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Writing a Business Growth Plan

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When you run a business, it’s easy to get caught in the moment and focus only on the day in front of you. However, to be truly successful, you must look ahead and plan for growth. Many business owners create a business growth plan to map out the next one or two years and pinpoint how and when revenues will increase. 

We’ll explain more about business growth plans and share strategies for writing a business growth plan that can set you on a path to success. 

What is a business growth plan?

A business growth plan outlines where a company sees itself in the next one to two years. Business owners and leaders apply a growth mindset to create plans for expansion and increased revenues.

Business growth plans should be formatted quarterly. At the end of each quarter, the company can review the business goals it achieved and missed during that period. At this point, management can revise the business growth plan to reflect the current market standing.

What to include in a business growth plan

A business growth plan focuses specifically on expansion and how you’ll achieve it. Creating a useful plan takes time, but keeping your growth efforts on track can pay off substantially.

You should include the following elements in your growth plan:

  • A description of expansion opportunities
  • Financial goals broken down by quarter and year
  • A marketing plan that details how you’ll achieve growth
  • A financial plan to determine what capital is accessible during growth
  • A breakdown of your company’s staffing needs and responsibilities

How to write a business growth plan

To successfully write a business growth plan, you must do some forward-thinking and research. Here are some key steps to follow when writing your business growth plan.

1. Think ahead.

The future is always unpredictable. However, if you study your target market, your competition and your company’s past growth, you can plan for future expansion. The Small Business Administration (SBA) features a comprehensive guide to writing a business plan for growth.

2. Study other growth plans.

Before you start writing, review models from successful companies.

3. Discover opportunities for growth.

With some homework, you can determine if your expansion opportunities lie in creating new products , adding more services, targeting a new market, opening new business locations or going global, to name a few examples. Once you’ve identified your best options for growth, include them in your plan.

4. Evaluate your team.

Your plan should include an assessment of your employees and a look at staffing requirements to meet your growth objectives. By assessing your own skills and those of your employees, you can determine how much growth can be accomplished with your present team. You’ll also know when to ramp up the hiring process and what skill sets to look for in those new hires.

5. Find the capital.

Include detailed information on how you will fund expansion. Business.gov offers a guide on how to prepare funding requests and how to connect with SBA lenders.

6. Get the word out.

Growing your business requires a targeted marketing effort. Be sure to outline how you will effectively market your business to encourage growth and how your marketing efforts will evolve as you grow.

7. Ask for help.

Advice from other business owners who have enjoyed successful growth can be the ultimate tool in writing your growth plan.

8. Start writing.

Business plan software has streamlined the process of writing growth plans by providing templates you can fill in with information specific to your company and industry. Most software programs are geared toward general business plans; however, you can easily modify them to create a plan that focuses on growth. 

If you don’t have business plan software, don’t worry. You can create a business growth plan using Microsoft Word, Google Docs or a similar tool. For each growth opportunity, create the following sections: 

  • What is the opportunity? Is your growth opportunity a new geographic expansion, a new product or a new customer segment? How do you know there’s an opportunity? Include your market research to demonstrate the idea’s viability.
  • What factors make this opportunity valuable at this time? For example, your growth opportunity could utilize new technology, take advantage of a strategic partnership or capitalize on a consumer trend.
  • What are the risk factors for this opportunity? Identify factors that may make this growth opportunity challenging to execute. For example, challenges may include the state of the overall economy, intense competition or supply chain distribution issues. What is your plan for dealing with these challenges?
  • What is your marketing and sales plan? Identify the marketing efforts and sales processes that can help you seize this growth opportunity. Detail the marketing channel you’ll use ( social media marketing , print marketing), your message and promising sales ideas. For example, you could hire sales reps for a new geographic area or set up distribution deals with relevant brick-and-mortar or online retailers .
  • What are the costs involved in this growth area? For example, if you add a new product, you may need to buy new manufacturing equipment and raw materials. While marketing costs are a given, remember to include incremental sales costs like commissions. Outline any economies of scale or places where your existing operations make the new growth area less expensive than a stand-alone initiative.
  • How will your income, expenses and cash flow look? Project your income and expenses, and prepare a cash flow statement for the new growth area for the next three to five years. Include a break-even analysis, a sales forecast and all projected expenses to see how much the new initiative will add to the bottom line. Include how the new growth area will positively (or negatively) impact existing sales. For example, if you sell bathing suits and you decide to grow by adding cover-ups and sunglasses, you will likely sell more bathing suits. 

After completing this exercise for each growth opportunity:

  • Create a summary that accounts for all growth areas for the period.
  • Include summarized financial statements to see the entire picture and its impact on the company. 
  • Evaluate the financing you’ll need to implement the plan, and include various options and rates. 

Why are business growth plans important?

These are some of the many reasons why business growth plans are essential:

  • Market share and penetration: If your market share remains constant in a world where costs consistently increase, you’ll inevitably start recording losses instead of profits. Business growth plans help you avoid this scenario.
  • Recouping early losses: Most companies lose far more than they earn in their early years. To recoup these losses, you’ll need to grow your company to a point where it can make enough revenue to pay off your debts.
  • Future risk minimization: Growth plans also matter for established businesses. These companies can always stand to make their sales more efficient and become more liquid. Liquidity can come in handy if you need money to cover unexpected problems.
  • Appealing to investors: For most businesses, a business growth plan’s primary purpose is to find investors . Investors want to outline your company’s plans to build sales in the coming months.
  • Concrete revenue plans: Growth plans are customizable to each business and don’t have to follow a set template. However, all business growth plans must focus heavily on revenue. The plan should answer a simple question: How does your company plan to make money each quarter?

What factors impact business growth?

Consider the following crucial factors that can impact business growth:

  • Leadership: To achieve your goals, you must know the ins and outs of your business processes and how external forces impact them. Without this knowledge, you can’t direct and train your team to drive your revenue, and you will experience stagnation instead of growth.
  • Management: As a small business owner, you’re innately involved in management – obtaining funding, resources, and physical and digital infrastructure. Ineffective management will impact your ability to perform these duties and could hamstring your growth.
  • Customer loyalty: Acquiring new customers can be five times as expensive as retaining current ones, and a 5 percent boost in customer retention can increase profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. These statistics demonstrate that customer loyalty is fundamental to business growth.

What are the four major growth strategies?

There are countless growth strategies for businesses, but only four primary types. With these growth strategies, you can determine how to build on your brand.

  • Market strategy: A market strategy refers to how you plan to penetrate your target audience . This strategy isn’t intended for entering a new market or creating new products and services to boost your market share; it’s about leveraging your current offerings. For instance, can you adjust your pricing? Should you launch a new marketing campaign?
  • Development strategy: This strategy means looking into ways to break your products and services into a new market. If you can’t find the growth you want in the current market, a goal could be to expand to a new market.
  • Product strategy: Also known as “product development,” this strategy focuses on what new products and services you can target to your current market. How can you grow your business without entering new markets? What are your customers asking for?
  • Diversification strategy: Diversification means expanding both your products and target markets. This strategy is usually best for smaller companies that have the means to be versatile with the products or services they offer and what new markets they attempt to penetrate.

Max Freedman contributed to this article.

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Prepare a business plan for growth

Planning is key to any business throughout its existence. Every successful business regularly reviews its business plan to ensure it continues to meet its needs. It's sensible to review current performance on a regular basis and identify the most likely strategies for growth.

Once you've reviewed your progress and identified the key growth areas that you want to target, it's time to revisit your business plan and make it a road map to the next stages for your business.

This guide will show how you can turn your business plan from a static document into a dynamic template that will help your business both survive and thrive.

The importance of ongoing business planning

What your business plan should include, drawing up a more sophisticated business plan, plan and allocate resources effectively, use targets to implement your business plan, when and how to review your business plan.

Most potential investors will want to see a business plan before they consider funding your business. Although many businesses are tempted to use their business plans solely for this purpose, a good plan should set the course of a business over its lifespan.

A business plan plays a key role in allocating resources throughout a business. It is a tool that can help you attract new funds or that you can use as a strategy document. A good business plan reveals how you would use the bank loan or investment you are asking for.

Ongoing business planning means that you can monitor whether you are achieving your business objectives . A business plan can be used as a tool to identify where you are now and in which direction you wish your business to grow. A business plan will also ensure that you meet certain key targets and manage business priorities.

You can maximise your chances of success by adopting a continuous and regular business planning cycle that keeps the plan up-to-date. This should include regular business planning meetings which involve key people from the business.

To find out more, see our guides on how to review your business performance and how to assess your options for growth .

If you regularly assess your performance against the plans and targets you have set, you are more likely to meet your objectives. It can also signpost where and why you're going astray. Many businesses choose to assess progress every three or six months.

The assessment will also help you in discussions with banks, investors and even potential buyers of your business. Regular review is a good vehicle for showing direction and commitment to employees, customers and suppliers.

Defining your business' purpose in your business plan keeps you focused, inspires your employees and attracts customers.

Your business plan should include a summary of what your business does, how it has developed and where you want it to go. In particular, it should cover your strategy for improving your existing sales and processes to achieve the growth you desire.

You also need to make it clear what timeframe the business plan covers - this will typically be for the next 12 to 24 months.

The plan needs to include:

  • The marketing aims and objectives , for example how many new customers you want to gain and the anticipated size of your customer base at the end of the period. To find out about marketing strategy, see our guide on how to create your marketing strategy .
  • Operational information such as where your business is based, who your suppliers are and the premises and equipment needed.
  • Financial information , including profit and loss forecasts, cash flow forecasts, sales forecasts and audited accounts.
  • A summary of the business objectives, including targets and dates.
  • If yours is an owner-managed business, you may wish to include an exit plan . This includes planning the timing of your departure and the circumstances, e.g. family succession, sale of the business, floating your business or closing it down.

