abroad.” The expert does not rule out that the narrative of political expansion may be used by Rosatom itself in an attempt to obtain funding or assistance from the Russian authorities in organizing agreements with the leaders of countries for the construction of nuclear power plants.
Ozharovsky does not believe in the theory that Rosatom projects can become powerful elements of political influence. Whatever the Kremlin's intention, nuclear power plants are primarily energy facilities owned by other countries and operating within their legal framework. States, if there is political will, have the opportunity to diversify fuel supplies, as was done with the Zaporozhye NPP:
“Of course, the presence of an enterprise on the territory of another state is always some kind of influence. But I would not say that this is precisely the decisive influence, I just do not know any examples. I believe it doesn't work. It cannot be said that we can turn off the Loviisa plant in Finland or the Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant, which operate on Russian fuel.”
How the "Russian world" penetrated the peaceful atom
The external expansion of Rosatom may have several fundamental tasks: entering the mass production of reactors, acting as Putin’s “second energy cudgel” and providing corruption schemes that allow them to master the budget and enrich themselves, says an energy expert who worked in Ukraine with representatives of Rosatom Konstantin Batozsky.
The idea of foreign expansion in its current form is associated with the name of Sergei Kiriyenko, who headed the Federal Atomic Energy Agency from 2005 to 2016. One of his tasks was the creation of a "conveyor model" of VVER reactors, which they could not achieve in the USSR. To do this, Rosatom needed a large portfolio of orders, which could not be provided exclusively by internal projects. According to Batozsky, this is how the ambitious idea appeared - to return to the world market and actively sell Russian reactors:
“This idea fit well with Putin's paranoia, which had already appeared by 2005, and gave rise to the idea of using nuclear energy as a“ second energy cudgel ”after Gazprom. At the same time, Sergei Kiriyenko's consultant, methodologist Petr Shchedrovitsky developed an ideology for this ideology. According to it, a nuclear power plant is not just an energy facility, but an instrument of the presence of the state. Such a continuation of the idea of the “Russian world”.
The idea "went" to Vladimir Putin. He gave Kiriyenko carte blanche to implement foreign nuclear projects, and also attracted Vnesheconombank, the supervisory board of which Putin headed when he was prime minister of the Russian Federation. However, it turned out that the countries of Eastern Europe are afraid to work with Russia, because there is a chance sooner or later to get a "Russian club". Then exceptional conditions and propaganda were used. Rosatom began sponsoring all kinds of scientific conferences, symposiums and events. The Corporation actively used the tools of "soft power", while not forgetting to master the state budget and use the system of state lending for projects abroad.
Batozsky claims that it was then that the scheme for embezzlement of budget funds arose:
“VEB.RF (until 2018 - Vnesheconombank) lends to foreign construction projects, Rosatom builds. So that everything is as easy as possible for the buyer countries. You do not spend anything, just sign a contract for a hundred years, we will build everything with our own money, and you will receive electricity at a fixed price for the first 20 years.”
Hungarian project lobbyists
Where the construction of nuclear power plants faces opposition, Rosatom attracts lobbyists. Their methods of work are most indicative of the example of Hungary, where the negotiations on the Paks-2 project were fruitless for a long time.
The Paks-2 project includes the construction of the 5th and 6th VVER-1200 reactors in the area of the Paks nuclear power plant built back in the 70s. Four VVER-440 reactors are currently operating there. An agreement in principle on the construction of Paks-2 was reached in 2013. According to The Insider's source, this happened not without efforts on the part of one of the main lobbyists of the Russian presence in Hungary - Ukrainian and Russian crime boss Semyon Mogilevich, who was included in the FBI's list of the most wanted people in the world and who could provide Russia with compromising evidence on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban . According to The Insider, this could explain the pro-Russian "turn" of the Hungarian prime minister in 2009.
