November 26, 2022, Sochi, Russia. – The 12th ATOMEXPO 2022 International Forum took place in Sochi (Russia) on 21–22 November. Over 3,000 guests, including businesspeople, government agencies, and international organisations, from Russia and 65 other countries attended the event. AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC took active participation in the business program and exhibition.


The forum’s motto was ‘Nuclear Spring: Creating a Sustainable Future.’ The opening plenary session focused on prospects for the development of global nuclear energy. The discussion was attended by Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, Director General of Brazil’s ENBPar Corporation Ney Zanella dos Santos, Belarusian Minister of Energy Viktor Karankevich, Turkish Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Alparslan Bayraktar, and Bangladesh Minister of Science and Technology Yeafesh Osman.


During the plenary session, the participants discussed opportunities and scenarios for the development of nuclear energy against the backdrop of energy crisis prompted by a sharp increase in hydrocarbon fuel prices, instability of supplies, and the breakdown of logistics and technological chains. The participants agreed that, under these conditions, peaceful nuclear development could play a key role in solving the problems that numerous countries face, and become a driver for the development of their economies for decades to come.


Rosatom State Corporation Director General Alexey Likhachev, pointed out, "70 countries are actively claiming their position in the nuclear industry. According to the IAEA statement, at least 600 GW of nuclear capacity must be built by 2050, including small capacities, which amounts to not less than 1000 construction projects. Tens of millions of people will be engaged in this, followed by other millions who will use this energy. We are on the threshold of a certain qualitative change".


Speaking at the plenary session, Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of the Republic of Turkey Alparslan Bayraktar said "At present about one-third of the electricity being generated in Turkey comes from coal, so at some point we need to replace the coal- capacity with cleaner energy sources, which ensure the basic load, to decarbonize the Turkish energy system. It is the nuclear industry that provides an obvious solution to this situation. According to our preliminary estimates, we need to build from 16 to 20 nuclear power units in total, i.e. 12 to 16 units in addition to Akkuyu NPP, to achieve the goal of transition to the carbon-free economy by the middle of this century".


AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC Chief Executive Officer Anastasia Zoteeva greeted Turkish journalists at ATOMEXPO-2022 and answered their questions. She also told them about the progress of the first NPP in Turkey: "We are currently building four units simultaneously; Akkuyu NPP is the largest construction project on the planet. Works on the second power unit are being performed ahead of schedule; the reactor vessel, for instance, was installed two months earlier than planned. The first power unit is being built in accordance with the schedule. We have a very eventful program for this year: we must enclose the reactor compartment, install the dome, and start flushing onto the open reactor, which is a crucial process operation meant to check if the whole system operates perfectly. We have completed construction of the installation hall and the nuclear fuel storage facility. The pump stations which will be used for the turbine operation are being built at an accelerated pace. We are feeling confident and looking forward to the next year when fresh nuclear fuel will be delivered to Akkuyu NPP construction site, and it will take Turkey one step closer to becoming a full-fledged member of the international "nuclear club"".


The plenary session on the second day was devoted to the use of small modular nuclear power plants. The meeting was attended by IAEA Deputy Director General Mikhail Chudakov, Rosatom First Deputy Director General for International Business Development Kirill Komarov, Myanmar Minister of Electric Power Thaung Han, Kyrgyz Minister of Energy Taalaibek Ibraev, Chukotka Autonomous District Governor Roman Kopin, and others. They stared that onshore SMRs would be built in Russia in the foreseeable future.


Speakers noted that Rosatom would replicate low-power NPP projects in Russia and offer them to foreign customers, which could include countries with territories far from centralized energy supplies, island states, countries with low demand for electricity, or large industrial facilities. Rosatom has the potential to launch serial construction of such plants. Komarov explained that the fuel component in the cost of a kilowatt at small NPPs does not exceed 3–5 percent making prices predictable for decades to come.


The forum’s business programme also provided for a discussion on financing the transition to green energy. Guests spoke about the rapid development of renewable energy sources and their higher share in the energy balance of several countries, taking into account the fight against climate change, the risks of stagnation, and the ability to avoid energy crisis.


Another important discussion topic at the forum was the electrification of transport. In Kaliningrad, Rosatom is building a gigafactory to produce lithium-ion batteries, which will be launched in mid-2025. It should be able to equip 50,000 electric vehicles per year. Three more similar factories with the same capacity are also in the pipeline. The first factory’s future products have already been divided among potential consumers.


AKKUYU NUCLEAR JSC and REIN JSC, a managing company of the Akkuyu NPP Project, jointly established a special thematic area within the forum premises, where the forum attendees could familiarize themselves with Turkish tea and coffee traditions. The forum guests were offered to try real Turkish tea, coffee and sweets, and also be photographed in the photo area arranged in a traditional Turkish style, with the Akkuyu NPP construction site image as the background. The forum attendees showed their great interest in the cafe and thematic photo area; the Akkuyu-REIN exhibition area was visited by more than 1 500 people during the two days of ATOMEXPO-2022.


Over the two days of the forum, the participants signed roughly 50 agreements concerning various businesses. Multiple agreements were concluded with Russia’s foreign partners. For example, Rosatom and the Republic of Burundi signed a roadmap on cooperation in assessing the prospects for nuclear generation in this country. A similar document was signed with Nicaragua. A memorandum with Zimbabwe covers education and training of personnel in this country’s nuclear energy sector.


Several agreements were also signed with Belarus, specifically regarding the supply of Russian medical equipment for cancer treatment. Rosatom will also cooperate with Uzbekistan in the medical industry, for example, by developing technologies to obtain radionuclides for nuclear medicine. An agreement was also signed on the development of technical specifications to substantiate the construction of a low-power NPP in Kyrgyzstan.


Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev noted that newcomers to the ‘nuclear club’ that want to rely on low-carbon sources would be the main points of growth for the nuclear energy industry over the next 20–30 years.