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Russia’s Rosatom eyes nuclear contracts in Britain via Reuters

(Reuters) – Russian state nuclear company Rosatom is considering selling reactors in Britain and will soon decide whether to apply for a UK reactor licence, a senior company executive said.

Rosatom is now building more atomic power plants than any other vendor and has been marketing the legacy of the former USSR’s own nuclear disaster, at Chernobyl in 1986, as a lesson learned in nuclear safety.

A major player in developing markets such as China, Vietnam and India, Rosatom has long been interested in building reactors in the European Union, where it is already a supplier of nuclear fuel.

While Germany and some other countries have turned away from nuclear energy in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011, Britain remains determined to build atomic capacity, which now provides about 20 percent of its electricity at nine plants.

“Britain’s nuclear programme is interesting for the entire world because it is a highly developed European country with quite high electricity prices that currently doesn’t have its own (nuclear) technologies,” said Rosatom Deputy Chief Executive Kirill Komarov, who is in charge of international business development.

Russian nuclear technology has been unpopular in western Europe since the Chernobyl disaster, but Britain is in dire need of investors willing to replace its ageing nuclear fleet after a series of utility companies, including Germany’s RWE (RWEG.DE) and E.ON (EONGn.DE) and Britain’s Centrica (CNA.L), have dropped out.

The government has earmarked at least eight new sites, and developers such as France‘s EDF (EDF.PA), Japan’s Hitachi (6501.T) and a joint venture of Spain’s Iberdrola (IBE.MC) and France’s GDF Suez (GSZ.PA) have proposed plans to build up to 16 gigawatts of new nuclear power capacity by 2025.

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