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Electricity generation in Russia

Energy mix
  • About 70% of the total installed capacity of power plants is concentrated in the European part of Russia;
  • All NPPs are located in the European region of the country (10% of installed capacity);
  • The main share (68%) of power is conditioned by thermal power plants using fossil fuel, mainly natural gas (60%);
  • The hydro share significantly varies over the country's territory: in the European regions it is 13%, and constitutes 38% in the Eastern regions (in total more than 20% of installed capacity).
  • Over the whole country thermal power (oil, natural gas, and coal-fired) accounts for roughly 63 percent of Russia's electricity generation, followed by hydropower (21%) and nuclear (16%) (source:
Increasing importance of nuclear power

The Russian government has stated that it intends to expand the role of nuclear and hydropower generation in the future to allow for greater export of fossil fuels. Russia has an installed nuclear capacity of 21.2 million kilowatts, distributed across 31 operational nuclear reactors at 10 locations, all west of the Ural Mountains. However, Russia's nuclear power facilities are aging. Roughly half of the country's 31 nuclear reactors use the RBMK design employed in Ukraine's ill-fated Chernobyl plant. The working life of a reactor is considered to be 30 years: nine of Russia's plants are between 26 and 30 years old, and six are between 21 and 25 years old.

Investment in the nuclear sector is expected to double to $960 million in 2008. Gazprom has also expressed interest in building nuclear stations to free up natural gas for export. The Russian government has also made hydroelectric generation a priority, particularly in the country's Far East, where provision and delivery of electricity supply can be problematic.

Upgrade and construction of NPPs

The Russian energy policy sees the only way to ensure independence of power supply for the country in an upgrade of existing power plants, including NPPs, and in the construction of new NPPs in order to continue their operation. Currently (2009) 8 reactors are under construction.

The programme concerning this matter states that the main task regarding nuclear power is to ensure

  • the safety of the operating NPPs through implementation of long-term measures stipulated in the corresponding upgrading and modernisation plans, and
  • the reliable competitive supply of heat and electricity to the consumers, ensuring safe operations of NPPs,
  • development of the new generation NPPs with enhanced safety,
  • reliable supply of nuclear fuel to NPPs,
  • preparing the development of the closed fuel cycle and burning of long-lived radioactive products resulting from spent fuel,

The realisation of the programme is questionable because of all the mentioned financial problems of the Russian power sector.

Developments in the nuclear sector

2010-08-10: Russia tackles wildfires near nuclear facilities

"While efforts continue to extinguish wildfires that have killed more than 50 people in western Russia, a number of the country’s nuclear facilities have found themselves on alert.

The situation has stabilized in 11 out of 14 Russian regions affected by the wildfires, according to Sergei Shoigu, minister for emergency situations. In a report from the Itar-Tass news agency, he said that the situation in three regions, including Nizhny Novgorod, remains difficult.

The ministry of emergency situations (Emercom) reported that, as of 9 August, 247 separate fires had started during the previous day, while 239 had been extinguished. It said that there were now 557 fires burning, including 25 peat fires, covering a total area of 174,000 hectares. The ministry said that over 160,000 people and 26,000 items of fire fighting equipment (including 42 aircraft) were involved in tackling the fires.
Rosenergoatom, the operator of Russia's nuclear power plants, said that all of its plants have continued to safely operate during the heat wave which continues to affect some regions of the country. No plants have so far been directly threatened by the fires. However, the company said that all of its plants have developed and implemented action plans to reduce the likelihood of fires in their vicinity.

Fires have been burning close to some Russian nuclear research facilities. A fire near the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre (VNIIEF) in Sarov in the Nizhny Novgorod region has now been extinguished, but this effort cost the lives of two military personnel. Ivan Kamensky, deputy director general at Rosatom, said that the radiation situation at Sarov remains normal. All radioactive material had reportedly been removed from the research centre as a precaution.

A fire close to the Snezhinsk nuclear research centre in the Urals has also now been brought under control. The fire started on 7 August and spread quickly to cover an area of 10 hectares. By 9 August, the area cover by fire had been reduced to 5-6 hectares and a statement today from local emergency services said, "The hotspot in the Snezhinsk forest has been extinguished."

Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared in the Ozyorsk area of the Chelyabinsk region, home to the Mayak reprocessing complex, some 80 kilometres from the Snezhinsk research centre. Measures to reduce the spread of possible fires in the area, including making fire breaks in the vegetation surrounding the plant, are underway. Yuri Podvintsev, head of defence and emergency services at Mayak, said that there are currently no direct threats to the facility from forest fires but the facility and surrounding areas is being constantly monitored.

The Federal State Unitary Enterprise on Radioactive Waste Management (RosRAO), responsible for dealing with Russia's radioactive waste, said that it was also taking preventative measures to ensure fire safety at its sites and surrounding areas. Andrey Chizhov, head of nuclear and radiation safety at RosRAO, said that the fire situation at its 17 sites and surrounding territory is normal. He added that at each of the regions that fall within the danger zone an additional set of measures have been implemented including ensuring that each site is fully equipped with fire fighting equipment and a good water supply. People and equipment are prepared ready for evacuation in the event of a fire hazard. "


2009-05-20: Assembly of word's first floating NPP

A ceremony has been held to mark the start of the assembly of the world's first floating nuclear power plant in St Petersburg, Russia. Construction had earlier been transferred from Severodvinsk.

