Uzbekistan to start work on SMR-based power plant in September

The ceremony confirming the contract signed in May was held at the site of the future plant (UzAtom)
Uzbekistan will start work in September on a nuclear plant for six small modular reactors (SMRs), local media report.

UzAtom, the country’s nuclear energy agency, signed a protocol with Russian nuclear engineer Rosatom at the site of the future plant.

It follows a construction contract the two signed last month (see further reading).

The site is in the Jizzakh region, near the border with Tajikistan in the east. So far, the area has been surveyed and work has begun on a camp for workers.

Andrey Petrov, the deputy director general of Rosatom, said: “Our large-scale project for the construction of low-power nuclear power plants is picking up momentum to provide the region with clean energy.

“We know our Uzbek partners as efficient, talented managers, and now we are starting joint activities at the construction site. I am sure that we will fulfill together all contractual obligations on time and in proper quality.”

Rosatom’s image of its marine reactor

The reactors will be the RITM-200N, a generation-three-plus design developed by Rosatom subsidiary OKBM Afrikantov for use in icebreakers.

They have a power output of 55MW, so the complete plant will produce 330MW, adding a little more than 2% to the country’s installed capacity.

If the project succeeds, it will open the way for more such plants.

Eight RITM-200 reactors have been installed in four icebreakers so far.

The first land-based variant is expected to be completed in 2027. If all goes according to plan, the first unit will go critical in late 2029, with the remainder following on a one-by-one basis.

Russia is itself planning to build an SMR-based facility by 2028. This “small nuclear power plant” is planned for the Ust-Yansk Region of Yakutia in the Russian Federation’s extreme northeast.

The RITM is also being installed in four “nuclear floating power units”, each with a capacity of 106MW.

Work on the first of these began in China in 2022, and it is expected to be deployed off Cape Nagleynyn in the mineral-rich Chukotka Autonomous Region, also in the Russian Federation’s far northeast.

Rosatom says the RITM has a high level of safety “achieved through multiple systems and barrier-envelopes”.

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