Published On: Thu, Aug 29th, 2019

Putin news: Russia exporting nuclear reactors to US enemies amid Arctic tensions | World | News

Putin’s launch of a floating power plant last Friday caused panic in the Trump administration following revelations that the reactor would be situated in a Russian region just miles from Alaska. Russia, however, has progressed as a nuclear power since the Chernobyl tragedy in 1986. An expert has now suggested that Moscow is accumulating political and economic capital through exporting its prowess to allies and adversaries around the world.

Jonathan Cobb of the World Nuclear Association told the Kremlin ahs been gradually escalating its ‘nuclear exporting’ of plants and reactors to US rivals and nations Washington has recently been at odds with.

He said: “Russia is now building nuclear reactors in plenty of countries.

“This includes the likes of Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt.

“We are now far away from the age where each nation builds its own nuclear reactor and material.

Putin the nuclear exporter

Putin the nuclear exporter (Image: GETTY)

Russia's dominant nuclear programme

Russia’s dominant nuclear programme (Image: GETTY)

“Russia, as well as China, are now getting in on the act.

“Russia, in particular, are very active in exporting nuclear goods to other nations.”

In recent years Rosatom – Russia’s State Nuclear Energy Corporation – built six reactors in foreign nations.

These lie in India, Iran and China – the latter two of which are at diplomatic odds with Washington.

Rosatom spokespeople confirmed that another nine reactors are under construction in Turkey, Belarus, India, Bangladesh and China.

READ MORE: How Putin launched ‘Chernobyl-style’ nuclear power plant on Trump’s doorstep

Akademik Lusmonov

Akademik Lusmonov (Image: GETTY)

Another 19 are “firmly planned”, while there are 14 “proposed” projects in the pipeline to be built all around the world.

Mr Cobb claimed that Russia, while not necessarily far ahead of their Western counterparts in nuclear technology, had been forced to be creative with their nuclear construction.

Chukotka, a region in far-eastern Russia where the ‘floating’ Akademik Losmonov is set to go, is so remote that it required the solution of a mobile nuclear power plant.

The nuclear expert suggested that while Moscow was simply seeking to serve its own remote communities, a secondary benefit was now the technology was ready to export.

Russia’s nuclear programme, according to analysis by the Economist, is so dominant globally for two main reasons.


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Pakistan's Russian-built reactor

Pakistan’s Russian-built reactor (Image: GETTY)

No danger of Chernobyl, claims expert

No danger of Chernobyl, claims expert (Image: GETTY)

Firstly, designs are cheap to produce.

Second, Rosatom enjoys the backing of the state, meaning it has a monopoly on the global market.

With its only competitor being China – a political and economic ally – there is no danger of a ‘nuclear race’ between the two.

On Wednesday a report accused Russia of attempting to gain influence in Africa by selling nations nuclear technology that is allegedly unsuitable for their development.

Nuclear expert Nevine Schepers said: “These projects are far into the future, but Russia and Rosatom have been actively wooing African states.

“It is very profitable for them [because it] creates jobs at home and decades-long relationships.”

Akademik Lusmonov

Akademik Lusmonov (Image: GETTY)

Last Friday’s launch of the world’s first floating nuclear power plant put Washington officials on edge following a deadly explosion earlier this month followed by a suspicious radiation leak.

Greenpeace Russia head Rashid Alimov warned of the launch and said: “Any nuclear power plant produces radioactive waste and can have an accident, but Akademik Lomonosov is additionally vulnerable to storms.

“Any accident involving this fuel might have a serious impact on the fragile environment of the Arctic.

“There is no infrastructure for a nuclear clean up in the region.”

Russia has exported to Egypt

Russia has exported to Egypt (Image: GETTY)

However, Mr Cobb dismissed concerns of analysts who had dubbed the floating nuclear plant – also known as Akademik Losmonov – as ‘Chernobyl on Ice’.

He claimed that the accusation was sensationalist and an offshore power plant posed no more risk than a ground-based one.

The reactor deployment was thought to be part of Mr Putin’s long-term plan to exert control over the Arctic region.

Last Sunday saw two Russian nuclear-powered submarines – the Tula and the Uri Dolgoruky – fire ballistic missiles in the Arctic Ocean and Barents Sea.

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