A contract was signed on 27 February 2009 between Rosatom and the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard for completion of the plant. The contract was valued at almost 10 billion roubles ($315 million). A new keel has now been laid at Saint Petersburg for the first floating plant. As part of the contract, Baltiysky Zavod will receive the incomplete floating plants started by Sevmash.

The first plant will house two 35 MW KLT-40S nuclear reactors, similar to those used in Russia's nuclear powered ice breakers, and two generators, and will be capable of supplying a city of 200,000 people. OKBM will design and supply the reactors, while Kaluga Turbine Plant will supply the turbo-generators.

2009-02-06: Russia offers Siemens a co-operation on nuclear power.

Siemens and the Russian nuclear company Rosatom plan to realize their co-operation as soon as possible. Already at the end of April to end of May concrete agreements on the construction of NPPs shall be made.
(source: FAZ)

2003, July: Russia's head of Nuclear Inspectorate retired

Yury Vishnevsky's was the head of Russia's Nuclear Inspectorate--Gosatomnadzor for 11 years. In America, nuclear power, tough government-midwifed during the Cold War, is a private-sector entity. In Russia, it's still the Nuclear Power Ministry. In America, the NRC timidly looks over the industry's shoulder; in Russia, Vishnevsky was largely alone in speaking out against Kremlin-backed plans to import the world's nuclear waste for cash. This year Vishnevsky pulled the operating license for the Mayak nuclear fuel facility over serious concerns about pollution. But that was too much independency: Vishnevsky was pushed into an unwanted "retirement" - and replaced by a former deputy nuclear power minister.

2002, January

Russia has no plans to privatize the generating company being formed on the basis of state-owned nuclear concern Rosenergoatom.

Sites With Nuclear Facilities

siteplantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
BalachowoBalachowo-1WWER 100019801985
Balachowo-2WWER 100019811987
Balachowo-3WWER 100019801990
Balachowo-4 WWER 100019841993
Balachowo-5 WWER 10001987
Balachowo-6 WWER 10001988
BalticBaltic-1 VVER V-4912012
BashkirBashkir-1 WWER 10001983
Bashkir-2 WWER 10001983
BeloyarskBeloyarsk-1LWGR 100195819641983
Beloyarsk-2LWGR 150196219671990
Beloyarsk-3 BN-600FBR 56019691980
Beloyarsk-4FBR 8002014
BilibinoBilibino-1RBMK 1019701974
Bilibino-2RBMK 1019701974
Bilibino-3RBMK 1019701975
Bilibino-4RBMK 1019701976
ChelyabinskChelyabinskPu processing & storage
GorkiGorkiPWR heat only1982
KalininKalinin-1WWER 100019771984
Kalinin-2WWER 100019821986
Kalinin-3WWER 100019742004
Kalinin-4WWER 1000 V-32019862011
KolaKola-1WWER 440 V23019701973
Kola-2WWER 440 V23019731975
Kola-3WWER 440 V21319771981
Kola-4WWER 440 V21319761984
KrasnoyarskZheleznogorsk (Krasnoyarsk)Pu processing center
KurskKursk-1RBMK 100019721976
Kursk-2RBMK 100019731979
Kursk-3RBMK 100019781983
Kursk-4RBMK 100019811985
Kursk-6LWGR 10001986
MajakMajakreprocessing plant
NovovoronezhNowo-Woronesh-1WWER 200195719641988
Nowo-Woronesh-2WWER 400196419691990
Nowo-Woronesh-3WWER 38019671971
Nowo-Woronesh-4WWER 440 V23019671972
Nowo-Woronesh-5WWER 100019741980
NowosibirskNowosibirskUranium processing
RostovRostov-1 WWER 100019812001
Rostov-2 WWER 100019832010
Rostov-3 WWER 10001989
SmolenskSmolensk-1RBMK 100019751982
Smolensk-2RBMK 100019761985
Smolensk-3RBMK 100019841990
Smolensk-4LWGR 10001984
Sosnowi BorSosnowi Bor-1RBMK 100019701973
Sosnowi Bor-2RBMK 100019701975
Sosnowi Bor-3RBMK 100019731979
Sosnowi Bor-4RBMK 100019751981
South UralsSouth Urals-1FBR 750
South Urals-2FBR 750
TatarTATAR-1PWR WWER 10001987
TATAR-2PWR WWER 10001988
TomskSeversk (Tomsk)Pu processing center
TomskReprocessing Plant
TroitskTroitsk-4RBMK 10019541960
Troitsk-5RBMK 10019541961
Troitsk-6RBMK 10019541963
WoroneshWoronesh-1PWR, heat only1983
Woronesh-2PWR, heat only1985