Dear friends and colleagues!
I congratulate you on our common holiday - the 75th anniversary of the nuclear industry!
Exactly 75 years ago, on August 20, 1945, the State Defense Committee of the USSR decided to organize a Special Committee and the First Main Directorate to carry out the work on atomic project. The latter became a platform for the creation of the Ministry of Medium Machine Building in 1953.
The idea of using nuclear power for power plants, ships and aircraft was proposed in April 1947. Already in 1954, the first nuclear power plant in Obninsk was launched.
The civil nuclear power developed rapidly. Just 10 years after Obninsk, in 1964, the first pressurized water (PWR) VVER reactor was launched at the Novovoronezh NPP. It was quite low-powered by modern standards, only 210 MW, but its importance for the nuclear power industry is enormous. Currently, there are six models of power units with reactors of different capacity within the VVER family, including VVER-1200. It is a Gen 3+ reactor and the main Rosatom export product.
In 1973, the world's first fast breeder reactor BN-350 was commissioned in Kazakhstan. In 1974, RBMK reactor was launched at the Leningrad NPP. By the mid-1980s, the total capacity of Soviet nuclear power plants reached a record of 37 gigawatts.
At the same time, Russia began promoting its nuclear technologies abroad. The USSR generously shared its achievements with friends and partners. Less than three years have passed since the launch of the main power unit with the VVER-440 reactor at the Novovoronezh NPP in 1971 until the construction of the same reactor in Hungary at the Paks NPP began. In total, during the Soviet era, 31 power units were built abroad, including Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany and Finland.
The experience of creating the first Soviet nuclear submarine was helpful in the construction of nuclear icebreakers. They extended the navigation and increased the volume of cargo transported along the Northern Sea Route. This opened a new stage in the development of the Arctic.
Our history is not without dramatic pages. The worst was the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. Chernobyl became a huge test for the country, and above all, for the nuclear scientists, but at the same time it was a symbol of courage. In order to eliminate the consequences of the accident, a huge construction base was created at the power plant in the shortest possible time, and up to 10,000 cubic meters of concrete were laid on certain days. A protective sarcophagus was erected in a record seven months.
The main lesson of Chernobyl is the realization that safety is the absolute priority for nuclear. We learned this lesson well.
Within the next 20 years, our scientists, designers, engineers have created safety systems that exclude human factor. Today, Russian nuclear power units with a unique combination of active and passive safety systems are the most demanded in the world, as evidenced by the batch of agreements for the construction of 36 power units in 12 countries.
The 1990s were another test of strength and professionalism for our industry. However, despite the difficulties, it survived. During these years, Armenian NPP Unit 2 shut down after the Spitak earthquake was restarted, Mochovce NPP in Slovakia was put into operation, the first unit at the Rostov NPP was completed, the first stage of the Tianwan NPP in China was successfully implemented. We were able to preserve the unique scientific, technological and human potential of the nuclear industry.
The creation of a state corporation in 2007 gave a boost to the development of the industry. That is when our revival began. The enterprises, scattered in the 1990s, were brought back together, and the entire technological chain with a common management system and common strategic goals was restored.
Two new divisions have been created - engineering and machine-building. Since 2007, we have built 16 new nuclear power units in Russia and abroad. Among them are new Gen 3+ units at the Leningrad and Novovoronezh NPPs, an innovative power unit with a fast breeder reactor BN-800, which is testing the technology of the future - closed fuel cycle. In addition, of course, the main achievement of this year is the world's only floating nuclear power plant.
In 2008, the nuclear icebreaker fleet was transferred to Rosatom. It is now being updated. The lead icebreaker of the new series, Arktika will be commissioned this year, icebreakers Siberia, Ural and Yakutia are under construction. Soon we will lay down two more - Chukotka at the Baltic plant and Leader in the Far East.
We diversified uranium mining by expanding our presence in uranium projects in other countries. Now we produce at least 8,000 tons of uranium annually. We are developing cooperation with old partners - China, India, France, Hungary, Finland, and we acquired new ones - Turkey, Bangladesh, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Egypt.
We have took back the Eastern European nuclear fuel market, which was partially lost in the early 2000s. Currently, we supply 75 power units both in Russia and in 15 countries with fuel, which constitutes every sixth power reactor in the world.
If during the Soviet era we cooperated with 19 countries, today we work with more than 50.
We are exploring new technologies. We have built a wind farm in Adygea, we are introducing the “Smart City” software package, and we are engaged in additive technologies and the production of energy storage devices. Digital products, composite and polymeric materials, nuclear medicine - Rosatom remains a technological leader!
Today, reminiscing about the results of the 75-year development of the Russian nuclear industry, we are looking into the future boldly. New tasks lie ahead.
We have set ourselves an ambitious goal: to become a global technological leader not only in nuclear technologies, but also in the creation of new materials, renewable and hydrogen energy, and nuclear medicine by 2030. We will expand our product line and develop business abroad.
We have new points of growth. Providing year-round navigation in the Arctic, solving accumulated environmental problems, organizing work to create new materials. We are engaged in digitalization, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
We have developed a comprehensive program for the development of nuclear science and technology. Our priorities in the medium term are two-component nuclear power, closed fuel cycle, small and medium-sized nuclear power plants, plasma technologies, and thermonuclear fusion.
However, the main thing is that we are setting up our work with people in a new way. A person, an employee of Rosatom, should be at the center of scientific, educational and social projects. This is how each of us will have an opportunity to reach our full potential. I am sure we can handle it all. Despite our 75th anniversary, our industry is still young and progressive. The key to our success lies in the experience of veterans and the enthusiasm of young people, coupled with the professionalism and dedication inherent in every nuclear professional.
I once again congratulate all of us on the 75th anniversary of the Russian nuclear industry! I wish all of us new achievements, health and love! Director
General of Rosatom Atomic Energy Corporation Alexey Likhachev