Rosatom's Proryv is not a hindrance for Naryv | Latest news The Moscow Post
05 December 2023

Rosatom's "Proryv" is not a hindrance for "Naryv"

Nonsense: the Government of the Russian Federation does not give the Rosatom State Corporation money for science.

Is the "fiddling while Rome is burning" over? And the wealthiest State Corporation, Rosatom, will probably get in line to continue begging for billions for its utopian projects, won’t it?

The Russian Government has not found funds to Finance a separate Rosatom national project on nuclear science and technology. The Ministry of Finance has budgeted only 24 billion rubles out of the requested 339.6 billion rubles for the implementation of this national project until 2024. And the total cost of the program to Finance research in the field of creating new types of nuclear reactors, thermonuclear fusion and CNFC (closed nuclear fuel cycle) is estimated at 732.6 billion rubles!

But why does Rosatom need such money? After all, in addition to the chatter - Rosatom here, Rosatom there, builds in 38 countries using the most Proryv (breakthrough) technologies - in fact, the results are very modest, if not to say, meager.

If we recall, first of all, the Proryv Project (among nuclear professionals, it has long been called otherwise — Naryv (abscess)), as well as the international thermonuclear project ITER, which Russia got up to its ears... In the same large nuclear "pot" of the Rosatom GC there are also problematic fast reactors, which the entire civilized world refused to create. But the main Nuclear Department of the country, to put it mildly, is trying to continue to tear pieces of "meat" from the budget for all its "breakthroughs and abcesses".

The correspondent of The Moscow Post studied the details.

Desperate resistance of the Ministry of Finance

It should be noted that Rosatom has included research in the field of two-component nuclear power technology with a closed nuclear fuel cycle among the areas related to science and technology. This is the ever-memorable Proryv Project, for which Rosatom has a burning desire to spend 166.5 billion rubles until 2024. And another 75.6 billion rubles it would be necessary to beg for the creation of an experimental stand base.

In addition, Rosatom wants to spend up to 152.7 billion rubles on controlled thermonuclear fusion technologies. Russia is participating in the ITER international consortium, which is building a demonstration thermonuclear plant in Cadarache in Southern France. Tokamak should be launched in 2025 (this is a new launch date, the previous ones were postponed 7 or 8 times).

Rosatom plans to focus another 58.8 billion rubles on developing new materials and technologies for advanced energy systems. Rosatom wants to spend 279 billion rubles on the design and construction of reference nuclear power units, including low-power ones.

It should be noted that the Ministry of Finance fiercely resisted the inclusion of such excessively large expenditures in the budget due to its deficit.

Discussion in the Russian Government concluded that the Ministry of Finance included only to 8.17 billion for 2021, 9.46 billion rubles - for 2022 and 6.35 billion rubles - for 2023 in the draft budget for the program.

It seems that Rosatom has never been humiliated like this before.

Give us another 800 billion

Let us recall that a few months ago, Rosatom reported that it - desperately - needs 800 billion rubles to create its own national project. After such a statement, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (at that time) tried to gently put Rosatom in its place. 

But three days later, the decision was made: the head of the Supervisory Board of Rosatom State Corporation, a high-ranking employee of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, Sergey Kiriyenko, also - in the recent past - the head of Rosatom, intervened.

Sergey Kiriyenko was head of the nuclear industry from 2005 to 2011 and made a real mess

Thus, the State Corporation has not spent millions for a long time: the bill is mostly in the billions. And trillions. Rosatom spends a lot of money on building foreign nuclear power plants: Belarus, Turkey, and Bangladesh have already received billions of dollars in loans. The countries of Africa, which also need nuclear power plants for some reason are next in line.

Rosatom also announced plans to build a quantum computer for 24 billion rubles. Is the State Corporation challenging Google and IBM? According to Intel estimates, the use of quantum computers to work with real tasks will not be possible until 2025. Rosatom says it will be able to cope with it by 2024.

The material that Rosatom intends to take up a quantum computer for 24 billion rubles appeared on the PROATOM.RU professional website of nuclear scientists. And then curious comments started coming in: "The idea of quantum computers comes from the schizophrenia of quantum physics, when so-called virtual qubits can simultaneously be in two states: zero and one... This is the nonsense of quantum physicists who can't clearly explain what a wave function is..."

"The fact that only three out of 15 people in the Rosatom leadership have a basic education, and the head of Rosatom (Alexey Likhachev) has got a humanities degree and has nothing to do with nuclear physics at all, greatly affects the nature of decisions made. A commentator on PROATOM writes.

"ITER is a fake!"

That's exactly the same way, professional nuclear scientists are angry and wild spending on the dead-end - in their opinion - ITER project: it's about an international experimental thermonuclear reactor. It has been under construction for several years in Caradache, France.

