Russia eyes nuclear boom

After years of underfunding, Russia’s nuclear industry is enjoying a revival. The country is heading towards a unified nuclear energy policy, with all plants managed by a new state-owned corporation.

The nuclear industry claims it's cheaper and damages the environment less than other ways of energy-production.

Vitaly, a 23-year-old atomic engineer, comes from a dynasty of nuclear power plant workers.

“Atomic engineering is part of me – it's my destiny; it's my first and last love. I am not interested in anything else, and I will never want another profession,” he says.

Control room, Kalininskaya NPP
Control room, Kalininskaya NPP

The engineer spent a large part of his life living and working in the Russian capital, but chose to return to a small town of Udomlya, about 350 kilometres away from Moscow in the Tver region. The Kalininskaya nuclear station – the biggest in central Russia – is located there.

The plant was set up shortly after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The Kalininskaya NPP supplies energy to the largest Russian cities, like Moscow, and St. Petersburg.

For years, development stagnated in Russia because of a lack of investment and the fear of another Chernobyl.

Nowadays, Russia's nuclear goal is to generate 25 % of the country's energy needs.

“After the Chernobyl catastrophe, the country stopped building nuclear power plants. And then they started to appear all over Russia again,” Aleksandr Barinov, Head Engineer of the plant says.

More and more young people are ready and willing to join the team at the Kalininskaya NPP.

The rapidly growing economy in Russia requires more energy, and the country is set to continue developing nuclear energy, and expand the number of plants throughout the country.