Rosatom to build nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan

The state corporation offers Tashkent a nuclear power plant for 2.4 GW. The construction will be financed from the Russian budget.
The change of power in Uzbekistan continues to increase the interest of Russian companies in the republic. Rosatom is expecting a restart of relations with Tashkent and proposes, in particular, to build a two-block NPP with a capacity of 1.2 GW each. Foreign projects are becoming an increasingly important direction for the state corporation against the backdrop of a slowdown in its construction projects in Russia.

"We want not only reboots, we want to move forward and reach ambitious flagship projects that raise the level of our cooperation," Alexei Likhachev, general director of Rosatom, said on December 29 following the signing of an intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Uzbekistan on cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. According to him, the state corporation intends to resume work with Tashkent in a number of areas of the nuclear sphere that were created back in Soviet times (quotes from TASS). The report of Rosatom states that the creation and improvement of the national infrastructure and training of personnel for the nuclear energy of Uzbekistan, the construction of nuclear power plants and research reactors in the country, as well as their support throughout the life cycle, the exploration and development of uranium deposits with study mineral and raw materials base of the country. In addition, it is promising to cooperate in the reclamation of uranium tailings, the production of radioisotopes and their use in industry, medicine and agriculture, joint scientific and fundamental research.

The largest project could be the construction of a nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan, consisting of two blocks of the "three plus" generation VVER-1200 (1.2 GW each). According to Mr. Likhachev, Rosatom has already offered this to the authorities of the republic and is ready to build it "in the time that the Uzbek side considers acceptable for themselves" (quotation on "Russia 24"). The head of Rosatom believes that for Uzbekistan the project "will have great national importance, since it is about diversifying its own energy complex, and therefore, ensuring energy security." The cost of a possible station is not called, but a similar Belarusian nuclear power plant, two units of which should be introduced in 2019-2020, costs about $ 11 billion.

As Kommersant wrote in the fall, foreign projects are becoming an increasingly important direction for Rosatom, given the fact that only five large power units of the state corporation are currently being built, while the transfer of the second unit of Leningrad NPP-2 and the second block of the Novovoronezh NPP -2 (see "Kommersant" on October 25). At the end of 2016, there were 34 blocks in the portfolio of foreign orders of Rosatom. Among the largest projects of the state corporation abroad, it is possible to single out the construction of four blocks of the Ad-Dabaa NPP in Egypt (total capacity - 4.8 GW). Moscow back in 2015 agreed to extradite Cairo for a $ 25 billion state loan, but after the Kogalymavia passenger airplane was blown up over the Sinai Peninsula in the fall of that year, negotiations on the project were frozen. Only in December 2017, Alexei Likhachev and Egyptian Energy Minister Mohammed Shaker, in the presence of the presidents of both countries, signed a contract for the construction of the nuclear power plant Ed-Dabaa, and after that the authorities of the Russian Federation and Egypt announced the resumption of air services between the countries.

The reboot in relations with Uzbekistan, expected by the head of Rosatom, became possible after the change of power in the country: in December 2016, instead of Islam Karimov, who headed the republic since 1991, Shavkat Mirziyoyev became the president. On the eve of and after his meeting with Vladimir Putin, in April this year, a number of joint projects in metallurgy, oil and gas, and the financial sector were announced. Among recent examples is the entry of the co-owner of Global Ports (now he sells the stake to the Delo group) and Transoil's Andrei Filatov to the project for the development of a large field of 25 years of independence and the construction of a gas chemical complex in Uzbekistan worth more than $ 5 billion.