Atomenergoprom, a Russian state-ruled holding, and Japanese Toshiba have signed an agreement on cooperation development in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy. The alliance may well become the world’s leader in this field.
Toshiba was not the only company to offer cooperation to Atomenergoprom, so the Russian party had to pick one of the potential partners.
The agreement implies that Russian Atomenergoprom, which runs the Russian civil nuclear industry, conjointly with Toshiba will engineer nuclear power plants, produce equipment and nuclear fuel cycle products and services. The companies will reportedly establish strategic partnership in future.
Atomenergoprom is one of the four largest companies operating at the market of nuclear fuel cycle products and services. The leaders in this sphere are alliances Areva – Siemens, GE – Hitachi and Toshiba – Westinghouse.
The newly signed agreement will make Atomenergoprom and Toshiba the key players at the world nuclear market.
It should be mentioned that the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has recently published a draft concept of Russia’s development up to 2020. According to the document, the export volume of Russian equipment and services will reach $8-14 billion (measured in prices of 2006) by 2020. The concept considers integration of Russian atomic industry into the world economy to be one of the top-priority tasks.
The Russian corporation plans to make profits by construction and servicing NPPs abroad in order to invest the earned money in development of the Russian atomic industry.
The world market prospects look very attractive: the USA and China will build over 100 nuclear reactors, India is expected to build about 40 reactors, the UK – over 10. Besides, Lithuania, Poland, Turkey, Finland and Bulgaria are likely to construct new nuclear power plants.
The only question here is why the Russian corporation has picked Toshiba as a partner. The economic advantages are evident: while the Russians spend 5 years on construction of a power-generating unit, the Japanese are able to build it for 36 months. However, the Japanese party hasn’t got the established full nuclear fuel cycle and needs Russia to help it.
The Kuril Islands
The choice of the Russian company was also policy-induced. The Japanese government intends to resume negotiations on the Kuril Islands territory issues. This matter will be discussed at the G8 summit in Japan on 7-9 July, 2008.
Russian analysts suppose the Japanese party will express usual displeasure concerning the deal, as it is vital to sign the bilateral agreement on peaceful uses of atomic energy.
Thus, the cooperation of Atomenergoprom with Toshiba contributes to the Russian-Japanese relations by rounding off rough corners of the thorniest political questions.