If you intend to present your business plan to an external audience such as investors or banks, you will also need to include:

  • your aims and objectives for each area of the business
  • details of the history of the business, including financial records from the last three years - if this isn't possible, provide details about trading to date
  • the skills and qualifications of the management involved in your business
  • information about the product or service, its distinctiveness and where it fits into the marketplace

If your business has grown to encompass a series of departments or divisions, each with its own targets and objectives, you may need to draw up a more sophisticated business plan.

The individual business plans of the departments and separate business units will need to be integrated into a single strategy document for the entire organisation.

This can be a complex exercise but it's vital if each business unit is to tread a consistent path and not conflict with the overall strategy.

This is not just an issue for large enterprises - many small firms consist of separate business units pursuing different strategies.

To draw up a business plan that marries all the separate units of an organisation requires a degree of co-ordination. It may seem obvious, but make sure all departments are using the same planning template.

Objectives for individual departments

It's important for each department to feel that they are a stakeholder in the plan. Typically, each department head will draft the unit's business plan and then agree on its final form in conjunction with other departments.

Each unit's budgets and priorities must be set so that they fit in with those of the entire organisation. Generally, individual unit plans are required to be more specific and precisely defined than the overall business plan. It's important that the objectives set for business units are realistic and deliverable. However complex it turns out to be, the individual business unit plan needs to be easily understood by the people whose job it is to make it work. They also need to be clear on how their plan fits in with that of the wider organisation.

The business plan plays a key role in allocating resources throughout a business so that the objectives set in the plan can be met.

Once you've reviewed your progress to date and identified your strategy for growth, your existing business plan may look dated and may no longer reflect your business' position and future direction.

When you are reviewing your business plan to cover the next stages, it's important to be clear on how you will allocate your resources to make your strategy work.

For example, if a particular business unit or department has been given a target, the business plan should allocate sufficient resources to achieve it. These resources may already be available within the business or may be generated by future activity.

In practice this could mean recruiting more office staff, spending more on marketing or buying more supplies or equipment. You may want to provide funds through current cash flow, generating more profit or seeking external funding. In general, it is always better to fund future growth through revenue generation.

However, you should do some precise budgeting to decide on the right level of resourcing for a particular unit or department. It's important that resources are prioritised, so that areas of a business which are key to delivering the overall aims and objectives are adequately funded. If funding isn't available this may involve making cutbacks in other areas.

A successful business plan should incorporate a set of targets and objectives.

While the overall plan may set strategic goals, these are unlikely to be achieved unless you use SMART objectives or targets, i.e. S pecific, M easurable, A chievable, R ealistic and T imely.

Targets help everyone within a business understand what they need to achieve and when they need to achieve it.

You can monitor the performance of employees, teams or a new product or service by using appropriate performance indicators . These can be:

  • sales or profit figures over a given period
  • milestones in new product development
  • productivity benchmarks for individual team members
  • market-share statistics

Targets make it clearer for individual employees to see where they fit within an organisation and what they need to do to help the business meet its objectives. Setting clear objectives and targets and closely monitoring their delivery can make the development of your business more effective. Targets and objectives should also form a key part of employee appraisals, as a means of objectively addressing individuals' progress.

Once you've drawn up your new business plan and put it into practice, it needs to be continually monitored to make sure the objectives are being achieved. This review process should follow an assessment of your progress to date and an analysis of the most promising ways to develop your business. To find out more about these stages see our guides on how to review your business performance and how to assess your options for growth .

This process is called the business plan cycle . In some businesses, the cycle may be a continuous process with the plan being regularly updated and monitored. For most businesses, an annual plan - broken down into four quarterly operating plans - is sufficient. However, if a business is heavily sales driven, it can make more sense to have a monthly operating plan, supplemented where necessary with weekly targets and reviews.

It's important to keep in mind that major events in your business' target marketplace (e.g. competitor consolidation, acquisition of a major customer) or in the broader environment (e.g. new legislation) should trigger a review of your strategic objectives.

Regardless of whether or not there are fixed time intervals in your business plan, it must be part of a rolling process, with regular assessment of performance against the plan and agreement of a revised forecast if necessary.

Original document, Prepare a business plan for growth , © Crown copyright 2009 Source: Business Link UK (now GOV.UK/Business ) Adapted for Québec by Info entrepreneurs

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company future plan

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A Future Plan for Business: Think Ahead & Build Profits

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This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Zero To One" by Peter Thiel. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

Like this article? Sign up for a free trial here .

What makes a strong future plan for business? How do you form a future plan?

A future plan for business is exactly what it sounds like—creating a path forward for your business. But a future plan for business requires careful thought and planning, and you need to consider both short and long term goals.

Success Comes From a Strong Future Plan for Business

A future plan for business can be hard to create, since you don’t always know what drives success. Businesspeople debate whether success comes from luck or design. Some popular writers and leaders emphasize luck and downplay the importance of design or planning in contributing to success. This makes many people think planning—trying to shape the future—is pointless.

For instance, author Malcolm Gladwell writes in Outliers that success results from “lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages.” Warren Buffett notes that he was lucky to be born with certain qualities. Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates both claim luck played a role in their success.

It’s possible luck could play a role in an individual success, but luck isn’t sufficient to explain how the same person—for instance, Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, Steve Jobs—could achieve a series of extraordinary, multibillion-dollar successes.

When Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and Square, tweeted in 2013 that “Success is never an accident,” most of the responses were dismissive, citing white male privilege over intelligent planning as the biggest factor in success. However, while connections, wealth, and experience—and luck—can be factors, in recent years, we’ve tended to ignore or overlook the importance of planning and forming a comprehensive company future plan.

In the past, people thought differently. From the Renaissance and the Enlightenment into the 20th century, people believed you made your own luck by working hard. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances … strong men believe in cause and effect.” 

Today, your future business plan, and whether you think of the future as determined by chance or design, affects how you act in the present and whether you ultimately succeed .

A Future Plan for Business Builds Strong Profits

How do you create a future plan for business? One way is figuring out how to form a monopoly.

A monopoly by definition has avoided competition, but to be a great business, there’s more: it must last into the future.

A monopoly can be a part of building your company future plan. To understand how this works, compare the New York Times Company with Twitter. Each employs thousands of people and delivers news to millions. However, in 2013, Twitter was valued at  $24 billion, which was 12 times the Times’ market capitalization. Yet the Times earned $133 million in 2012, while Twitter lost money. How could the money-losing Twitter be worth more than the money-gaining Times? (Shortform note: market capitalization is the total value of a company’s shares of stock.)

The reason for the dramatic difference in value is cash flow— the hallmark of a great business is its ability to generate future cash flow . Investors expected Twitter to generate monopoly profits for the next 10 years, while investors believed the New York Times lacked that ability.

A business’s current value is the sum of the profits it will earn throughout its lifetime. Low-growth businesses are those like newspapers that aren’t expected to grow dramatically in the future—most of their value is near-term. They might retain their value and keep current cash flows for a few years, but competition will erode it in the future. A successful restaurant might be profitable today, but cash flows will dwindle in a few years as new restaurants open.

The pattern is the opposite for tech companies—they often lose money initially and require time to build value. Most of a tech startup’s value will be a decade or more in coming, which needs to be considered in your future business plan.

For example, by March 2001, PayPal hadn’t made a profit, but revenues were growing 100% year over year. Thiel calculated that 75% of the company’s current value would come from profits generated in 2011 and thereafter. However, he underestimated. At the time of this book’s publication in 2014, it appeared most of the company’s value would come from 2020 and beyond.

The Allure of Short-Term Profits

To be valuable, a company has to both grow and persevere. However, many entrepreneurs overemphasize short-term growth because it’s easier to measure than long-term potential. Focusing on short-term metrics, such as user statistics and revenue targets, can keep you from noticing issues affecting future viability. This also makes it difficult to develop a realistic company future plan.

For example, initial rapid growth at Zynga and Groupon distracted managers and investors from long-term challenges. While Zynga did well with the game Farmville at first, the company lacked the ability to produce a consistent stream of entertainment content. Groupon’s online deal website also grew initially as local businesses tried the product, but the company struggled to convert them into repeat customers.

In addition to short-term growth, entrepreneurs must build the business to ensure it will last for a decade or more .

Be a ‘Last Mover’

The “first mover advantage” means getting into a new market first and gaining a substantial share of the market before anyone else gets there.

But moving first is a tactic, not a goal, and should factor into your future business plan. ” Your goal is to generate cash flows for the future. You do this by starting with a small slice of the market (being the first mover) and gradually expanding, dominating each new slice until you own the ultimate market for your product. You want to be the last mover—the one who makes the last spectacular improvement in a market that ensures years of monopoly profits.  

Being a first mover puts you in position to be the last mover.

A future plan for business should cover your plans to maintain profit and to expand. In your future plan for business, you have to establish your goals and your existing business principles.

———End of Preview———

Like what you just read read the rest of the world's best summary of peter thiel's "zero to one" at shortform ..

Here's what you'll find in our full Zero To One summary :

  • Why some companies genuinely move the world forward when most don't
  • How to build a company that becomes a monopoly (and why monopolies aren't bad)
  • Silicon Valley secrets to selling products and building rockstar teams
  • ← The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Ruby’s Lesson
  • 4 Top Tech Founders and How They Changed the World →

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Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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How to Do Strategic Planning Like a Futurist

company future plan

You don’t need a time line; you need a time cone.

Chief strategy officers and those responsible for shaping the direction of their organizations are often asked to facilitate “visioning” meetings. This helps teams brainstorm ideas, but it isn’t a substitute for critical thinking about the future. Neither are the one-, three-, or five-year strategic plans that have become a staple within most organizations, though they are useful for addressing short-term operational goals. Futurists think about time differently, and company strategists could learn from their approach. For any given uncertainty about the future — whether that’s risk, opportunity, or growth — we tend to think in the short- and long-term simultaneously. To do this, consider using a framework that doesn’t rely on linear timelines or simply mark the passage of time as quarters or years. Instead, use a time cone that measures certainty and charts actions.

