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New nuclear energy trends in the Middle East

05.09.2011

139_350_175.jpgMOSCOW, SEPTEMBER 5, 2011. PIR PRESS – “The image losses, which the nuclear sector has witnessed after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, have barely affected Russian companies, considerably hitting Rosatom competitors in the Middle East. At the same time the advantages of Russian state corporation connected to spent nuclear fuel withdrawal and extensive state support remained intact. However a number of Rosatom's new competitors either are in no way inferior in their capabilities (KEPCO) or can considerably bridge the gap in the nearest future (Chinese companies)”, - PIR Center intern Andrey Baklitskiy.

On July 27, 2011 as a part of PIR Center Midweek Brainstorming Sessions a research paper Russian Nuclear Interests in the Middle East was presented by PIR Center intern Andrey Baklitskiy.

As the global discussion on the future development of nuclear energy sector continues empowered by the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, it is no surprise that Russia as one of the world leading exporters of nuclear technologies pays greater attention to the Middle East. The region is one of the few places in the world where we can still talk about Nuclear Renaissance being at the same time one of the most problematic from the point of view of nuclear nonproliferation. What are Russian peaceful nuclear energy interests in the Middle East? How can the balance be maintained between the strengthening of the nonproliferation regime and following the commercial interests in the nuclear energy sector? Andrey Baklitskiy is trying to answer these and other questions in his research paper.p6667_2.jpg

“The image losses, which the nuclear sector has witnessed after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, have barely affected Russian companies, considerably hitting Rosatom competitors in the Middle East. At the same time the advantages of Russian State Corporation connected to spent nuclear fuel withdrawal and extensive state support remained intact. However a number of Rosatom's new competitors either are in no way inferior in their capabilities (KEPCO) or can considerably bridge the gap in the nearest future (Chinese companies)”, underlined Andrey Baklitskiy.

According to Andrey Baklitskiy “A good solution to the nonproliferation challenges facing the region would be for the states to join the Russian International Uranium Enrichment Center, which would give this countries an access to the full nuclear fuel cycle yet on the Russian territory. This would diminish nuclear proliferation risks, would be more attractive for the countries of the region from the image perspective, compared to the mere buying of the fuel, and would allow the countries to save a good deal of money on the enrichment technologies”.

Participants of the seminar have noted that cooperation with existing Middle East regional organizations working in the peaceful nuclear energy sector (Arab Atomic Energy Agency, The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) is to become an important factor for promoting Russian interests. Yevgenij Sidorov has also pointed out that “we should pay great attention to the economic risks of big nuclear energy projects in the Middle East. When we discuss concession projects we have to understand that among other things it includes calculating electricity prices 30-40 years in advance”.

p6667_3.jpgAssociate professor at the International Relations and Foreign Policy department of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations Ildar Akhtamzyan, Deputy Dean of the Physics and Energy Faculty of Obninsk Institute for Nuclear Power Engineering NIYaU MEPhI Pavel Belousov, Secretary of the Department for Security Affairs and Disarmament of the Russian Foreign Ministry Gleb Maslov, Chief Specialist at the Central Institute of Continuing Education and Training Yevgenij Sidorov, Assistant to the Ambassador of Ukraine to Russian Federation Veronica Taradai, representatives from Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences as well as PIR Center staff members participated in the workshop.

As a part of PIRCenter and Institute of Oriental Studies of the RussianAcademy of Sciences project Russia and the Middle East Countries: Advancing the Strategic Interests the article Nuclear-Weapon-Free Middle East by Vladimir Orlov was published in June issue of International Affairs. An article WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East: from Ideals to Reality by PIRCenter "Nuclear Nonproliferation and Russia" Program Coordinator Ivan Trushkin is to be published in Security Index journal.

For further information concerning Midweek Brainstorming Sessions and PIR Center education programs, please contact PIR Center's Education and Training Program Coordinator Liana Kogoshvili by phone +7 (495) 987-19-15; fax: +7 (495) 987-19-14 or via e-mail: edu at pircenter.org 

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