A corporate collaboration agreement signed in Moscow Monday should take UK-Russian collaboration on nuclear energy projects to a new level.
The deal was signed during an official visit by UK prime minister David Cameron in which he hoped to “forge a stronger relationship with Russia.” Cameron said “We have agreed to work together on a range of issues, including the development of nuclear energy, and I’m delighted that this means Rolls-Royce will be working with Rosatom.”
Cameron and his counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed to support international negotiations on climate change and encourage energy efficiency and low-carbon technology. The declaration by the two countries said they “strongly support the possibility of increasing commercial cooperation in civil nuclear energy and welcome the memorandum of understanding between Rolls-Royce and Rosatom.” Increases in nuclear safety and supply of natural gas were also welcomed.
Deputy head of Rosatom Kirill Komarov said the firms would consider possibilities “for mutually beneficial cooperation in a comprehensive series of activities in Russia, the UK and third countries.” Cameron’s office said the value of collaborative work could reach £1 billion ($1.6 billion), noting potential involvement of the 250 nuclear-qualified companies in Rolls-Royce’s UK supply chain.
Rosatom is the state company containing the entire Russian nuclear sector, which is says employs some 250,000 people. Its various parts are building ten large power reactors at home and three abroad, as well as acting as a major fuel cycle supplier and implementing Russia’s cooperation agreements with many other countries.
Apart from marine engineering, aerospace and gas turbine businesses, the Rolls-Royce group provides instrumentation and control for systems for France’s 58 power reactors as well as 50 others around the world. It has business agreements in place with Areva, Larsen & Toubro and Nuclear Power Delivery UK, the consortium hoping to build Westinghouse reactors in that country.
Both Rosatom and Rolls-Royce produce small nuclear reactors for military submarines, with obvious security implications for both sides. Rolls-Royce told World Nuclear News, however, “The transfer of any goods or technology, will be subject to receiving relevant export licences and Rolls-Royce has the very strictest discipline in all matters relating to export control.”