I recently helped a large industrial manufacturing company with its strategic planning process. With so much uncertainty surrounding autonomous vehicles, 5G, robotics, global trade, and the oil markets, the company’s senior leaders needed a set of guiding objectives and strategies linking the company’s future to the present day. Before our work began in earnest, executives had already decided on a title for the initiative: Strategy 2030.

company future plan

  • Amy Webb is a quantitative futurist, CEO of Future Today Institute, and professor of strategic foresight at the New York University Stern School of Business. She is the author of The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream ,  The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity , and The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology .

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How to Write a Business Plan: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Determined female African-American entrepreneur scaling a mountain while wearing a large backpack. Represents the journey to starting and growing a business and needi

Noah Parsons

24 min. read

Updated May 7, 2024

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. 

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors, while giving you the tools to start, run, and grow a successful business.

  • The basics of business planning

If you’re reading this guide, then you already know why you need a business plan . 

You understand that planning helps you: 

  • Raise money
  • Grow strategically
  • Keep your business on the right track 

As you start to write your plan, it’s useful to zoom out and remember what a business plan is .

At its core, a business plan is an overview of the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy: how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. 

A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It’s also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. 

After completing your plan, you can use it as a management tool to track your progress toward your goals. Updating and adjusting your forecasts and budgets as you go is one of the most important steps you can take to run a healthier, smarter business. 

We’ll dive into how to use your plan later in this article.

There are many different types of plans , but we’ll go over the most common type here, which includes everything you need for an investor-ready plan. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for something simpler—I recommend starting with a one-page business plan . It’s faster and easier to create. 

It’s also the perfect place to start if you’re just figuring out your idea, or need a simple strategic plan to use inside your business.

Dig deeper : How to write a one-page business plan

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  • What to include in your business plan

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally just one to two pages. Most people write it last because it’s a summary of the complete business plan.

Ideally, the executive summary can act as a stand-alone document that covers the highlights of your detailed plan. 

In fact, it’s common for investors to ask only for the executive summary when evaluating your business. If they like what they see in the executive summary, they’ll often follow up with a request for a complete plan, a pitch presentation , or more in-depth financial forecasts .

Your executive summary should include:

  • A summary of the problem you are solving
  • A description of your product or service
  • An overview of your target market
  • A brief description of your team
  • A summary of your financials
  • Your funding requirements (if you are raising money)

Dig Deeper: How to write an effective executive summary

Products and services description

This is where you describe exactly what you’re selling, and how it solves a problem for your target market. The best way to organize this part of your plan is to start by describing the problem that exists for your customers. After that, you can describe how you plan to solve that problem with your product or service. 

This is usually called a problem and solution statement .

To truly showcase the value of your products and services, you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customers’ lives or jobs? A strong narrative will draw in your readers.

This is also the part of the business plan to discuss any competitive advantages you may have, like specific intellectual property or patents that protect your product. If you have any initial sales, contracts, or other evidence that your product or service is likely to sell, include that information as well. It will show that your idea has traction , which can help convince readers that your plan has a high chance of success.

Market analysis

Your target market is a description of the type of people that you plan to sell to. You might even have multiple target markets, depending on your business. 

A market analysis is the part of your plan where you bring together all of the information you know about your target market. Basically, it’s a thorough description of who your customers are and why they need what you’re selling. You’ll also include information about the growth of your market and your industry .

Try to be as specific as possible when you describe your market. 

Include information such as age, income level, and location—these are what’s called “demographics.” If you can, also describe your market’s interests and habits as they relate to your business—these are “psychographics.” 

Related: Target market examples

Essentially, you want to include any knowledge you have about your customers that is relevant to how your product or service is right for them. With a solid target market, it will be easier to create a sales and marketing plan that will reach your customers. That’s because you know who they are, what they like to do, and the best ways to reach them.

Next, provide any additional information you have about your market. 

What is the size of your market ? Is the market growing or shrinking? Ideally, you’ll want to demonstrate that your market is growing over time, and also explain how your business is positioned to take advantage of any expected changes in your industry.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write a market analysis

Competitive analysis

Part of defining your business opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage is. To do this effectively, you need to know as much about your competitors as your target customers. 

Every business has some form of competition. If you don’t think you have competitors, then explore what alternatives there are in the market for your product or service. 

For example: In the early years of cars, their main competition was horses. For social media, the early competition was reading books, watching TV, and talking on the phone.

A good competitive analysis fully lays out the competitive landscape and then explains how your business is different. Maybe your products are better made, or cheaper, or your customer service is superior. Maybe your competitive advantage is your location – a wide variety of factors can ultimately give you an advantage.

Dig Deeper: How to write a competitive analysis for your business plan

Marketing and sales plan

The marketing and sales plan covers how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. 

The best place to start with a marketing plan is with a positioning statement . 

This explains how your business fits into the overall market, and how you will explain the advantages of your product or service to customers. You’ll use the information from your competitive analysis to help you with your positioning. 

For example: You might position your company as the premium, most expensive but the highest quality option in the market. Or your positioning might focus on being locally owned and that shoppers support the local economy by buying your products.

Once you understand your positioning, you’ll bring this together with the information about your target market to create your marketing strategy . 

This is how you plan to communicate your message to potential customers. Depending on who your customers are and how they purchase products like yours, you might use many different strategies, from social media advertising to creating a podcast. Your marketing plan is all about how your customers discover who you are and why they should consider your products and services. 

While your marketing plan is about reaching your customers—your sales plan will describe the actual sales process once a customer has decided that they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

If your business requires salespeople and a long sales process, describe that in this section. If your customers can “self-serve” and just make purchases quickly on your website, describe that process. 

A good sales plan picks up where your marketing plan leaves off. The marketing plan brings customers in the door and the sales plan is how you close the deal.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will connect with your target audience, and how you will turn them into paying customers.

Dig deeper: What to include in your sales and marketing plan

Business operations

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. It’s where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Depending on how your business is structured, your operations plan may include elements of the business like:

  • Supply chain management
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Equipment and technology
  • Distribution

Some businesses distribute their products and reach their customers through large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, and grocery store chains. 

These businesses should review how this part of their business works. The plan should discuss the logistics and costs of getting products onto store shelves and any potential hurdles the business may have to overcome.

If your business is much simpler than this, that’s OK. This section of your business plan can be either extremely short or more detailed, depending on the type of business you are building.

For businesses selling services, such as physical therapy or online software, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, and who you will partner with to deliver your services.

Dig Deeper: Learn how to write the operations chapter of your plan

Key milestones and metrics

Although it’s not required to complete your business plan, mapping out key business milestones and the metrics can be incredibly useful for measuring your success.

Good milestones clearly lay out the parameters of the task and set expectations for their execution. You’ll want to include:

  • A description of each task
  • The proposed due date
  • Who is responsible for each task

If you have a budget, you can include projected costs to hit each milestone. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section—just list key milestones you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. This is your overall business roadmap. 

Possible milestones might be:

  • Website launch date
  • Store or office opening date
  • First significant sales
  • Break even date
  • Business licenses and approvals

You should also discuss the key numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common metrics worth tracking include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Profit per customer
  • Repeat purchases

It’s perfectly fine to start with just a few metrics and grow the number you are tracking over time. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking.

Dig Deeper: How to use milestones in your business plan

Organization and management team

Investors don’t just look for great ideas—they want to find great teams. Use this chapter to describe your current team and who you need to hire . You should also provide a quick overview of your location and history if you’re already up and running.

Briefly highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member in the company. It’s important to make the case for why yours is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. 

Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before? 

If you still need to hire key team members, that’s OK. Just note those gaps in this section.

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure . The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide an overview of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? 

Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

Dig Deeper: How to write about your company structure and team

Financial plan

Last, but certainly not least, is your financial plan chapter. 

Entrepreneurs often find this section the most daunting. But, business financials for most startups are less complicated than you think, and a business degree is certainly not required to build a solid financial forecast. 

A typical financial forecast in a business plan includes the following:

  • Sales forecast : An estimate of the sales expected over a given period. You’ll break down your forecast into the key revenue streams that you expect to have.
  • Expense budget : Your planned spending such as personnel costs , marketing expenses, and taxes.
  • Profit & Loss : Brings together your sales and expenses and helps you calculate planned profits.
  • Cash Flow : Shows how cash moves into and out of your business. It can predict how much cash you’ll have on hand at any given point in the future.
  • Balance Sheet : A list of the assets, liabilities, and equity in your company. In short, it provides an overview of the financial health of your business. 

A strong business plan will include a description of assumptions about the future, and potential risks that could impact the financial plan. Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

Dig Deeper: How to create financial forecasts and budgets

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports your plan.

Including an appendix can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea, and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Dig Deeper : What to include in your business plan appendix

Optional: Business plan cover page

Adding a business plan cover page can make your plan, and by extension your business, seem more professional in the eyes of potential investors, lenders, and partners. It serves as the introduction to your document and provides necessary contact information for stakeholders to reference.

Your cover page should be simple and include:

  • Company logo
  • Business name
  • Value proposition (optional)
  • Business plan title
  • Completion and/or update date
  • Address and contact information
  • Confidentiality statement

Just remember, the cover page is optional. If you decide to include it, keep it very simple and only spend a short amount of time putting it together.

Dig Deeper: How to create a business plan cover page

How to use AI to help write your business plan

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can speed up the business plan writing process and help you think through concepts like market segmentation and competition. These tools are especially useful for taking ideas that you provide and converting them into polished text for your business plan.

The best way to use AI for your business plan is to leverage it as a collaborator , not a replacement for human creative thinking and ingenuity. 

AI can come up with lots of ideas and act as a brainstorming partner. It’s up to you to filter through those ideas and figure out which ones are realistic enough to resonate with your customers. 

There are pros and cons of using AI to help with your business plan . So, spend some time understanding how it can be most helpful before just outsourcing the job to AI.

Learn more: 10 AI prompts you need to write a business plan

  • Writing tips and strategies

To help streamline the business plan writing process, here are a few tips and key questions to answer to make sure you get the most out of your plan and avoid common mistakes .  

