American power in the Russian uranium

  • Fuel assembly TVS-2M
  • Fuel assembly TVS-2M

To date, we have [Company "TENEX" — TM] Has signed 13 contracts with 11 U.S. companies. The portfolio of these contracts exceeded $ 5.5 billion today. Of course, this is not the limit.

General Director of JSC "TENEX" Alexei Grigoriev, "low morale ended"  

17.05.2012 11:34 | «Echo of Moscow» Anisimov: Hello. Our guest is the CEO of "TENEX" Alexei Grigoriev. Before we begin our conversation, you need to explain to our listeners what your company "TENEX".

A. Grigoriev: First of all, I must say that the company "TENEX" is part of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Russian "Rosatom", that is an integral part of our Russian nuclear industry. We are engaged in the supply of enriched uranium abroad for almost 50 years. Sami uranium supplies come from these 50 years 40. For the general audience, which is far from the nuclear industry, I will explain the enriched uranium is used to produce nuclear fuel, through which at nuclear power plants generate electricity. Honestly, in Russia for those who is not related to the nuclear power industry, the name "TENEX" are almost unknown. But abroad, we know almost all energy of the world, with a fleet of nuclear power plants.

Anisimov: On the foreign side, we now discuss, namely the agreement "Megatons — to Megawatts." What it is, who it was signed, and why it should be the most important thing?

A. Grigoriev: In truth, in the nuclear community we often call it the HEU-LEU agreement because its essence lies in the fact that highly enriched uranium, which is called in the jargon just HEU is converted to low-enriched uranium, which is called LEU. But the most important thing in this agreement is: where does this highly enriched uranium. And he is taken out of Soviet nuclear missiles, most of those warheads during the Cold War, as we know, have been aimed at the same dollars. And now, almost 20 years as an inter-governmental agreement was signed in 1993, and the contract implementation — by the way, the signing of which I was personally involved — in 1994. For nearly 20 years we fulfill Russia’s obligations under this contract. Only this time to be extracted 500 tons of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.

I must say that so far processed into low-enriched uranium for more than 90% of the required and me above the specified volume. There is another interesting fact. During all these years, Russia and the Russian nuclear industry provides almost half of the needs of American nuclear power plants in the low-enriched uranium. To make it more easily understandable and — in practice this means that from the uranium extracted from the Soviet nuclear missile today burns each lamp 10-i in the USA. Of course, this is a unique example of cooperation between the world’s leading nuclear powers to disarm.

And I stress that this is not done at the expense of taxpayers, but on the contrary, this agreement brings money to the Russian budget, and through him, the Russian nuclear industry. Over 20 years of execution of the agreement the state budget will receive a total of about 18 billion dollars. And in the beginning, when we signed the contract, the value of its estimated at about 12 billion dollars.

By the way, do not forget about the other important fact that in the most difficult of the early years of our country, for Russia in the 90 years of the HEU was the real savior and provider for the nuclear industry. It gave that same currency earnings, which lived plants, especially plants that produced the same enriched uranium. It is known that the Soviet Union was still in the 89 th year announced that it no longer produces highly enriched uranium for military purposes. Thanks to this funding managed to keep the main thing — personnel, professionals not to lose. Of course, as I said, this is an example of a profitable US-Russian bilateral cooperation, which is, without exaggeration, for the benefit of all mankind, because it reduces the nuclear threat on the planet.

Anisimov: Wow. But if I understand correctly, in 2013 the contract comes to an end. And what happens — all the lights go out, America will remain without electricity?

A. Grigoriev: Of course there will be. And seriously, with such volumes of supply, which now occupies the HEU-LEU in the U.S. market, we have been preparing for the possibility to agree in advance with U.S. partners about how we will live after it ends. Our long-term partner for the implementation of this contract — U.S. enrichment company USEC (United States Enrichment Corporation) was also concerned about this issue.

As a result, we have found a mutually beneficial solution, have entered into with the corporation a new long-term contract for the supply of uranium enrichment up to 2022 so far. This contract we signed back in 2010, but he came into force at the end of last year, after the signing and ratification of the already well-known agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy between the U.S. and Russia. So what about this today, do not worry.