In early 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Due to the risk of imposing sanctions against Rosatom, the Paks-2 project became practically unfeasible. Then the state corporation sent Alexander Merten and Vadim Titov to Hungary, they had to lobby the project until its implementation. Both are called henchmen of the deputy head of Rosatom Kirill Komarov. A source from The Insider said that money was flowing through them through non-transparent schemes to Hungary and other countries where Rosatom operated:
“Rosatom allocated a certain amount of money for charitable purposes in Moscow in favor of some ANO - an autonomous non-profit organization, there have always been a million of them around Rosatom. This office poured money into some kind of laying company in Ukraine, for example, for marketing, sociological research or other services. And now the Russian budget ruble for a small percentage turns into a cash dollar in Ukraine. And then this dollar from Ukraine is transformed in the same easy way into a cash euro in Budapest.”
Merten currently holds the position of director for the construction of nuclear power plants in Hungary. Previously, he worked in Ukraine, in particular, he closed transactions for the acquisition of Kherson and Chernomorsky shipyards by oligarch Vadim Novinsky. Sources call him a friend of the operating director of Rosatom, Kirill Komarov, and his unofficial "purse". Even before the agreement with Hungary, Komarov made him vice president of Rusatom Overseas, a subsidiary of Rosatom that oversees foreign projects.
According to the source of The Insider, at the same time, Merten was given a large-scale task - to lobby for the purchase by Rosatom of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator, NNEGC Energoatom:
“Rosatom wanted to buy the Ukrainian Energoatom under Yanukovych because Ukraine is the biggest market for Russia, there are 15 reactors and everyone needs fuel. But the purchase of the enterprise was prevented, in particular, by the presence of Yuriy Nedashkovsky, head of Energoatom, who consistently prevented the growth of Russian influence, diversified nuclear fuel supplies and did everything in his power to bring the Americans to the Ukrainian market.”
It was Merten who achieved the dismissal of Nedashkovsky and the appointment of Nikita Konstantinov to the post of head of the Ukrainian Energoatom, who fled Ukraine in 2014 and since then has been working in senior positions in the Russian Rosenergoatom. However, it was still not possible to close the deal to acquire Energoatom. According to the source, "Yanukovych's natural greed" got in the way.
Vadim Titov heads the private company Rusatom - International Network. The source calls him “an employee from the orbit of one of Kiriyenko’s favorite methodologists, Pyotr Shchedrovitsky,” the very one who introduced the understanding of nuclear power plants as an element of Russia’s presence. Titov knows English well and can work fluently in it, which is rather an exception in the Russian nuclear industry. In Hungary, he was engaged in correspondence with the European regulator, which since 2013 has prevented the issuance of a license for the construction of the Rosatom nuclear power plant. According to the source, “Titov fought him [the European regulator] on the paper front for 9 years.”
What countries is Rosatom looking at
Moscow is very persistent in offering the construction of reactors, and in precisely those countries where the Kremlin considers it necessary and possible to strengthen the Russian presence. First of all, these are states neighboring Russia. Vladimir Putin twice - in 2019 and 2021 - publicly proposed the construction of a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also reported on the talks, but no decisions have been made so far. A contract with Uzbekistan has not been concluded either, although it was expected to be signed as early as 2019. It seems that the attack on Ukraine has forced the Central Asian states to reconsider whether to accept the "embrace of Russia."
Judging by Lavrov's recent African tour, isolated Moscow will try to sell more reactors in Asia and Africa. If Russia builds stations on the same conditions as in Turkey, it will bind these countries to itself for decades. At the March meeting of the UN General Assembly, only half of the African states supported the resolution condemning Russia. How these countries will vote in the UN General Assembly after the signing of contracts for Russian nuclear power plants is easy to guess.
So far, of the African states, nuclear power plants are being built only in Egypt. But Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Morocco and Rwanda have declared the need for a peaceful atom. Many will not pull the construction of a nuclear power plant for their money - and it is likely that their choice may fall on Rosatom with its free state loans. The nuclear expansion into Africa also worries experts from a security point of view. Many states are still far from nuclear technologies.