Determine why you are writing a business plan

Knowing why you are writing a business plan will determine your approach to your planning project. 

For example: If you are writing a business plan for yourself, or just to use inside your own business , you can probably skip the section about your team and organizational structure. 

If you’re raising money, you’ll want to spend more time explaining why you’re looking to raise the funds and exactly how you will use them.

Regardless of how you intend to use your business plan , think about why you are writing and what you’re trying to get out of the process before you begin.

Keep things concise

Probably the most important tip is to keep your business plan short and simple. There are no prizes for long business plans . The longer your plan is, the less likely people are to read it. 

So focus on trimming things down to the essentials your readers need to know. Skip the extended, wordy descriptions and instead focus on creating a plan that is easy to read —using bullets and short sentences whenever possible.

Have someone review your business plan

Writing a business plan in a vacuum is never a good idea. Sometimes it’s helpful to zoom out and check if your plan makes sense to someone else. You also want to make sure that it’s easy to read and understand.

Don’t wait until your plan is “done” to get a second look. Start sharing your plan early, and find out from readers what questions your plan leaves unanswered. This early review cycle will help you spot shortcomings in your plan and address them quickly, rather than finding out about them right before you present your plan to a lender or investor.

If you need a more detailed review, you may want to explore hiring a professional plan writer to thoroughly examine it.

Use a free business plan template and business plan examples to get started

Knowing what information to include in a business plan is sometimes not quite enough. If you’re struggling to get started or need additional guidance, it may be worth using a business plan template. 

There are plenty of great options available (we’ve rounded up our 8 favorites to streamline your search).

But, if you’re looking for a free downloadable business plan template , you can get one right now; download the template used by more than 1 million businesses. 

Or, if you just want to see what a completed business plan looks like, check out our library of over 550 free business plan examples . 

We even have a growing list of industry business planning guides with tips for what to focus on depending on your business type.

Common pitfalls and how to avoid them

It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re writing your business plan. Some entrepreneurs get sucked into the writing and research process, and don’t focus enough on actually getting their business started. 

Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not talking to your customers : This is one of the most common mistakes. It’s easy to assume that your product or service is something that people want. Before you invest too much in your business and too much in the planning process, make sure you talk to your prospective customers and have a good understanding of their needs.

  • Overly optimistic sales and profit forecasts: By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic about the future. But it’s good to temper that optimism a little when you’re planning, and make sure your forecasts are grounded in reality. 
  • Spending too much time planning: Yes, planning is crucial. But you also need to get out and talk to customers, build prototypes of your product and figure out if there’s a market for your idea. Make sure to balance planning with building.
  • Not revising the plan: Planning is useful, but nothing ever goes exactly as planned. As you learn more about what’s working and what’s not—revise your plan, your budgets, and your revenue forecast. Doing so will provide a more realistic picture of where your business is going, and what your financial needs will be moving forward.
  • Not using the plan to manage your business: A good business plan is a management tool. Don’t just write it and put it on the shelf to collect dust – use it to track your progress and help you reach your goals.
  • Presenting your business plan

The planning process forces you to think through every aspect of your business and answer questions that you may not have thought of. That’s the real benefit of writing a business plan – the knowledge you gain about your business that you may not have been able to discover otherwise.

With all of this knowledge, you’re well prepared to convert your business plan into a pitch presentation to present your ideas. 

A pitch presentation is a summary of your plan, just hitting the highlights and key points. It’s the best way to present your business plan to investors and team members.

Dig Deeper: Learn what key slides should be included in your pitch deck

Use your business plan to manage your business

One of the biggest benefits of planning is that it gives you a tool to manage your business better. With a revenue forecast, expense budget, and projected cash flow, you know your targets and where you are headed.

And yet, nothing ever goes exactly as planned – it’s the nature of business.

That’s where using your plan as a management tool comes in. The key to leveraging it for your business is to review it periodically and compare your forecasts and projections to your actual results.

Start by setting up a regular time to review the plan – a monthly review is a good starting point. During this review, answer questions like:

  • Did you meet your sales goals?
  • Is spending following your budget?
  • Has anything gone differently than what you expected?

Now that you see whether you’re meeting your goals or are off track, you can make adjustments and set new targets. 

Maybe you’re exceeding your sales goals and should set new, more aggressive goals. In that case, maybe you should also explore more spending or hiring more employees. 

Or maybe expenses are rising faster than you projected. If that’s the case, you would need to look at where you can cut costs.

A plan, and a method for comparing your plan to your actual results , is the tool you need to steer your business toward success.

Learn More: How to run a regular plan review

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How to write a business plan FAQ

What is a business plan?

A document that describes your business , the products and services you sell, and the customers that you sell to. It explains your business strategy, how you’re going to build and grow your business, what your marketing strategy is, and who your competitors are.

What are the benefits of a business plan?

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.

What are the 7 steps of a business plan?

The seven steps to writing a business plan include:

  • Write a brief executive summary
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Conduct market research and compile data into a cohesive market analysis.
  • Describe your marketing and sales strategy.
  • Outline your organizational structure and management team.
  • Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow.
  • Add any additional documents to your appendix.

What are the 5 most common business plan mistakes?

There are plenty of mistakes that can be made when writing a business plan. However, these are the 5 most common that you should do your best to avoid:

  • 1. Not taking the planning process seriously.
  • Having unrealistic financial projections or incomplete financial information.
  • Inconsistent information or simple mistakes.
  • Failing to establish a sound business model.
  • Not having a defined purpose for your business plan.

What questions should be answered in a business plan?

Writing a business plan is all about asking yourself questions about your business and being able to answer them through the planning process. You’ll likely be asking dozens and dozens of questions for each section of your plan.

However, these are the key questions you should ask and answer with your business plan:

  • How will your business make money?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How are you different from the competition?
  • How will you reach your customers?
  • How will you measure success?

How long should a business plan be?

The length of your business plan fully depends on what you intend to do with it. From the SBA and traditional lender point of view, a business plan needs to be whatever length necessary to fully explain your business. This means that you prove the viability of your business, show that you understand the market, and have a detailed strategy in place.

If you intend to use your business plan for internal management purposes, you don’t necessarily need a full 25-50 page business plan. Instead, you can start with a one-page plan to get all of the necessary information in place.

What are the different types of business plans?

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan: The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used when applying for funding or pitching to investors. This type of business plan follows the outline above and can be anywhere from 10-50 pages depending on the amount of detail included, the complexity of your business, and what you include in your appendix.

Business model canvas: The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

One-page business plan: This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business. You’ll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences. It’s most useful for those exploring ideas, needing to validate their business model, or who need an internal plan to help them run and manage their business.

Lean Plan: The Lean Plan is less of a specific document type and more of a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, test, review, refine, and take action based on performance. It’s faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a strategic plan?

A business plan covers the “who” and “what” of your business. It explains what your business is doing right now and how it functions. The strategic plan explores long-term goals and explains “how” the business will get there. It encourages you to look more intently toward the future and how you will achieve your vision.

However, when approached correctly, your business plan can actually function as a strategic plan as well. If kept lean, you can define your business, outline strategic steps, and track ongoing operations all with a single plan.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Noah Parsons

Noah is the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. He started his career at Yahoo! and then helped start the user review site Epinions.com. From there he started a software distribution business in the UK before coming to Palo Alto Software to run the marketing and product teams.

Grow 30% faster with the right business plan. Create your plan with LivePlan.

Table of Contents

  • Use AI to help write your plan
  • Common planning mistakes
  • Manage with your business plan
  • Templates and examples

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  • What is strategic planning? A 5-step gu ...

What is strategic planning? A 5-step guide

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Strategic planning is a process through which business leaders map out their vision for their organization’s growth and how they’re going to get there. In this article, we'll guide you through the strategic planning process, including why it's important, the benefits and best practices, and five steps to get you from beginning to end.

Strategic planning is a process through which business leaders map out their vision for their organization’s growth and how they’re going to get there. The strategic planning process informs your organization’s decisions, growth, and goals.

Strategic planning helps you clearly define your company’s long-term objectives—and maps how your short-term goals and work will help you achieve them. This, in turn, gives you a clear sense of where your organization is going and allows you to ensure your teams are working on projects that make the most impact. Think of it this way—if your goals and objectives are your destination on a map, your strategic plan is your navigation system.

In this article, we walk you through the 5-step strategic planning process and show you how to get started developing your own strategic plan.

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What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is a business process that helps you define and share the direction your company will take in the next three to five years. During the strategic planning process, stakeholders review and define the organization’s mission and goals, conduct competitive assessments, and identify company goals and objectives. The product of the planning cycle is a strategic plan, which is shared throughout the company.

What is a strategic plan?

[inline illustration] Strategic plan elements (infographic)

A strategic plan is the end result of the strategic planning process. At its most basic, it’s a tool used to define your organization’s goals and what actions you’ll take to achieve them.

Typically, your strategic plan should include: 

Your company’s mission statement

Your organizational goals, including your long-term goals and short-term, yearly objectives

Any plan of action, tactics, or approaches you plan to take to meet those goals

What are the benefits of strategic planning?

Strategic planning can help with goal setting and decision-making by allowing you to map out how your company will move toward your organization’s vision and mission statements in the next three to five years. Let’s circle back to our map metaphor. If you think of your company trajectory as a line on a map, a strategic plan can help you better quantify how you’ll get from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be in a few years).

When you create and share a clear strategic plan with your team, you can:

Build a strong organizational culture by clearly defining and aligning on your organization’s mission, vision, and goals.

Align everyone around a shared purpose and ensure all departments and teams are working toward a common objective.

Proactively set objectives to help you get where you want to go and achieve desired outcomes.

Promote a long-term vision for your company rather than focusing primarily on short-term gains.

Ensure resources are allocated around the most high-impact priorities.

Define long-term goals and set shorter-term goals to support them.

Assess your current situation and identify any opportunities—or threats—allowing your organization to mitigate potential risks.

