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Rosatom's Deputy CEO for Corporate Development and International Business Kirill Komarov tells us how Rosatom remains competitive.

- What is the government contribution to keeping the nuclear industry competitive?

- If we take a look at global practices in hi-tech exports, we will see that they are always supported by national governments in a variety of forms and ways. The most common of them are export loans made by the government and often channeled through dedicated export import banks. The government can also provide guaranties as it is done in France and Germany where government agencies virtually insure loans made by commercial banks, thus supporting hi-tech exports. Support can also come in the form of direct financing. This is how it works, and Russia is no exclusion.

- Does Russia benefit from Rosatom's overseas projects financed with long-term loans and having payback periods of over 15 years?

- Sure it does. First, government support of nuclear projects, such as in Turkey or Finland, is logical because it promotes hi-tech domestic products. Second, it is economically feasible for the Russian industry. When we build a nuclear station abroad, the lion's share of project-related orders goes to Russian-based companies. All the core equipment is produced in our country; project design documents are also developed in Russia; complex construction and installation works that require high-level qualification are carried out by Russian engineering companies. You see that an overseas nuclear construction project is at the same time a project for the national industry. Our estimates speak for themselves: if 95–98% of supplies and services for a nuclear project are localized in Russia, one job in this project creates 7 to 10 new jobs in other industries. One ruble invested in the nuclear construction project contributes three rubles to the national GDP. These are highly effective activities giving an impetus to the social and economic development of the entire country.

- Do foreign companies, such as Westinghouse and Areva, provide finance when competing for new contracts?

- Yes, they do. But their offering lacks certain components which Rosatom has as a one-off company on the market. No other nuclear industry company can offer services across the entire value chain – from uranium mining to nuclear decommissioning, including finance. Besides, we have proven expertise in nuclear construction and a long track record of domestic and international projects completed right on time. It is clear that overseas projects are much more difficult than those in your native country where you know the regulatory framework and rules.

- What other competitors, apart from the French and Americans, does Rosatom have? Can they give way to China or South Korea, now active in civil nuclear research and development?

- You should be too self-assured to underestimate your competitors. Both China and South Korea have a solid foundation for the development of nuclear engineering, but building nuclear stations in your country is not sufficient to enter the international market. The two countries have to prove yet that they are capable of delivering international projects. And when they do, sooner or later, they will definitely become strong competitors because they will also have a comprehensive offering, with financial services and other perks included. We should not forget, however, that no one wants to build Generation II or II+ reactors after the Fukushima disaster, but these reactors are what China is able to offer for now. To enter the global market with a Generation III+ reactor, you first have to build it in your country, which requires time at least. We'll live, we'll see. Let them try.

- What other export-oriented products and services, apart from NPP construction, do you believe to have market prospects?

- I think we are competitive across the entire range of our products. Our export products and services are not limited to the construction of nuclear stations. We have long been present on the uranium enrichment and nuclear fuel markets. At present, 100% of Russian-designed nuclear reactors operating abroad are supplied with our fuel. We have long been working on the natural uranium market. We have been providing maintenance services to Russian-designed nuclear stations in other countries and are successful at it. Rusatom Service, a recently established subsidiary, closed the year with a $400m contract portfolio. This is a very promising market where there is much to do and much room to grow. Besides, nuclear medicine is what developing countries need. We are considering available opportunities to provide end product – medical services, rather than just sell diagnostic and cancer treatment equipment. We plan to go into these market segments in partnership with local medical companies. But first we will implement similar project in Russia and then replicate the business model on international markets. There are many other areas to apply nuclear or radiation technologies, among them irradiation of seeds. This treatment increases yield and provides pest protection. Nuclear equipment is not the only equipment we are capable of producing. We are now entering the domestic and global markets with a range of non-nuclear products that can be manufactured by our engineering subsidiaries. These products include machines and components for the conventional power industry and petrochemistry, advanced electronics, safety systems and scanners. To cut it short, we have a variety of products and services in our portfolio to enter the global market.

Kirill Komarov: How to be competitive
Kirill Komarov: How to be competitive