Russian nuclear power plant builder expands into Turkey

Kremlin Extends Global Influence With Russian Nuclear-Power Juggernaut

Russia’s atomic-energy giant Rosatom does business around the world, including with the U.S. and allies like Turkey

By Jared Malsin and Georgi Kantchev, The Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2023

The Kremlin is projecting influence across the world through a state atomic-power company that has become the industry’s global juggernaut. The latest example: Turkey is inaugurating a Russian-owned nuclear plant on Thursday, deepening a relationship with Moscow that has raised concerns in the West.

The company, Rosatom State Atomiс Energy Corp., has expanded its global reach in recent years and is the world’s leader in constructing and operating nuclear projects abroad, working on 34 power units in 11 countries from China to Egypt to Hungary. In recent decades, Russia has exported more reactors than any other major provider…

Russia provides crucial fuel supplies, including around 46% of global uranium-enrichment capacity, according to the World Nuclear Association. The U.S. is one of Russia’s biggest customers of enriched uranium. …

The $20 billion Akkuyu Nuclear plant on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is one of the world’s first to be built under a “build, own, operate” model in which Russia is mostly funding the project, building the facility and sending thousands of Russian engineers and other workers to run it. … Russia was set to transfer $15 billion to Turkey for the construction of the plant last year… [It’s not clear whether this was a grant or a loan. – W]…

Rosatom owes its rapid global expansion to its ability to cover the whole nuclear-power supply chain. It mines nuclear power’s raw material, uranium, provides funding, designs reactors, builds plants and disposes of nuclear waste. The company is the world’s only such “one-stop nuclear shop” providing an all-inclusive package… Russia’s total portfolio of foreign orders, including reactor construction, fuel provision and other services, spans 54 countries, according to the paper… [end quote]

Never mind that Turkey is a NATO member and that Russia is under U.S. sanctions. Never mind that the opening ceremony was held remotely, Erdogan being sick and Putin having an international arrest warrant due to Russia kidnapping Ukrainian children.

Never mind that the power plant is being built near the region that had a catastrophic earthquake that killed 56,000 people in February 2023. (The plant sustained no damage in February and it’s located in the safest zone in Turkey, according to the engineers.)

Rosatom is projecting Russian influence into many areas of the world by providing (hopefully safe) atomic energy alongside its conventional energy exports.

Nuclear power plants are designed to operate for many years. The many Russian-designed, built and supplied power plants will maintain ties to the nations that depend on them, whatever else happens in Russia.


1 Like