Many African countries will not pull the construction of nuclear power plants for their own money - and it is likely that their choice may fall on Rosatom with its free state loans
One of the most expensive projects in its history, Rosatom tried to implement in South Africa, a country that already has an operating nuclear power plant. The project has become not so much an instrument of external influence as a way of enrichment for the South African elites and ex-president Jacob Zuma.
Failure in South Africa
In 2014, South African President Jacob Zuma made an unannounced visit to Moscow. Accompanied by the head of intelligence and the deputy foreign minister, he met with Vladimir Putin. The purpose of the trip was not really explained then, later stating that Zuma came for treatment after an attempt to poison him. Three weeks later, in Vienna, representatives of Russia and South Africa signed an intergovernmental agreement on strategic partnership in the field of nuclear energy, which envisaged the construction of a nuclear power plant based on Russian reactors.
The document was signed by the then head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, and South African Energy Minister Tina Jomat-Petterson, and they hid it from the public for six months. Representatives of Zuma said that the builder of the nuclear power plant will be determined, as expected, on the basis of a tender involving companies from the United States and South Korea, with whom negotiations were also underway. However, when human rights activists nevertheless obtained and made public the document, it turned out that the agreement with Russia is much more specific and detailed than similar agreements with other countries. In fact, it was a detailed plan for further work with Rosatom.
The document talked about the construction of eight Russian-designed reactors (VVER) with a total capacity of up to 9.6 GW - more than at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the most powerful in the world at the time before the accident. The $76 billion project could become one of the most expensive in the history of Rosatom. For comparison, the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Turkey cost $22 billion, and the El Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt cost $30 billion.
The document also forbade the South African authorities to cooperate with other countries without the permission of Russia; provided for the lack of liability on the part of Russian suppliers in the event of a nuclear accident; provided tax preferences for Russian projects in South Africa, which is not found in any industry agreement with other countries. It also followed from the provisions that the treaty took precedence over any subsequent treaty within its framework.
So the Kremlin tried to wrest South Africa from the Western sphere of influence and create a partnership that could serve as a springboard for expanding influence in other parts of Africa. The basis of this deal was Moscow's close ties with Jacob Zuma, who led South Africa in 2009 and stubbornly promoted Russia's interests until his resignation.
The Kremlin tried to wrest South Africa from the sphere of influence of the West
The construction was opposed by the South African opposition and environmentalists. They were outraged that Zuma withheld details of the deal from parliamentary oversight. Such an expensive project could shake the financial system of South Africa, warned the country's then finance minister, Nhlanhla Nene. For refusing to approve the plan and provide a letter of guarantee to Vladimir Putin, Zuma dismissed Nene. After that, the president took direct control of the process through a special energy commission - contrary to the existing procedure.
Top-level control was most likely due to the fact that a large-scale project opened up unlimited opportunities for corruption and was probably conceived solely for this. The main beneficiaries were Putin and Zuma, according to a Carnegie Endowment study . The first got the opportunity to expand its presence in Africa, and in the most prosperous and influential country on the continent, and the second - the opportunity to enrich itself through the project.
“The geopolitical value of the deal, positioning Russia as a major player in the South African economy (with an eye to further expansion in other parts of the continent), was much more significant [than the economic],” the study says.
The South African opposition and local journalists agreed that not only the President of South Africa, but also the Gupta family close to him, counted on receiving large bribes and laundering state money. These influential businessmen built a business empire in mining, IT and media over the course of several years. Apparently, they intended to saddle the nuclear power industry as well. In 2010, the Guptas partnered with Zuma's son Duduzane. They purchased a uranium mine with state funds and, if the project is implemented, they could become suppliers for the country's future nuclear power plants. The US was warned at the time that Gupta's uranium expansion could be financed by Iran and that the uranium from the mine was destined for Iran's nuclear program. The Gupta also secured that Zuma include his allies on the board of the energy monopoly Eskom, which was preparing a tender for the construction of a nuclear power plant, thereby giving them a say in the management of the company.