Some Russians tend to believe that the international experimental thermonuclear reactor, which is being built with Russia's participation, is a gamble. But Russia continues to invest huge amounts of money into the dubious project of the 21st century.

In total, Russia's contribution to ITER should amount to 30 billion rubles.

Cadarache, France, construction

Serious transfers began in 2012. The largest transfer was made in 2014: Russia transferred more than 5.6 billion rubles for the construction of a thermonuclear reactor in French Provence.

Who is responsible for working for ITER in Russia? A certain private entity of Rosatom GC called ITER Project Centre.

- We, Russian scientists, have been testifying for quite a long time that ITER is a bluff. The ITER project, in which Russia continues to invest huge amounts of money, is a pure adventure," - says Igor Ostretsov, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor and world-renowned scientist. - Thermonuclear research has been going on for more than 60 years. ITER is "fake". This thermonuclear reactor is not a tool that can solve the energy problems of mankind. 

Ostretsov's words are quoted by Versia.

World-renowned scientist, Doctor of Technical Sciences Igor Ostretsov

The international team of ITER, according to the scientist, has got some "narrow" aims.

Isn't it time to try to understand the Russian plasma research program: what are its goals?

"Rich bride"

Until recently, the Rosatom State Corporation was a "rich bride" and did not have time to substitute the "hem" into which the most expensive Russian projects were falling.

Let us recall that the Federal project Northern Sea Route was fully transferred to the supervision of the Rosatom State Corporation. The cost of this project is estimated at 587 billion rubles, of which budget expenditures may amount to more than 265 billion rubles.

The next gift is Sea Ports of Russia. They, too, suddenly and promptly went to the "garden" of the Rosatom GC.

Further. Rosatom will also implement the program "Construction and reconstruction of port infrastructure facilities at the expense of extra-budgetary sources of financing in the Dixon seaport, Payakhskoye and Severo-Payakhskoye fields".

The Nuclear Department is also assigned another important task - to make dredging on the Northern Sea Route.

The Federal project Northern Sea Route was fully transferred to the supervision of Rosatom

The volume of capital dredging of section 2 of the port of Sabetta (Utrenny terminal) may amount to 12 363 000 cubic metres. Further, another 150 000 cubic metres must be made for the Chaika coal terminal. It's in port Dixon. An enormous amount of money has already been allocated.

But will all these billions come to this "bottom"?

But there is such information for reflection: over the past 2 and a half years, the project for the development of the Northern Sea Route has risen in price by 150 billion rubles. And the initiators of the increase in the estimate were not the state, but some interested parties, namely Rosatom GC and NOVATEK, the office of Leonid Mikhelson.

Arrests in Rosatom

But let us recall a well-known postulate - where there is a lot of money, big crimes are also committed. During Kiriyenko's time alone, 38 top managers were dismissed for various embezzlements at Rosatom, and more than 220 responsible employees were disciplined. 14 business leaders also got "dirty".

And recently, the law enforcement networks even caught a long-term adviser to the head of Rosatom, Doctor of Technical Sciences Vladimir Grachev. However, the name of Professor Grachev disappeared from the website of the State Corporation 5 minutes after the news about the detention went out.

Former adviser to the Head of Rosatom Vladimir Grachev is currently under house arrest

Let us recall the most high-profile resignations and arrests.

The story of the dismissal of two brothers from Rosatom - the nuclear generals Kogtevs - is still being heard. Senior one, Konstantin Kogtev, General Director of Energospezmontazh was removed for theft during the construction of the Rostov NPP. His younger brother, Andrey Kogtev, was also dismissed for theft. He was the first Deputy Head of JSC Atomenergoproekt. This was written by Versia.

Let us recall that the Kogtev Sr. once held the post of Federal inspector of the Volga Federal district for the Samara region. And the younger one was the Director of the Sphinx company: it ruined hundreds of residents of Samara, because it turned out to be an ordinary pyramid.

Photo of Vladimir Grachev after his arrest immediately disappeared from the website of the State Corporation

The arrest of Vladimir Boev, Deputy Director of the Kursk NPP, was also egregious, as reported. As it turned out, huge amounts were being stolen at the Kursk NPP at that time ! Boev was arrested with the approval of the Prosecutor of the Kursk region. He was charged with abuse of office and embezzlement of more than 65 million rubles. During interrogations, Boev could not remember how many garages he had, either 28 or 32.

Let's recall the loud detention of the Head of the Department of capital construction of Rosatom State Corporation Sergey Kolobaev. He oversaw the construction of a storage facility for irradiated nuclear fuel. But Kolobaev was quickly released on bail of 5 million rubles, as Interfax wrote.

