Far from the specific paranoia of the Cold War era, talk now is that Russia’s Rosatom nuclear fuel giant may soon end up supplying 10 percent of U.S. nuclear fuel needs.
In partnership with General Electric Co. (GE), Russian state-owned Rosatom is expanding its nuclear fuel supply to the US, hoping to gain a 10-percent market share—adding to the 20 percent of the US enriched uranium market it already controls.
Last week, Rosatom’s TVEL signed an agreement with U.S. Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas, a subsidiary of GE-Hitachi, on cooperation in licensing, marketing and fabrication of fuel for U.S. Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs).
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According to Russian news agencies, Russia currently holds 17 percent of the global nuclear power plant fuel market. That means it has covered all of its own supply for 76 reactors, along with the reactors in 14 more countries. By 2019-2020, Rosatom hopes to be supply nuclear fuel to the U.S..
Speaking at the Atomexpo-2016 on Monday, where it signed US$10 billion in deals, Rosatom TVEL Fuel Company vice-president Oleg Grigoryev said: “We expect the share of our deliveries to be more than 10% of the US market for this kind of fuel.”
TVEL’s exports already exceed US$1 billion annually, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.
The move to gain this extra nuclear fuel market share still requires approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
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According to Bloomberg, Rosatom has been supplying low-enriched uranium to the U.S .since 1987.
Rosatom is apparently not targeted by U.S. sanctions.
In 1992, according to Bloomberg, an anti-dumpling investigation prompted trade controls that affected how much low-enriched uranium Rosatom could supply to the U.S.. From 2002 to 2011, Rosatom had to stop commercial supplies to the U.S. For now, the Russian giant has long-term uranium delivery contracts with Centrus Energy Corp. ,NextEra Energy Resources and Exelon Generation Company LLC.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com