By the way, work on the transition of power companies in the United States normal market relations, because the HEU-LEU contract — is an inter-governmental agreement, we have started long before that. So, in 2008, our long-term efforts were, I think, a great success — an amendment to the existing agreement today to suspend the anti-dumping investigation, which opened the way for us to conclude direct contracts with U.S. companies which are the end users of our product. Therefore, to date, we have already signed 13 contracts with 11 U.S. companies. The portfolio of these contracts exceeded $ 5.5 billion today. Of course, this is not the limit.

Anisimov: You just got back from Helsinki, where the international conference on nuclear fuel cycle. Tell us what kind of mood among your colleagues about the future of the industry.

A. Grigoriev: Mindset for us and our colleagues was very cheerful at this conference. A year ago, right after the accident at the "Fukushima" in many of the world nuclear industry experts felt some uncertainty, suspicion, I would even say the uncertainty is in the air. Today we can say that the decadent mood over. We can say that the nuclear industry as a whole has overcome the crisis. If we talk about the mood in general, he was moderately optimistic. This is clearly felt in the speeches of colleagues on this very conference in Helsinki.

We must explain that this conference — one of two major annual conferences, really collecting elite nuclear market. The conference is organized by the Institute of Atomic Energy and the U.S. Nuclear Association International, based in London. The September conference, the largest, is traditionally held in London, but the spring, which is usually held in April, this year held in Helsinki, and the place chosen is different each time. Next year, for example, spring conference will be held in Singapore.

Speaking of "TENEX" I would like to emphasize that the 90-ies, our organization is a member of the World Nuclear Association. I will manifest myself to another member of its Board of Governors since 2005. By the way, at the Institute of Atomic Energy United States, we will also take place. I would like to emphasize that this is a very reputable organization. Therefore, their opinion is decisive for the global nuclear industry. It is interesting that the majority of the companies that made presentations at the conference, expressed optimism about the future of nuclear energy and its prospects right
up to 2035.

If we talk about specific interventions, it may be noted by the representative of the International Energy Agency, Mr. Didier Ussena that clearly, by figures proved that the consequences of "Fukushima" on a global scale would be, as he put it quite modest, in other words not very noticeable for the world as a whole. And it is a third-party expert opinion is very important. It is thereby confirmed that nuclear energy is a very competitive industry, in the run up to 2035 will occupy a significant share of world energy production. This finding is extremely important for the global nuclear industry.

Speaking of other reports that have pleased the reports of colleagues from the U.S., where the active phase has entered the construction of new units, particularly in the states of South Carolina, Texas, colleagues from the United Arab Emirates, who is also the first time in its history, prepare the site for construction of a nuclear power plant, colleagues from China, where vengeance is building nuclear power plants. Even a colleague from Japan — where, for obvious reasons, there was a very serious situation, not only with the nuclear power plant "Fukushima", but also with other units that had to be shut down — reported at the conference that all Japanese nuclear power plants to date have successfully passed a very serious stress tests, and now the Japanese nuclear engineers are awaiting a decision of the responsible ministries and local prefectures of when these will be re-activated nuclear power plants. And the fact that they will be included in the same Japan, doubt my colleagues on the nuclear industry in the world and I myself have not.

Anisimov: Topics "Fukushima" we can not avoid. You were in Japan and have seen with my own eyes. Tell us what’s happening now and what is the general condition.

A. Grigoriev: Indeed, in early April, a delegation headed by the Director General of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, came to Japan. And the company Tokyo Electric Power Company, is the operator of the emergency station, has kindly agreed to organize our visit to the emergency station itself. And, in my opinion, we were not even the first foreign delegation who were admitted there. I would like to say that, in my opinion, we have seen for themselves that this disaster is, of course, natural character, and in any case is not man-made. Earthquake station stood, but because of the mistakes of the project a huge tsunami could disrupt power supply station, resulting in a disconnected emergency diesel generators. At the same time, we all saw how work dedication Japanese counterparts. So I believe that the consequences of the accident, including the purely psychological, they quickly overcome.

Anisimov: What has changed for the company "TENEX" after the accident? There have been some radical changes?