Create a proactive business culture that enables your organization to respond more swiftly to emerging market changes and opportunities.

What are the 5 steps in strategic planning?

The strategic planning process involves a structured methodology that guides the organization from vision to implementation. The strategic planning process starts with assembling a small, dedicated team of key strategic planners—typically five to 10 members—who will form the strategic planning, or management, committee. This team is responsible for gathering crucial information, guiding the development of the plan, and overseeing strategy execution.

Once you’ve established your management committee, you can get to work on the planning process. 

Step 1: Assess your current business strategy and business environment

Before you can define where you’re going, you first need to define where you are. Understanding the external environment, including market trends and competitive landscape, is crucial in the initial assessment phase of strategic planning.

To do this, your management committee should collect a variety of information from additional stakeholders, like employees and customers. In particular, plan to gather:

Relevant industry and market data to inform any market opportunities, as well as any potential upcoming threats in the near future.

Customer insights to understand what your customers want from your company—like product improvements or additional services.

Employee feedback that needs to be addressed—whether about the product, business practices, or the day-to-day company culture.

Consider different types of strategic planning tools and analytical techniques to gather this information, such as:

A balanced scorecard to help you evaluate four major elements of a business: learning and growth, business processes, customer satisfaction, and financial performance.

A SWOT analysis to help you assess both current and future potential for the business (you’ll return to this analysis periodically during the strategic planning process). 

To fill out each letter in the SWOT acronym, your management committee will answer a series of questions:

What does your organization currently do well?

What separates you from your competitors?

What are your most valuable internal resources?

What tangible assets do you have?

What is your biggest strength? 

Weaknesses:

What does your organization do poorly?

What do you currently lack (whether that’s a product, resource, or process)?

What do your competitors do better than you?

What, if any, limitations are holding your organization back?

What processes or products need improvement? 

Opportunities:

What opportunities does your organization have?

How can you leverage your unique company strengths?

Are there any trends that you can take advantage of?

How can you capitalize on marketing or press opportunities?

Is there an emerging need for your product or service? 

What emerging competitors should you keep an eye on?

Are there any weaknesses that expose your organization to risk?

Have you or could you experience negative press that could reduce market share?

Is there a chance of changing customer attitudes towards your company? 

Step 2: Identify your company’s goals and objectives

To begin strategy development, take into account your current position, which is where you are now. Then, draw inspiration from your vision, mission, and current position to identify and define your goals—these are your final destination. 

To develop your strategy, you’re essentially pulling out your compass and asking, “Where are we going next?” “What’s the ideal future state of this company?” This can help you figure out which path you need to take to get there.

During this phase of the planning process, take inspiration from important company documents, such as:

Your mission statement, to understand how you can continue moving towards your organization’s core purpose.

Your vision statement, to clarify how your strategic plan fits into your long-term vision.

Your company values, to guide you towards what matters most towards your company.

Your competitive advantages, to understand what unique benefit you offer to the market.

Your long-term goals, to track where you want to be in five or 10 years.

Your financial forecast and projection, to understand where you expect your financials to be in the next three years, what your expected cash flow is, and what new opportunities you will likely be able to invest in.

Step 3: Develop your strategic plan and determine performance metrics

Now that you understand where you are and where you want to go, it’s time to put pen to paper. Take your current business position and strategy into account, as well as your organization’s goals and objectives, and build out a strategic plan for the next three to five years. Keep in mind that even though you’re creating a long-term plan, parts of your plan should be created or revisited as the quarters and years go on.

As you build your strategic plan, you should define:

Company priorities for the next three to five years, based on your SWOT analysis and strategy.

Yearly objectives for the first year. You don’t need to define your objectives for every year of the strategic plan. As the years go on, create new yearly objectives that connect back to your overall strategic goals . 

Related key results and KPIs. Some of these should be set by the management committee, and some should be set by specific teams that are closer to the work. Make sure your key results and KPIs are measurable and actionable. These KPIs will help you track progress and ensure you’re moving in the right direction.

Budget for the next year or few years. This should be based on your financial forecast as well as your direction. Do you need to spend aggressively to develop your product? Build your team? Make a dent with marketing? Clarify your most important initiatives and how you’ll budget for those.

A high-level project roadmap . A project roadmap is a tool in project management that helps you visualize the timeline of a complex initiative, but you can also create a very high-level project roadmap for your strategic plan. Outline what you expect to be working on in certain quarters or years to make the plan more actionable and understandable.

Step 4: Implement and share your plan

Now it’s time to put your plan into action. Strategy implementation involves clear communication across your entire organization to make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and how to measure the plan’s success. 

Make sure your team (especially senior leadership) has access to the strategic plan, so they can understand how their work contributes to company priorities and the overall strategy map. We recommend sharing your plan in the same tool you use to manage and track work, so you can more easily connect high-level objectives to daily work. If you don’t already, consider using a work management platform .  

A few tips to make sure your plan will be executed without a hitch: 

Communicate clearly to your entire organization throughout the implementation process, to ensure all team members understand the strategic plan and how to implement it effectively. 

Define what “success” looks like by mapping your strategic plan to key performance indicators.

Ensure that the actions outlined in the strategic plan are integrated into the daily operations of the organization, so that every team member's daily activities are aligned with the broader strategic objectives.

Utilize tools and software—like a work management platform—that can aid in implementing and tracking the progress of your plan.

Regularly monitor and share the progress of the strategic plan with the entire organization, to keep everyone informed and reinforce the importance of the plan.

Establish regular check-ins to monitor the progress of your strategic plan and make adjustments as needed. 

Step 5: Revise and restructure as needed

Once you’ve created and implemented your new strategic framework, the final step of the planning process is to monitor and manage your plan.

Remember, your strategic plan isn’t set in stone. You’ll need to revisit and update the plan if your company changes directions or makes new investments. As new market opportunities and threats come up, you’ll likely want to tweak your strategic plan. Make sure to review your plan regularly—meaning quarterly and annually—to ensure it’s still aligned with your organization’s vision and goals.

Keep in mind that your plan won’t last forever, even if you do update it frequently. A successful strategic plan evolves with your company’s long-term goals. When you’ve achieved most of your strategic goals, or if your strategy has evolved significantly since you first made your plan, it might be time to create a new one.

Build a smarter strategic plan with a work management platform

To turn your company strategy into a plan—and ultimately, impact—make sure you’re proactively connecting company objectives to daily work. When you can clarify this connection, you’re giving your team members the context they need to get their best work done. 

A work management platform plays a pivotal role in this process. It acts as a central hub for your strategic plan, ensuring that every task and project is directly tied to your broader company goals. This alignment is crucial for visibility and coordination, allowing team members to see how their individual efforts contribute to the company’s success. 

By leveraging such a platform, you not only streamline workflow and enhance team productivity but also align every action with your strategic objectives—allowing teams to drive greater impact and helping your company move toward goals more effectively. 

Strategic planning FAQs

Still have questions about strategic planning? We have answers.

Why do I need a strategic plan?

A strategic plan is one of many tools you can use to plan and hit your goals. It helps map out strategic objectives and growth metrics that will help your company be successful.

When should I create a strategic plan?

You should aim to create a strategic plan every three to five years, depending on your organization’s growth speed.

Since the point of a strategic plan is to map out your long-term goals and how you’ll get there, you should create a strategic plan when you’ve met most or all of them. You should also create a strategic plan any time you’re going to make a large pivot in your organization’s mission or enter new markets. 

What is a strategic planning template?

A strategic planning template is a tool organizations can use to map out their strategic plan and track progress. Typically, a strategic planning template houses all the components needed to build out a strategic plan, including your company’s vision and mission statements, information from any competitive analyses or SWOT assessments, and relevant KPIs.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. business plan?

A business plan can help you document your strategy as you’re getting started so every team member is on the same page about your core business priorities and goals. This tool can help you document and share your strategy with key investors or stakeholders as you get your business up and running.

You should create a business plan when you’re: 

Just starting your business

Significantly restructuring your business

If your business is already established, you should create a strategic plan instead of a business plan. Even if you’re working at a relatively young company, your strategic plan can build on your business plan to help you move in the right direction. During the strategic planning process, you’ll draw from a lot of the fundamental business elements you built early on to establish your strategy for the next three to five years.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. mission and vision statements?

Your strategic plan, mission statement, and vision statements are all closely connected. In fact, during the strategic planning process, you will take inspiration from your mission and vision statements in order to build out your strategic plan.

Simply put: 

A mission statement summarizes your company’s purpose.

A vision statement broadly explains how you’ll reach your company’s purpose.

A strategic plan pulls in inspiration from your mission and vision statements and outlines what actions you’re going to take to move in the right direction. 

For example, if your company produces pet safety equipment, here’s how your mission statement, vision statement, and strategic plan might shake out:

Mission statement: “To ensure the safety of the world’s animals.” 

Vision statement: “To create pet safety and tracking products that are effortless to use.” 

Your strategic plan would outline the steps you’re going to take in the next few years to bring your company closer to your mission and vision. For example, you develop a new pet tracking smart collar or improve the microchipping experience for pet owners. 

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. company objectives?

Company objectives are broad goals. You should set these on a yearly or quarterly basis (if your organization moves quickly). These objectives give your team a clear sense of what you intend to accomplish for a set period of time. 

Your strategic plan is more forward-thinking than your company goals, and it should cover more than one year of work. Think of it this way: your company objectives will move the needle towards your overall strategy—but your strategic plan should be bigger than company objectives because it spans multiple years.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. a business case?

A business case is a document to help you pitch a significant investment or initiative for your company. When you create a business case, you’re outlining why this investment is a good idea, and how this large-scale project will positively impact the business. 

You might end up building business cases for things on your strategic plan’s roadmap—but your strategic plan should be bigger than that. This tool should encompass multiple years of your roadmap, across your entire company—not just one initiative.

What’s the difference between a strategic plan vs. a project plan?

