Russia seeks to make nuclear power cost-effective

June 27, 2014

Making the case for nuclear power over coal or gas-based plants that hasten climate change, Russia's atomic energy corporation has unveiled the "atomic kilowatt hour" as a new cost-effective product of immense importance to energy-hungry emerging economies.

“There is a new product called atomic kilowatt hour whose advantage makes it crucially important for countries newly arrived to nuclear power," Sergei Kirienko, chief executive of Rosatom, the state atomic energy corporation, told IANS here on the sidelines of the just concluded Atomexpo 2014 international nuclear energy conference in the grand 16th-century Gostiny Dvor exhibition hall.

"Atomic kilowatt/hour - a new product in the energy market" - was the theme of the sixth congress of the nuclear industry worldwide organised by Rosatom, the builders of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu.

"Any client company will, in the end, ask what the kilowatt hour (Kwh) price of the energy produced by the plant will be. For a developing economy like India, for instance, it is very important to know the price of electricity," said Kirienko, who served as Russia's prime minister for five months in 1998.

"We have been studying the volatility of the raw-material markets and how the price for natural uranium and gas has been fluctuating. We know that the price difference is quite big, which reflects in the final cost of the electricity produced," he added.

"For nuclear plants, fuel makes up only 10 percent of operational costs, while for gas or coal-based stations, the fuel component is 60-70 percent. So if uranium prices double, costs will go up by 20 percent, while gas price doubling will result in a 70 percent hike. So, the kilowatt hour cost is the most important consideration for a consumer," he explained.

Rosatom controls the nuclear power holding company Atomenergoprom, nuclear weapons companies, research institutes and nuclear radiation safety agencies, besides representing Russia globally in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and in protecting the non-proliferation regime.

Copyright,, 2014.