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On Thursday, Rosatom, the state-owned, Russian nuclear energy company, announced that it had signed an agreement with Rolls-Royce of the UK, and Fortum, a Finnish utility company, to build nuclear power plants in Great Britain.
In a statement Rosatom said that “a cooperation agreement was signed between Rosatom state corporation, Rolls-Royce and Fortum whose goal is to jointly study the possibilities for building and maintaining nuclear power stations with water-water power reactors in Britain.”
The agreement was completed during talks between Rosatom CEO Sergei Kiriyenko, and Michael Fallon, the British Business and Energy Minister.
Britain has been looking for foreign investment and expertise to help it replace its ageing nuclear power plants before 2025. The UK has chosen nuclear power, amongst other renewable energy sources, to help keep its carbon emissions footprint low, but has struggled to develop its nuclear new build programme due to regulatory delays, and arguments over how much public money should be used.
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Rosatom explained that “the sides (involved in the agreement) consider the British energy market attractive because the largest part of the existing fleet of Britain's nuclear power stations is planned to be phased out over the medium term.”
During the talks Kiriyanko and Fallon also signed a deal agreeing that Russia and Britain would cooperate in nuclear energy development. Fallon stated, “I welcome the partnership between the UK and Russia on civil nuclear cooperation.”
Although Rosatom warns for patience, claiming that this “is the beginning of a very long road, because just the licensing of the project can take up from three to five years and then there is the time it takes to obtain a license for a site.”
Despite doubts over Russia’s nuclear technology after the disaster at Chernobyl in 1986, Rosatom has been bidding for major tenders around Europe, and this could prove to be a big boon for the company.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com