A strategic plan is a company-wide, multi-year plan of what you want to accomplish in the next three to five years and how you plan to accomplish that. A project plan, on the other hand, outlines how you’re going to accomplish a specific project. This project could be one of many initiatives that contribute to a specific company objective which, in turn, is one of many objectives that contribute to your strategic plan. 

What’s the difference between strategic management vs. strategic planning?

A strategic plan is a tool to define where your organization wants to go and what actions you need to take to achieve those goals. Strategic planning is the process of creating a plan in order to hit your strategic objectives.

Strategic management includes the strategic planning process, but also goes beyond it. In addition to planning how you will achieve your big-picture goals, strategic management also helps you organize your resources and figure out the best action plans for success. 

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How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

Julia Rittenberg

Updated: Apr 17, 2024, 11:59am

How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

Table of Contents

Brainstorm an executive summary, create a company description, brainstorm your business goals, describe your services or products, conduct market research, create financial plans, bottom line, frequently asked questions.

Every business starts with a vision, which is distilled and communicated through a business plan. In addition to your high-level hopes and dreams, a strong business plan outlines short-term and long-term goals, budget and whatever else you might need to get started. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to write a business plan that you can stick to and help guide your operations as you get started.

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Drafting the Summary

An executive summary is an extremely important first step in your business. You have to be able to put the basic facts of your business in an elevator pitch-style sentence to grab investors’ attention and keep their interest. This should communicate your business’s name, what the products or services you’re selling are and what marketplace you’re entering.

Ask for Help

When drafting the executive summary, you should have a few different options. Enlist a few thought partners to review your executive summary possibilities to determine which one is best.

After you have the executive summary in place, you can work on the company description, which contains more specific information. In the description, you’ll need to include your business’s registered name , your business address and any key employees involved in the business. 

The business description should also include the structure of your business, such as sole proprietorship , limited liability company (LLC) , partnership or corporation. This is the time to specify how much of an ownership stake everyone has in the company. Finally, include a section that outlines the history of the company and how it has evolved over time.

Wherever you are on the business journey, you return to your goals and assess where you are in meeting your in-progress targets and setting new goals to work toward.

Numbers-based Goals

Goals can cover a variety of sections of your business. Financial and profit goals are a given for when you’re establishing your business, but there are other goals to take into account as well with regard to brand awareness and growth. For example, you might want to hit a certain number of followers across social channels or raise your engagement rates.

Another goal could be to attract new investors or find grants if you’re a nonprofit business. If you’re looking to grow, you’ll want to set revenue targets to make that happen as well.

Intangible Goals

Goals unrelated to traceable numbers are important as well. These can include seeing your business’s advertisement reach the general public or receiving a terrific client review. These goals are important for the direction you take your business and the direction you want it to go in the future.

The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you’re offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit in the current market or are providing something necessary or entirely new. If you have any patents or trademarks, this is where you can include those too.

If you have any visual aids, they should be included here as well. This would also be a good place to include pricing strategy and explain your materials.

This is the part of the business plan where you can explain your expertise and different approach in greater depth. Show how what you’re offering is vital to the market and fills an important gap.

You can also situate your business in your industry and compare it to other ones and how you have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Other than financial goals, you want to have a budget and set your planned weekly, monthly and annual spending. There are several different costs to consider, such as operational costs.

Business Operations Costs

Rent for your business is the first big cost to factor into your budget. If your business is remote, the cost that replaces rent will be the software that maintains your virtual operations.

Marketing and sales costs should be next on your list. Devoting money to making sure people know about your business is as important as making sure it functions.

Other Costs

Although you can’t anticipate disasters, there are likely to be unanticipated costs that come up at some point in your business’s existence. It’s important to factor these possible costs into your financial plans so you’re not caught totally unaware.

Business plans are important for businesses of all sizes so that you can define where your business is and where you want it to go. Growing your business requires a vision, and giving yourself a roadmap in the form of a business plan will set you up for success.

How do I write a simple business plan?

When you’re working on a business plan, make sure you have as much information as possible so that you can simplify it to the most relevant information. A simple business plan still needs all of the parts included in this article, but you can be very clear and direct.

What are some common mistakes in a business plan?

The most common mistakes in a business plan are common writing issues like grammar errors or misspellings. It’s important to be clear in your sentence structure and proofread your business plan before sending it to any investors or partners.

What basic items should be included in a business plan?

When writing out a business plan, you want to make sure that you cover everything related to your concept for the business,  an analysis of the industry―including potential customers and an overview of the market for your goods or services―how you plan to execute your vision for the business, how you plan to grow the business if it becomes successful and all financial data around the business, including current cash on hand, potential investors and budget plans for the next few years.

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Julia is a writer in New York and started covering tech and business during the pandemic. She also covers books and the publishing industry.

Kelly Main is a Marketing Editor and Writer specializing in digital marketing, online advertising and web design and development. Before joining the team, she was a Content Producer at Fit Small Business where she served as an editor and strategist covering small business marketing content. She is a former Google Tech Entrepreneur and she holds an MSc in International Marketing from Edinburgh Napier University. Additionally, she is a Columnist at Inc. Magazine.

The future of business: 2021 and beyond

Worldwide, 2020 has been a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacted an almost unspeakable human and economic toll, destabilizing both lives and livelihoods and upending almost every aspect of the way we work and live. During McKinsey Live’s capstone 2020 webinar, global managing partner Kevin Sneader  shared what leaders around the globe have learned in 2020—and what we can look forward to in the coming year. Condensed and edited excerpts from his December 9, 2020, conversation with global editorial director Lucia Rahilly follow.

Sneader acknowledged a shift in mood among leaders in response to the heartening initial results from vaccine trials and the onset of mass inoculation in the United Kingdom: “I think there’s a growing awareness that we are likely nearer to the end of the pandemic than the beginning.” By the spring, and certainly in the second or third quarter next year, we should see a growing improvement in general health conditions (lives) and a very different set of economic indicators (livelihoods).

Sneader also identified the following eight forces, which are expected to reshape the “next normal,” or post-pandemic business landscape, in 2021, and then took a closer look at a few of them:

  • acceleration of digitization and innovation
  • increased government action and engagement
  • recommitment to and reinvention of healthcare
  • greater balance between social and economic goals
  • push for a green economic recovery
  • redefinition of work and the role of cities
  • shifting geopolitics and international flows
  • movement toward greater resilience and efficiency

Lucia Rahilly: How do you see the role of government changing? Kevin Sneader: Government leadership to mitigate the crisis and huge public expenditures to stimulate economies have expanded the role of government in 2020. Soon, governments will need to deal with unprecedented deficits, play an essential role in trade policy, and pursue health, social, and environmental goals.

Lucia Rahilly: How will the acceleration of digitization and innovation affect the future of work? Kevin Sneader: Although the rapid digitization of business to consumer (B2C) is obvious, a lot of what is now going to happen is in the business-to-business (B2B) piece. The accelerating digitization and automation of B2B processes, manufacturing, and how business is conducted behind the scenes will profoundly change the very nature of work. Although, ultimately, digitization and innovation will generate more jobs, leaders should expect a bumpy transition to job growth because the pandemic has affected a lot of the jobs we thought could help in the automation transition (e.g., in services, leisure, and hospitality). Another point worth noting is that we’ve found that only 20 percent of jobs can be done in a more productive way remotely, so it’s important to recognize that the vast majority of digitization and innovation changes will still have to address in-person jobs.

Lucia Rahilly: How do you see businesses moving to rebalance social and economic goals, given the global protests in recent months about racial and social injustice and the growing importance of stakeholder capitalism? Kevin Sneader: During this pandemic, business has been confronted by very real environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues and has had to step up and play a role. This year has also shown that an authentic purpose embedded in the organization can be a source of resilience and competitive advantage. There is an increasing recognition that pursuing ESG goals, long considered a “good” thing for companies to do, is now an economic necessity. As companies rebuild, there’s an opportunity to make big improvements in the areas of diversity, inclusion, and equal treatment of their employees.

Lucia Rahilly: Do you think the pandemic will accelerate or decelerate a global climate response? Kevin Sneader: Accelerate. The reason we need a green recovery is because we need a jobs recovery. For every $10 million spent in renewable energy, 75 jobs are created; for every $10 million spent in energy efficiency, 77 jobs are created; and for every $10 million spent in fossil fuel, only 27 jobs are created. That gulf is enormous, and the idea that a trade-off exists between business and the environment is false. In fact, a green recovery from the pandemic is essential for job growth.

Lucia Rahilly: What do you see as the leadership capabilities most required to lead into this seemingly uncharted territory in 2021? Kevin Sneader: The most significant leadership shift in 2020 has been from the focus of leaders on what a business does to how a business does it. Leadership capabilities are going to continue to shift toward embracing empathy and demonstrating leadership in its full sense, as opposed to the academic, intellectual, and visionary leadership that perhaps was given greater emphasis in the past.

Lucia Rahilly: As a global leader yourself, what are you most inspired by as you move into 2021? Kevin Sneader: I’m going to quote a head teacher who spoke at my daughter’s high school graduation this summer. She said, “You are from the class of 2020, and I’m from the class of 1968. 1968 is widely thought of as the worst year the world faced since the Second World War; Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, there were riots in the streets of Paris, and the Vietnam War was at its peak. Then 1969 came along, and Concorde took to the air for the first time, as did the Boeing 747, the Beatles released Abbey Road with the iconic album cover, Woodstock happened, and of course Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. So what are you going to do to make sure that 2021 is to 2020 what 1969 was to 1968?” People and businesses have shown a lot of resilience, purpose, and bold innovation in 2020, and it leaves me with a sense of optimism that we can, and we will, be part of a bright future, even though there’s still quite some distance to get there.

For more on this topic, please watch the webinar recording and watch or read the transcript of Sneader’s conversation with senior partners Dame Vivian Hunt and Bob Sternfels, “ Business in 2020 and beyond .”