The case of Olga Nikonova, the top Manager of subsidiary of Rosatom, TVEL fuel company, is still being heard. She "earned" more than 100 million rubles when concluding fictitious contracts. Ms. Nikonova was detained at the Russian-Finnish border on her way to her cozy Finnish house.

How many billions have flown out of the nuclear pipe in the last 10-15 years?

Are the caramel days over?

Though, caramel time for Rosatom seems to have passed!

The Rosenergoatom company - the structural division of Rosatom - not so long ago received a fine. The Market Council signed Rosenergoatom a penalty of 350 million rubles. The reason is the failure of the launch of the sixth power unit at the Novovoronezh NPP, the same one that Versiya told about in its publication Bomb Voronezh.

A memorable emergency at the Novovoronezh NPP occurred in November 2016

Rosenergoatom was supposed to launch the new power unit on January 1, 2017. But it didn't start. It had to pay a huge fine.

It would seem that there was nothing sensational in the news. However, experts immediately drew attention to the fact that this happened for the first time. The Atomic Department has been a "sacred cow" all these years! And here — an enormous penalty. Analysts saw this as a sign.

And there is persistent talk that Rosatom may be transferred from direct subordination to the Government of the Russian Federation to one of the relevant Ministries. Can there be a financial audit soon?

Perhaps, finally, it will become known where the cash allocated for the Proryv Project, the BN-800 fast reactor, the "parts" for ITER, etc. have gone.

Do not understand

So, in 2016, the Russian Government approved the Proryv Project. The program, which runs until 2030, provides for the construction of new NPP and the introduction of closed nuclear fuel cycle based on fast reactors. But nuclear professionals can see several serious mistakes in the project that can lead the nuclear industry to a dead end.

Progressive nuclear countries have long closed their fast reactor projects. First of all, because of the accident rate.

At the same time, there is a powerful advertising campaign to promote the use of a closed nuclear fuel cycle as the basis of the Russian Federation's strategy in the development of nuclear energy. But there was no clarity: what will Russia do with this nuclear fuel? And is there any hope of having a closed fuel cycle? Rosatom insists that there is!

But the Nuclear Department for some reason has forgotten to warn: it takes half a century to wait for this Proryv. By the way, the Proryv Project is managed by the former Minister of Atomic Energy Yevgeny Adamov, a man of, frankly, imperfect reputation...

Yevgeny Adamov, former nuclear Minister

Here is the opinion of Doctor of Technical Sciences Igor Ostretsov, who at one time was a member of the working group No. 7 of the Commission on modernization under the President of the Russian Federation:

"This is not the first day I have been talking about the complete absurdity of the proposals for a closed fuel cycle as the basis of the country's nuclear strategy. Rosatom is going the wrong way. The main factor limiting the large-scale development of global nuclear power is the shortage of available uranium-235 reserves. Commercial reserves of uranium-235 do not exceed the energy potential of oil reserves. And they can't radically solve the energy problem. But Rosatom is actively working with breeder reactors, forgetting to warn the country's leadership that this program cannot be implemented even by 2030, since the doubling time for the production of artificial plutonium-239 nuclear fuel is at least 50 years."

However, over these 50 years, many more budget billions can be spent.

But Rosatom seemed to go deaf and blind.

The State Corporation does not say anything about the accident rate of fast reactors. Over the past decades, 12 industrial fast neutron reactors have been built in the world – three in Germany, two each in France, Russia and Japan, and one each in Kazakhstan, the United Kingdom and the United States. How many employees? Two. And both of them are here, in Russia, at the Beloyarsk NPP.

By the way, Rosatom keeps quiet about emergencies and accidents at fast reactors. And at the Beloyarsk NPP, they say, there were more than 30 of these emergencies.

Another presentation of the Proryv  Project

Germany built its own breeder in 1974. And closed it. Another SNR-2 breeder, the construction of which began in the early 70s, Germany completed in the late 90s, but did not put into operation. France built the Phoenix breeder in 1973 and the Superphoenix in 1985. But their work was stopped due to increased accidents.

The problems of breeders are also related to the problems of radioactive waste. Today, the issue of building fast reactors in third countries is not even discussed, since each breeder must have a radiochemical production facility to separate the accumulated plutonium. Moreover, in this production, for every million kilowatts of electric power, more than 20 tons of plutonium will be circulated.

Conclusion? It will not be possible to create large-scale nuclear power using breeder reactors in the near future. This is the opinion of leading Russian nuclear scientists, but not of top managers Kiriyenko and Likhachev.

It turns out that Rosatom is leading the nuclear industry to a dead end, and for a record number of budget billions, isn’t it? And it requires new billions…

Isn’t it time to stop?

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