Visits within Russia

15 april, 2009 16:04

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting at the Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant on issues of the sector’s development

Vladimir Putin's opening remarks:

Good afternoon,

Today we will consider some development issues of the nuclear power sector. As you know, we have highly ambitious, and yet quite realistic, goals in this sphere.

By 2030, nuclear power plants should account for 25% to 30% of electricity produced in the country. The current figure is 16%. The relevant figure exceeds 25% and even 30% in many European countries, so we will have to catch up with industrialised states.

These are challenging plans that require hard work, but the goal is quite realistic. Of course, the implementation of these plans will call for special attention on our part, in view of the current situation. It is clear that we should carefully consider ways of doing this during the financial and economic downturn. There are no minor details in this sphere, a sphere that needs a corresponding financial backing. At the same time, we also need to develop a modern grid infrastructure and ensure the solution of many other problems, which have always been important in this sector whatever their scale, even if it is minuscule.
No matter what unfolds, we must fulfil the task I have just mentioned. This means that we must build 26 reactors if we want to raise the sector's contribution to 25%-30%. Today we will discuss ways of doing this.
Mr Kiriyenko, you may have the floor.

* * * 

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's remarks at the meeting:

On nuclear power plant (NPP) safety

Sergei Kiriyenko: As far as personnel exposure to radiation, you can see that the measurements indicate levels of zero radiation. Beginning in 2002 and 2003, the charts have shown no exposure to radiation, as such a condition does not exist at Russia's nuclear power plants. Here, you can see a comparison chart between Russia and the world. The question on whether the nuclear energy in Russia is safe has been frequently raised.

Vladimir Putin: I heard that you have done some scuba diving here?

Sergei Kiriyenko: That's right, I went diving here with the Governor.

Vladimir Putin: When was that?

Sergei Kiriyenko: Two years ago. There are a lot of fish here, by the way.

Vladimir Putin: Did you eat some?

Sergei Kiriyenko: We did, in fact; I highly recommend it.

Vladimir Putin: Very good.

On investment programmes

Vladimir Putin: Under no circumstances should we abandon the plans that we have previously set out to fulfil. You cannot change the rules in the middle of the game, no matter how difficult the situation is. In this regard, we can and should negotiate with our potential partners and investors. We may need to assist them in some way, with respect to the current circumstances. One thing is absolutely clear - these programmes must be translated into reality.

* * *

Closing remarks by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin:

I would like to say from the outset that we will take into account all the comments made here while we make our decision. We will examine every aspect with respect to the choice of the site. What's more, we will look at other important issues and will duly take them into consideration.

In concluding our discussion, I would like to say the following words. We do understand, and I have mentioned this at the beginning, the conditions we currently find ourselves in. It is true that the demand for electricity has fallen. It is, however, also apparent that this is a temporary decline. I believe that already in 2010 the trend will start to change and the energy demand will gradually start to grow. Experts estimate that by 2012 the power consumption rate will reach the pre-crisis level - about 3% per year.

In addition, there are several regions experiencing energy shortages. We are aware of the issues that we can encounter when industrial growth resumes. We did experience this situation recently; only a year and a half ago, the main concern was where to obtain the energy (resources). Therefore, neither you nor all of us together can afford wasting time. We should actively work towards the realisation of all our programmes.

Of course, some issues may be more difficult to deal with during the crisis, while others are becoming less complicated. Mr Kiriyenko has already mentioned here that the crisis does have some positive effects. What I mean here is that the company should find ways to cut costs. The market conditions are favourable for this: prices are going down on concrete, metals, as well as other resources and equipment.

I am aware that Energoatom's management has developed a plan to cut costs on average by over 10% in various areas. Mr Kiriyenko did mention this. I hope that this trend will continue in the future and these plans be turned into real deeds.

As you know, we have already approved the project list for realisation of the Main Government Policy Areas Until 2012. The list consists of about 60 projects.

The nuclear energy and nuclear weapons development areas have been included into one of the four "pilot" projects that will be implemented on a priority basis.

The project will result in increased energy output at the existing facilities, ensure and strengthen Russia's leadership in nuclear fuel production, and allow us to introduce the most advanced radioactive waste utilization technology and accomplish a series of other environment protection measures. This effort will require close coordination between Rosatom, its affiliated structures, and the Government.

As we have agreed, the nuclear energy and nuclear weapons development project will be brought under consideration by the Government in the coming months. I suggest for all of you to actively prepare for this.

I would like to draw your attention to another very important issue. It has been mentioned here already. The energy infrastructure development has a highly positive growth effect on related industries, through the creation of new jobs. It has been estimated that every employee working in a nuclear power plant construction project creates jobs for 10 employees working in related industries.

Here, we have also discussed that large projects of this kind have a highly positive effect on the construction industry. As a result, through NPP construction financing, we are actually making investments in several industries at the same time and supporting them in the time of crisis. Despite the current difficulties, we will, therefore, continue investing in nuclear energy.

In 2009, Energoatom will receive a total of 164 billion roubles in investments, with over one third of the amount (73.3 billion roubles) allocated from the federal budget. I signed the Government resolution on this last week. As a result, Energoatom will commission new facilities with a total output of 1GW this year.

I also support the Ministry of Energy and the Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation and their request for the company's additional capitalisation to the amount of 50 billion roubles.

And finally, I want to state that the nuclear industry has always been one of Russia's greatest assets. I am convinced that if we organize our efforts efficiently and set our priorities correctly, the nuclear industry will remain an important source for the country's development, whether it is in energy production, defence, economy, or science. I would like to wish all of you every success.

Thank you very much.