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How to plan your company’s future during the pandemic

People who lost their jobs wait in line to file for unemployment benefits, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Arkansas Workforce Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas, U.S. April 6, 2020. REUTERS/Nick Oxford     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC27ZF95VRZ0

Businesses must first seek to ensure employees are safe in their jobs. Image:  REUTERS/Nick Oxford

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company future plan

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Stay up to date:, technological transformation.

  • Companies which have gone digital are adapting to the crisis better than their peers.
  • Business leaders need to devise a lockdown exit strategy.
  • We should continue to use technology to augment, not replace, people.
  • Companies should embrace the cultural and behavioural shifts that COVID-19 introduced.

Business leaders today are rightly focused on the huge business continuity challenges posed by COVID-19. First and foremost they must ensure that employees are as safe as possible, securing financial sustainability, assessing the resilience of supply chains and reinforcing crucial systems to support unprecedented levels of remote working and online trading – while withstanding an upsurge in cyberattacks.

Have you read?

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Unsurprisingly, the organizations that were furthest down the digital transformation journey before COVID-19 struck are tending to adapt to the crisis better than their peers. Their business models and working processes meant that they were able to pivot more rapidly or accelerate changes already underway. The businesses that lack a robust digital backbone or an online presence have struggled, as have those exposed to high street retail, transportation, energy and tourism sectors. Meanwhile, software companies providing collaboration tools, software-as-a-service and cloud capacity are seeing high levels of demand to meet rapidly changing customer and business behaviour.

However, businesses, no matter how digitalized, need to try and look beyond the immediate business continuity or liquidity issues caused by the pandemic. As more focus turns to the loosening of restrictions in place by governments, we should all be thinking about what the future may look like. What lessons should we take from this pandemic to prepare for the “new normal” following COVID-19? How can we enable our organizations to thrive in a post-crisis world?

Perhaps we can start by thinking about these four things:

1. Devise a lockdown exit strategy

Many national economies are experiencing large drops in GDP. Hence, governments are thinking seriously about lockdown exit strategies that will allow them to reboot economies while minimizing the threat to human lives. Similarly, businesses will need to figure out how they restart their operations while continuing to prioritize the wellbeing of their staff and dealing with the aftermath of lockdown and its immediate implications.

This will require them to consider if and how staff return to offices or visit customer sites – while maintaining social distancing protocols. Few businesses, if any, will return to the same working and customer service practices they enjoyed only six months ago, with short-term impacts to productivity, costs and employee morale. They may need to introduce greater agility and flexibility into their supply chain so that they can switch to new suppliers if necessary.

Zoom Grows exponentially.

2. Consider the changing role of the state

The crisis has had the effect of dramatically expanding the state in many markets as governments have implemented strict rules to save lives and unveiled massive stimulus packages to save jobs and businesses. These measures have come at a huge economic and social cost, which is why many governments will be focused on ensuring that their countries won’t have to shut down to the same extent should another pandemic strike again in future. Following the financial crisis 10 years ago, governments around the world introduced more than 15,000 pieces of new legislation to strengthen the global financial system. You need to think about how new regulation may impact your organization’s business model and factor that into your strategy going forward.

Rather than invite a coordinated global response, the common threat of the pandemic has created more division and, in some cases, intensified competition. Going forward, we are likely to see greater regulation – potentially in areas such as employment rights, accessibility of data and the cash and liquidity buffers held by large businesses. We will likely see a rapid acceleration towards “e-government”, the digitization of healthcare and role of state in its universal provision.

With the dramatic fiscal intervention by the state in supporting impacted workers and businesses, it seems inevitable that we will see short-term nationalization in some industries as well as direct state intervention in newly designated industries of strategic importance. We should also prepare for changes to the taxation system as governments look to recoup some of their recent outlay and rebalance the books in the medium-term.

3. Use technology to augment, not replace, people

Technology has enabled us to rethink the ways in which we perform fundamental activities during this crisis. Stock exchanges are still operating even though their physical trading floors are closed. The UK has established a virtual Parliament . Contact centres around the world are switching to remote ways of working, with some making use of artificial intelligence to maintain expected levels of customer service. While we have long had a strong culture of flexibility and remote working at EY, we flexed further and have over 300,000 people across 150 countries working from home.

These developments are impressive, but many of the technologies and tools in which we are all having a crash course in – such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom – have the ability to enable us to do far more. Many businesses’ default positions are to use technology to replace, rather than to integrate with the workforce. This period is an opportunity for business leaders to explore how we can make greater use of technology to augment people so that we achieve productivity gains, improve the working lives of our employees, deliver better products and services to our customers and help drive higher economic growth.

4. Embrace the cultural and behavioural shifts that COVID-19 introduced

For many, the global pandemic exposed weaknesses and rendered many traditional strengths irrelevant. Technology has been the common denominator for most organizations’ resilience amid the crisis. It has also helped drive significant cultural shifts – such as people working from home and connecting with colleagues via video-conferencing platforms and collaboration tools.

While online sales and services were already growing rapidly in many countries, the pandemic has catapulted online retail into overdrive. More than just food and home remedies, demand for services, ranging from training courses and entertainment have all increased. Organizations have a valuable opportunity to capitalize on the significant behavioural and cultural shifts of the past few weeks so that they carry across into a non-COVID world. This might mean developing omni-channel business models that combine digital and face-to-face offerings.

The move to shift infrastructure from traditional data centres to the cloud, or a mix of on-premises and cloud computing, is already showing signs of acceleration. Many businesses are already rethinking how to introduce greater virtualization into many aspects of the business, such as learning, while also planning for far higher levels of remote working than before, with the knock-on impact on the real estate and carbon footprint of the business.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community , which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

Although the majority of countries and businesses are still very much in the crisis management phase of COVID-19, some businesses are already exploring how they can set themselves up on the right trajectory for growth as they come out the other side. While prioritizing the wellbeing of staff and business continuity, they are reviewing whether their strategies remain fit for purpose. This entails considering which course corrections they need to make given technological advances, evolving customer and employee behaviour, the need for organizational agility and supply chain resilience, and the expanded role of the state.

The world is still in chaos right now. What’s more, this chaos has sparked a major social, economic and technological transformation that is playing out before our eyes. Clearly, we won’t revert back to our old ways of living, working or doing business once the worst of the crisis has passed. Tomorrow is certain to be very different – which is why we must start reframing the future today.

The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organization or its member firms.

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Growth Strategy

Compounding quality value.

Despite all of the noise and challenges over the past 5 years, our system rallied to focus on winning in the marketplace, and drove revenue above the high end of our long-term targets. We leveraged the crisis as a catalyst to accelerate the business transformation that was already underway. And we did that because through it all we stayed clear on our purpose – which is to Refresh the World, and Make a Difference. We kept this front and center because it allowed us in the early years to re-orient our business and drive ourselves forward, and it allowed us to manage through the pandemic. And today, we remain rooted in that strategy, and continue to strive toward driving the topline and generating returns. We identified key objectives to propel us to a growth trajectory – win more consumers, gain share, maintain strong system economics, strengthen our impact across our stakeholders, and equip our organization to win in the future. These remain our north stars as we continue to navigate the uncertain macroenvironment ahead in the near term.

company future plan

(a) Non-GAAP

Brand Portfolio Optimization

We put deep analysis into our portfolio optimization process to focus on brands that will continue to drive the Total Beverage Company strategy. We undertook the exercise to shape our portfolio of brands in support of our growth agenda and to ensure we emerge from the crisis strongly. We’ve streamlined our portfolio from 400 to 200 master brands, allowing global category teams to identify the greatest country and category combinations which drive the most effective return on our spend. We aspire to achieve a balanced combination of global, regional and local brands, with scale, that have the strongest potential to help us grow our consumer base, increase frequency and drive system margin accretion. We believe we now have a strong portfolio of brands that will enable us to address all drinking moments and we will continue to grow these brands through focused execution and targeted innovation where relevant.         

Brand Portfolio

Note: 2019 data. The two outer donut charts represent the split of brands in terms of 2019 retail value. The innermost donut represents the split in terms of number of brands.

Networked Organization

Our networked organization is coming together and is already changing the way we work – striking the right balance between scale and intimacy. We’ve created global category leads with clear decision rights to modernize our approach to Marketing and Innovation. We’ve established Platform Services to elevate and accelerate data, analytics and insights capabilities in order to accelerate topline and bottom-line growth. This reduces duplication and drives scale. The actions free up time, resources, and energy for growth and facilitate accountability and speed of execution across the frontline areas closest to the consumer.

Networked Organization

Brand Building

World-class marketing....

Great marketing begins with human insights – understanding what the consumer wants, making a superior tasting product and through the consumer passion points, telling the brand story in a relatable way. We are shifting our marketing from television experiences, and our new operating structure is wiring us to partner across functions and geographies to create global solutions, enabling us to get even better at what we do best. Coupled with the scale of our new agency partnerships, we feel we’ve never been in a better position to interact with our consumers in end-to-end engagement across mediums outside of traditional media. We believe this will result in more personalized relationships with consumers, adding new drinkers to our brands while allowing for more co-creation and impactful messaging.

growing the consumer base through marketing

(a) Internal estimates for 2023 (b) Change since 2019

… Through Disciplined Resource Allocation

And we will deliver the magic of marketing by being more effective and efficient, fundamentally transforming the way we execute our marketing programs. It means a model that combines commercial prioritization backed by advanced analytics that drives leverage through scale. One area the pandemic fueled us by necessity to reevaluate was our ability to take action with the resources available to us, whether it’s dollars, whether it’s people or whether it’s time.

We always begin our decision-making process from an enterprise view, leveraging the network to focus on what's the most important set of decisions for the enterprise. Our company has invoked a spirit of learning where it's okay to try as long as we learn and iterate better the next time. And last, but certainly not least, we continue to be more data-driven, making great strides turning concepts into real life examples to help drive the growth equation. Across the enterprise, driving a discipline around where we play and how we invest using a very methodical country-category combination algorithm is helping us have confidence that the dollars we're investing can and will generate even greater return.