However, Zuma was never able to complete the project. The High Court of the Western Cape of South Africa sided with environmentalists and the opposition, declaring the agreement with Russia illegal and unconstitutional. However, even after this decision, Zuma continued to defend the project - the nuclear deal went down in history only after the corruption scandal and the resignation of the president in 2018.
The fight against the influence of "Rosatom"
In Ukraine, in order to reduce dependence on Russia, even before the war, part of the nuclear power plants built in the Soviet era were modernized without the use of Russian technologies, and Russian nuclear fuel was replaced with American from Westinghouse. It was precisely the interest of Russian nuclear scientists in American technologies, which pose a direct threat to Rosatom's positions in the global nuclear market, that experts called one of the reasons for the seizure of the station.
The American company Holtec has built a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel at the Zaporozhye NPP. And on June 2, Energoatom signed an agreement with Westinghouse, which provides for the transfer of all 15 reactors that are in the country to American fuel.
Not wanting to lose the Ukrainian market, Rosatom put spokes into the wheels of Enregoatom during the first experiments with fuel from the United States. First of all, it was made informational. The media dispersed apocalyptic scenarios about how replacing Russian assemblies with American ones would cause accidents of almost Chernobyl proportions. In addition, in 2005, an incident occurred that, against the backdrop of the events of the Orange Revolution, remained unnoticed by the Ukrainian and Russian media: Ukraine received a batch of defective TVEL assemblies from Russia, filled with small balls inside. Their loading into the reactor would have provoked deformation, but Ukrainian specialists discovered the defect in time and sent the assemblies to the manufacturer. The official reason was failures on the assembly line in Russia, after which the investigation stopped.
Finland also thought about the possibility of supplying fuel from other manufacturers to the Russian Hanhikivi-1 nuclear power plant under construction. However, measures to reduce dependence on Russia were not needed: after the start of the war in Ukraine, Finland terminated the contract with Rosatom for the construction of a nuclear power plant.
After the start of the war in Ukraine, Finland terminated the contract with Rosatom for the construction of a nuclear power plant
“They [Russia] pay a huge membership fee. The deputy head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, is Russian Mikhail Chudakov, who does not call war a war. The main reason that there are so many Russians among the staff is the high fees that Russia pays. Ukraine has little money, ”said Olga Kosharna, an independent expert on nuclear energy, in an interview with The Insider.
Understanding perfectly well the threat of new sanctions, Rosatom is trying to counteract them in advance and make it difficult to impose restrictions on its companies. So, even before the war, the concern decided to create a new legal entity to promote both high and low power reactors on the world market. Most likely, Rosatom will complicate the management structure of projects that are operating in other countries in order to get them out of the sanctions risks that are growing while the war is going on. It is much more difficult to bring the internal projects of Rosatom under sanctions.
“The task is to separate Rosatom itself, especially its military part, the military component, from the business of building nuclear power plants abroad, especially since Rosatom has rather ambitious plans in this direction,” wrote Konstantin Simonov, director of the Energy Security Fund.
Some experts have no doubt that restrictions will be introduced in one form or another.
“Sanctions against Rosatom will soon be introduced, and no one in Hungary will build anything,” Batozsky believes. The introduction of restrictions is complicated by the fact that the corporation plays a large role in the market for enriched and raw uranium. In particular, Rosatom supplies most of the uranium used in American nuclear power plants.
But if almost no one in the West has any doubts about the need for sanctions against Rosatom, then the countries of Asia and Africa are still in thought. Cheap energy is attractive, and own nuclear power plant is doubly so, especially if it is being built at the expense of another state. The only question is whether the potential clients of Rosatom will have enough political will to refuse the simple solutions offered by Russia. In other words, you will have to pay for peaceful Russian-made atom in the same way as for Gazprom's fuel - with your own sovereignty. Well, or prepare for the "accidents" that Medvedev warned about.