Russia and Myanmar to establish working body for nuclear technology

Russia and Myanmar will establish a working body this year for using nuclear technology, Russian officials said at an exhibition and forum in Moscow last week.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in June 2015.

This was the first step to building a legal foundation for interaction between Russia and Myanmar in the area of nuclear technology including research, radioisotopes production, nuclear medicine, radioimmunotherapy, nuclear safety, radiation risk assessment, and training scientists and administrators, according to Russian state-owned Rosatom Corporation.

Nikolay Drozdov, director of international business at Rosatom, told The Myanmar Times in Moscow, “We are planning to create a working body and are making a roadmap for the realisation of our project.”

Russia and Myanmar first signed an inter-governmental agreement to cooperate in nuclear technology and build a nuclear research centre in 2007, Mr Drozdov said. Russia has trained a large number of Myanmar students in nuclear technology over the past 10 years.

“This year, we have three scholarships for students from Myanmar for nuclear degrees. More than 700 students from Myanmar have graduated in Russia, studying nuclear-related fields but not nuclear physics,” he said.

The Russian state corporation is seeking potential investment opportunities in the Southeast Asian region, and is offering comprehensive nuclear technology and experience, according to a statement on the company’s website.

Rosatom opened its regional headquarters in Singapore in 2012, and has since organised a number of visits to Russian nuclear power plants, for officials from the region, it said.

The company is building two nuclear power units with water-cooled and water-moderated (VVER) reactors in Vietnam, and has also won a tender for the preliminary design of a 10- megawatt reactor in Indonesia.

“We are not sure yet which ASEAN country will be the next newcomer to develop a nuclear power plant after Vietnam. We are also discussing possible participation in nuclear programs with Indonesia and Malaysia.”

Regionally, the company has signed cooperation agreements with Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia for nuclear technology, said Mr Drozdov. The next steps depend on the country’s needs.

“The construction of nuclear power plants is a very serious step in developing a nuclear industry, but first a country must take a number of important steps such as writing nuclear legislation, creating nuclear civil infrastructure and joining the International Atomic Energy Agency, the main global intergovernmental organisation that promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Myanmar’s biggest neighbours, China and India, are using nuclear technology for power generation, while the IAEA reviewed progress at Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant earlier this year.

Bangladesh has established a nuclear safety regulatory body and Rosatom has agreed to build the plant in Rooppur in Padma district, 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Dhaka, according to the IAEA.

China has 33 operational nuclear power plants and 22 under construction, while India has 21 operational plants and six under construction, according to a recent IAEA report.

Rosatom is actively seeking new business opportunities and organised a large number of international delegations and media from across the world to the 8th Atomexpo International Forum in Moscow. During the event, the company signed 30 agreements with a number of countries, worth a total of US$10 billion.

Worldwide electricity generation from nuclear power was 10 gigawatts in 2015. This figure is expected to reach 1000GW by 2050, said experts during a plenary session at the forum.

“Nuclear power is good as base load power generation. The difference between nuclear and renewable energy is base load generation. And nuclear energy can be the basis for a carbonless power balance,” said Sergey Kiriyenko, general director of Rosatom.

There are 444 nuclear power reactors worldwide in operation with total net installed capacity of 386,276MW and 65 more plants under construction, according to the IAEA.

The market response to nuclear power has been slow, as it is going through a period of readjustment and rebalancing, said Anna Bryndza, vice president of US-based Ux Consulting Company.

Worldwide production of uranium, the main fuel for nuclear power, jumped from 13 million pounds to 158 million pounds in 2015, according to Ms Bryndza.

“Given the continued growth of the global energy matrix, the case in favour of nuclear power reminds strong,” she said.

 

Source: The Myanmar Times

 

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