OREANDA-NEWS. On December 1-3, Bahrain’s capital city of Manama played host to The Third Arab Forum on the Prospects of Nuclear Power for Electricity Generation and Seawater Desalination – one of the key regional forums, which is held biannually and brings together the top management of leading nuclear companies and nuclear authorities of Middle East and North Africa. The Forum’s agenda focused on the discussion of key issues of the development of nuclear energy in the Middle East and North Africa region, and on the prospects of the peaceful use of nuclear power for seawater desalination and meeting the demands of the region’s economies. The Forum is organised by the Arab Atomic Energy Agency. This year, ROSATOM acted as the Forum’s partner and presented leading nuclear technologies and solutions for both energy- and non-energy projects.

Speaking at The Forum, Anton Moskvin, Vice-President of Rusatom Overseas Inc., a subsidiary of ROSATOM, emphasized the importance of the region in ROSATOM business development. “The Middle East and North Africa region is nuclear power’s newest and most exciting frontier, with its own very specific set of challenges. From Egypt to Jordan and the United Arab Emirates to Morocco and Tunisia these are dynamic growing nations. Given the geographic features of the region, nuclear power is one of the most effective ways to meet these countries’ constantly growing demand for a sustainable and environmentally clean source of energy. This is why countries in the MENA region are seriously considering diversifying their energy matrix through the implementation of nuclear projects. We have every confidence that our cutting-edge technologies and 70 years’ experience can help these countries to fulfill their nuclear ambitions and join the elite nuclear club,” Moskvin said.

Moskvin made a point of the fact that ROSATOM is a global leader in terms of the number of nuclear reactors under simultaneous construction around the world (currently standing at 34), while the company’s portfolio of export contracts over a ten-year period is worth more than $ 100 bln – a figure it expects to double within a decade. ROSATOM is also one of the leading nuclear companies in MENA region. In addition to such projects as in Jordan and Iran, an intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Egypt was signed on November 19 this year for the construction and operation of Egypt’s first NPP in El Dabaa with four power units. Furthermore, Russia has signed intergovernmental agreements on cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy with Saudi Arabia and Algeria and a memorandum of understanding with Tunisia.

In his presentation, Moskvin emphasized the advantages of the company’s integrated offer. “Being a fully vertically integrated company means we can deliver the complete nuclear solution – from NPP construction and infrastructure development through flexible financing solutions and back-end services to exchange of knowledge and increase of public acceptability of nuclear power, which is especially important for countries-newcomers developing their nuclear programmes from scratch. All Russian-designed NPPs fully comply with post-Fukushima safety standards and use a combination of passive and active safety systems to provide an unprecedented level of protection. The VVER nuclear reactor technology offered by ROSATOM is also one of the most referenced in the world, with 56 units operating successfully all over the world, including 38 in 11 countries outside Russia.

Also of great significance is the fact that, besides NPP construction, the technologies offered by ROSATOM allow for integrated desalination solutions. This was elaborated on in the joint presentation given by Grigori Kazarov, Deputy Head of Basic Technologies Department, Capital Investment Projects Branch of Concern Rosenergoatom, OJS, and Dmitry Repin, Project Head at the Multi-Purpose Nuclear Energy Projects Unit of Rusatom Overseas Inc. “Since the construction of the world’s first desalination complex in Aktau in Kazakhstan, ROSATOM  has accumulated unique 45-years’ experience in the construction of desalination complexes.  Altogether we have implemented more than 40 desalination projects around the world. The social, economic and environmental benefits of desalination complexes integrated into NPPS for arid regions are hard to overestimate. At the same time, these innovative solutions employ very efficient technologies with limited nuclear infrastructure requirements, which makes them fairly easy to implement.”