Russian Nuclear Technology in China: What’s in Store?
What are some facts about the nuclear partnership between Russia and China?
Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, has signed seven contracts in Beijing, the most impressive of which is the nuclear agreement between Russia and China. According to news sources , Russia is currently offering China two of its best nuclear reactors, which are said to be the safest in the world and at a reasonable price to boot. Suspicious minds have a right to be, for it is remarkable that Russia would do this. Cooperation has been brewing since last year when Russian specialists completed the construction of two VVER-1000 reactors at the Taiwan nuclear power plant and then linked them to the Chinese national grid.
What do the new arrangements of the nuclear agreement entail?
New negotiations have changed things a bit. Russia is now to provide uranium enrichment services and help China build the fourth stage of its gas centrifuge plant (three are already in operation). This will permit China to increase the uranium required for making fuel rods, which in turn will hopefully reduce fuel prices and assuage its current critical power shortages. In the next two decades, plans to build 20 nuclear plants will hopefully make China less dependant on “outside enrichment services.”
How will Russia benefit from this seemingly generous agreement?
By concluding a long-term contract to supply 6 million separation work units (SWUs), of low-enriched uranium to China, it will be possible for Russia to estimate the cost of obtaining one kilogram of low-enriched uranium. This is significant, considering that the world's total uranium enrichment capacities amount to 36 million SWUs. Another Russian benefit will be more orders for the country’s centrifuge building industry, the capacities of which are currently running ahead of the country's requirements.
Russia and China coalesce and the rest of the world…holds its breath!
M Dee Dubroff