A. Grigoriev: We’re in the nuclear industry feel the same boat. So if something happens in the world, if there is any accident — "Fukushima" has once again clearly demonstrated this — this is not someone somewhere in the accident and the accident applies to all without exception. You can not sit and pretend that we do not care. So what happened to the "Fukushima", touched only nuclear community in the world. We also understand that nuclear power after the "Fukushima" continues, in Japan, including, as I said. Digging Tokyo Electric Power Company, we went to meet him, and agreed to postpone delivery at a later date. Although, of course, for us it means a reduction in revenue. I am absolutely sure that in the near future Japan will resume production of electricity at its nuclear power plants. In fact, strictly speaking, the decision to shut down was motivated largely by political motives. Now the economy is taking its toll. I am convinced that common sense will prevail all possible phobias that always arise in such situations.

Anisimov: Visit of Rosatom in Japan was also the business side, namely, signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. May 3 agreement is already in force. Tell me, what is its essence.

A. Grigoriev: I believe that the entry into force of the agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with Japan is a real breakthrough in our bilateral relations and the huge success of the State Corporation "Rosatom". This agreement is a framework, but is essential for practical expansion of our joint business. Thus, specifically for "TENEX" its entry into force means, first of all, a substantial relief in the implementation of the supply of uranium products and other services to the nuclear fuel cycle, the Japanese utilities directly to the companies with which we are already working with the end of the last century. In 2004, and it is important to emphasize, we have registered in Japan, its subsidiary company Tenex-Japan, which has made an effort to ensure that the agreement was made.

As for the agreement itself, it would "TENEX" to supply uranium products directly to Japan without being processed in the United States, Britain, France, as it does now. In addition, it will also further boost the development of entirely new fields of our activity — for example, the supply of low-enriched uranium in the form dioxide, in the form of powder, which we still do not do — and will very important for the implementation of long-term enrichment projects in Russia Japanese reprocessed uranium, which is stored in Western Europe today. There are other projects. Facilitation of our collaboration fits perfectly with our own plans, such as the development of transport and logistics in the direction of our group of companies.

This is particularly true of the new, much more profitable for the Japanese and other countries in the Pacific route for the transportation of enriched uranium product through the port in the Far East. For example, I would like to say that today we are forced to carry the enriched uranium product to Japan through St. Petersburg. Clearly, this is a fairly long distances and across the world to go by boat to get to Japan. Here the project is supported not only by Japanese power companies, but also by the Japanese government, which is very important. The Japanese government is well aware of and understands the benefits to the business of the new open ports in the Far East. Speaking of which, perhaps, not only for the nuclear industry, but also for many industries in which we cooperate with Japan.

Anisimov: If I understand correctly, we are talking about your trip through South Korea, right?

Grigoriev A. Yes. Before coming to Japan, I was in South Korea, where he participated in a summit on nuclear security. We are working with the largest Korean company operating the nuclear power plants not only, but also hydro, thermal power plants, which are called the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. We have reached agreement with them that the Koreans will also be using a new route through the Far East, as it is also extremely beneficial. So it turns out, as I have already said that in the Far East route, many interested companies and countries. Incidentally, the country’s Far East region, which intend to develop nuclear energy. And we already know about these countries. This is Vietnam, and Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Anisimov: There are some money, maybe political or technological factors that can voice on this route?

A. Grigoriev: Score one — a radical reduction in the delivery time of products. A means and risks associated with the transportation, especially of nuclear materials. Terms of finding materials in transit, reduced from the introduction of this route at 2-3. And it’s not only minimizes the risks themselves, but also significantly reduces our costs. And for the Primorye Territory, where this year’s conference will be held for the first time and the meeting of the heads of APEC, it is also very useful because it creates jobs, makes it possible, as I h
ave said, through these routes to transport products to Japan and mechanical engineering industries in Russia and, conversely, from Japan to import products to Russia.

Anisimov: The logical question — when this route has already earned?

A. Grigoriev: Pilot shipment from the port in the eastern Primorye we have planned in the 3rd quarter of this year. As we walk in the graph. I am sure that soon we will start the project as an investment, just as we are developing a number of new supply chains, investment projects in the western region, near St. Petersburg.

Anisimov: Our guest was the CEO of "TENEX" Alexei Grigoriev.

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