Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev speaks at 65th IAEA General Conference
On September 20, 2021, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev spoke at a plenary session at the 65th IAEA General Conference, which is currently taking place in Vienna, Austria.
In his speech, Likhachev praised the work of the IAEA’s current leadership, that of Director General Rafael Grossi, noting that “in the difficult conditions caused by the pandemic, the Agency is continuing to fully fulfill its statutory tasks.”
Alexey Likhachev emphasised that Russia provides the Agency with expert and financial support across the board of its main areas of operation, highlighting the current priority to develop small modular reactors. “We fully support Mr. Grossi’s initiative to launch a new interdepartmental project on small modular reactors. The next logical step would be to hold an IAEA International Ministerial Conference on Small Modular Reactor Technologies. We are ready to host such an event in Russia,” said Likhachev.
Likhachev spoke about Russia’s successes in the development of small modular reactors, pointing to the country’s launch of the world’s only floating nuclear power plant in Chukotka (a plant equipped with two small nuclear reactors), plans to build four optimised floating power units in the same region to supply electricity to a local mining and processing plant, and the ongoing project to create a land-based RITM-200N reactor-equipped nuclear power plant in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
Likhachev highlighted the outstanding achievements Russia’s nuclear industry saw at the end of 2020, noting that “at over 215.7 billion kWh” the country had set “an absolute electricity generation record” – the highest in the entire history of its nuclear power industry.
Alexey Likhachev stressed Russia’s important role in the development of nuclear energy programmes in partner countries, emphasising the company’s focus on helping said partners achieve their long-term economic and sustainable development goals.
He also said that the seeds have been sowed for Russia’s new nuclear energy platform for after 2030, a platform comprising two-component power generation with a closed nuclear fuel cycle to “significantly increase the fuel base and resolve issues related to spent nuclear fuel management.”
Likhachev also outlined Rosatom’s ambitions to develop nuclear technologies for non-energy-related peaceful uses: “The peaceful use of the atom is not restricted to energy – there are also non-energy nuclear technologies that can contribute to achieving the UN sustainable development goals and improve peoples’ quality of life around the world. Such technologies are more and more in demand in the world, largely due to the IAEA’s proactive role.”
Likhachev dedicated the final part of his speech to the “green agenda,” stressing nuclear energy’s significant contribution to the fight against climate change. “In Russia, we have no doubts that modern nuclear energy complies with principles of sustainable development and provides the economy with stable and clean energy,” said Rosatom Director General, adding that the sustainability “of nuclear energy will be enshrined in legislation in the national Taxonomy of green projects” this year in Russia.
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Created in the framework of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the main international body that regulates global cooperation in the use of peaceful nuclear energy. The Agency collects and facilitates the exchange of scientific and technical information, develops nuclear and radiation safety standards, and directs its available staff of international inspectors to regularly inspect the 900 peaceful nuclear facilities operating around the world. As one of the IAEA’s founding countries and one of the leaders of the global nuclear industry, Russia plays a significant role in the organisation’s activities. The IAEA’s governing bodies include the General Conference and the Board of Governors. The General Conference, which comprises delegates from all member states, meets once a year to write and approve the agency’s annual report to the UN, determine its budget, elect and appoint members of the Board of Governors, and discuss any other issues related to the organisation’s activities.