Targeted Resource Allocation

Complementing our work to build great brands is our disciplined approach to innovation, in order to bring new relevant product or equipment or ideas to the table. Consumer centricity allows us to drive incremental growth through innovation. We are focusing on “more disciplined innovation”, but this does not mean “less innovation”. We are approaching innovation through different lenses and with rigorous objectives: Our pipeline for 2023 has been developed through clear routines and processes to assess the purpose and the right level of innovation. Intelligent experimentation goes beyond new flavors and brands – it also includes product, package and process. It encourages local markets to test the best ideas in a way that enables us to nurture and scale them, allowing us to expand across geographies faster than before.

Targeted Resource Allocation

The digital frontier is vast and has many fronts. Our view of digital is one of an integrated ecosystem of platforms that create value across the digital and physical world. Our digital strategy creates value not only for our consumers and customers but across our organization and our system as well. The pandemic allowed us to accelerate our digital transformation and evolve into an organization that can execute its marketing, commercial, sales and distribution strategy both in the on-line digital world as well as in the physical world.

At the heart of everything lies data, and our recent organizational changes have set us up to leverage data across the enterprise as well as the system. This, combined with cutting-edge digital tools, will facilitate more efficient marketing, strengthen our brands, and improve the execution. 

Digital

Revenue Growth Management

It goes without saying that strong innovation and marketing would not take flight without excellence in execution. We have taken several steps in the ongoing evolution of our revenue growth management (RGM) agenda. RGM is a key commercial capability that answers critical business questions of ‘Within the priority categories, where is the revenue? Which pack? Which price tier? Which channel? Which customer? Which competitor?’

RGM focuses on identifying revenue pools (where to play) and revenue growth strategies (how to win). It is a capability with different markets being at different points of the journey, and adjusts based on the business objective and changing landscape.

Digital is beginning to play an integral role in our RGM strategy, providing competitive advantages which allow us to make better, more informed decisions faster, by translating data into actionable insights. Digital is improving our perception both at the consumer experience level as well as at the bottler level, driving improved execution.

RGM is iterative and infinite. Thus, we believe we have a long runway ahead of us.

Strategy

(a) Comparison vs. 2019

company future plan

Ultimately our success as a company is dependent upon our success as a system, and our bottlers’ ability to grow and thrive in the marketplace. That is why we went through a tremendous transformation over the past several years to put the bottling operations in the hands of the most capable and strategically aligned partners. We are seeing our transformation yielding results.

For example, in South Africa during 2021, we leveraged learnings from strong reusable performance in Latin America to invest in capabilities and activation driving demand for affordable, refillable PET packages and a universal bottle, driving positive results from a revenue, transaction and value standpoint.

Further, in Germany where collection rates are very high, we utilized refillables to expand premium packages for at-home occasions through development of a highly sustainable returnable glass bottle – again driving positive results across metrics.

company future plan

Note: Data comparisons are 2021 vs 2019 (a) Revenue per unit case and transactions for refillables in South Africa (b) Revenue per unit case for sparkling soft drink refillable glass bottles in Germany

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  • How to Plan for Your Company’s Future
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Connie Williams, CMO & General Partner Synecticsworld

Connie Williams, CMO & General Partner Synecticsworld

By Connie Williams

One of the biggest problems facing companies and other organizations is how to plan for the future. What to invest in? Where to place your bets? We don’t have the ability to perfectly predict the future; but we do have the creative thinking skills and behaviors to build an imaginative look at the future and to help companies create powerful future scenarios and plan appropriate implications create powerful future scenarios and plan appropriate implications.

The only way to be successful is to be able to build new, advantaged knowledge – what others do not know but we discover through powerful designs. We also want to discover the unknown future opportunities – what we don’t know we don’t know.

  • Insight is about current needs and wants of the market place,
  • Foresight is both discovering and creating the longer term future needs and wants of the marketplace.

Innovation model, scrum, invention, brainstorming, new product development, leadership, change, agile

Organizations need to be inspired beyond pure trend extrapolation.  It’s the only way to have a powerful impact on future consumer and customer behaviors, thus profoundly changing the needs they may have for products and services.  Foresight process looks at long term trends both regionally and globally and also should include individual catalyst, expert and provocateur stimulus which are designed and selected to challenge and shift future expectations. Senior leaders need to be facilitated in “force-fitting” disparate and emerging aspects of cultural, social, political and technological evolution to break through their own filters in order to imaginatively create alternative future scenarios. A strong Foresight approach explores the contradictions and paradox in market data to build unexpected future scenarios – rather than ignoring that which is disparate.

Foresight, Strategy, future planning, new markets, innovation strategy

While we can’t completely predict the future – we can certainly be prepared with the right competencies and expectations if we face it, creatively, with an open mind and a powerful imagination.

This article is an updated version of  Connie’s What’s Next, Foresight chapter of Imagine That! 

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‘To the Future’: Saudi Arabia Spends Big to Become an A.I. Superpower

The oil-rich kingdom is plowing money into glitzy events, computing power and artificial intelligence research, putting it in the middle of an escalating U.S.-China struggle for technological influence.

More than 200,000 people converged on the Leap tech conference in the desert outside Riyadh in March. Credit... Iman Al-Dabbagh for The New York Times

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Adam Satariano

By Adam Satariano and Paul Mozur

Adam Satariano reported from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Paul Mozur from Taipei, Taiwan.

  • Published April 25, 2024 Updated April 26, 2024

On a Monday morning last month, tech executives, engineers and sales representatives from Amazon, Google, TikTok and other companies endured a three-hour traffic jam as their cars crawled toward a mammoth conference at an event space in the desert, 50 miles outside Riyadh.

The lure: billions of dollars in Saudi money as the kingdom seeks to build a tech industry to complement its oil dominance.

To bypass the congestion, frustrated eventgoers drove onto the highway shoulder, kicking up plumes of desert sand as they sped past those following traffic rules. A lucky few took advantage of a special freeway exit dedicated to “V.V.I.P.s” — very, very important people.

“To the Future,” a sign read on the approach to the event, called Leap.

A view at night from above a city lit up with lights.

More than 200,000 people converged at the conference, including Adam Selipsky, chief executive of Amazon’s cloud computing division, who announced a $5.3 billion investment in Saudi Arabia for data centers and artificial intelligence technology. Arvind Krishna, the chief executive of IBM, spoke of what a government minister called a “lifetime friendship” with the kingdom. Executives from Huawei and dozens of other firms made speeches. More than $10 billion in deals were done there, according to Saudi Arabia’s state press agency.

“This is a great country,” Shou Chew, TikTok’s chief executive, said during the conference, heralding the video app’s growth in the kingdom. “We expect to invest even more.”

  • Shou Chew, TikTok’s chief executive, promoted the video app’s growth in Saudi Arabia during the Leap conference. Iman Al-Dabbagh for The New York Times
  • One of the booths at the Leap conference, which was attended by executives from Google, Amazon, TikTok and others. Iman Al-Dabbagh for The New York Times
  • A robotic dog walking through the Leap conference. Iman Al-Dabbagh for The New York Times

Everybody in tech seems to want to make friends with Saudi Arabia right now as the kingdom has trained its sights on becoming a dominant player in A.I. — and is pumping in eye-popping sums to do so.

Saudi Arabia created a $100 billion fund this year to invest in A.I. and other technology. It is in talks with Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and other investors to put an additional $40 billion into A.I. companies. In March, the government said it would invest $1 billion in a Silicon Valley-inspired start-up accelerator to lure A.I. entrepreneurs to the kingdom. The initiatives easily dwarf those of most major nation-state investments, like Britain’s $100 million pledge for the Alan Turing Institute.

The spending blitz stems from a generational effort outlined in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and known as “Vision 2030.” Saudi Arabia is racing to diversify its oil-rich economy in areas like tech, tourism, culture and sports — investing a reported $200 million a year for the soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and planning a 100-mile-long mirrored skyscraper in the desert.

For the tech industry, Saudi Arabia has long been a funding spigot. But the kingdom is now redirecting its oil wealth into building a domestic tech industry, requiring international firms to establish roots there if they want its money.

If Prince Mohammed succeeds, he will place Saudi Arabia in the middle of an escalating global competition among China, the United States and other countries like France that have made breakthroughs in generative A.I. Combined with A.I. efforts by its neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s plan has the potential to create a new power center in the global tech industry.

“I hereby invite all dreamers, innovators, investors and thinkers to join us, here in the kingdom, to achieve our ambitions together,” Prince Mohammed remarked in a 2020 speech about A.I.

His ambitions are geopolitically delicate as China and the United States seek to carve out spheres of influence over A.I. to shape the future of critical technologies.

In Washington, many worry that the kingdom’s goals and authoritarian leanings could work against U.S. interests — for instance, if Saudi Arabia ends up providing computing power to Chinese researchers and companies. This month, the White House brokered a deal for Microsoft to invest in G42, an A.I. company in the Emirates, which was intended partly to diminish China’s influence.

For China, the Persian Gulf region offers a big market, access to deep-pocketed investors and a chance to wield influence in countries traditionally allied with the United States. China’s form of A.I.-powered surveillance has already been embedded into policing in the region .

Some industry leaders have begun to arrive. Jürgen Schmidhuber, an A.I. pioneer who now heads an A.I. program at Saudi Arabia’s premier research university, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, recalled the kingdom’s roots centuries ago as a center for science and mathematics.

“It would be lovely to contribute to a new world and resurrect this golden age,” he said. “Yes, it will cost money, but there’s a lot of money in this country.”

The willingness to spend was front and center last month at a gala in Riyadh hosted by the Saudi government, which coincided with the Leap conference. Hollywood klieg lights blazed in the sky above the city as guests arrived in chauffeured Maseratis, Mercedes-Benzes and Porsches. Inside a 300,000-square-foot parking garage that had been converted two years ago into one of the world’s largest start-up spaces, attendees mingled, debated opening offices in Riyadh and sipped pomegranate juice and cardamom-flavored coffee.

“There’s something happening here,” said Hilmar Veigar Petursson, the chief executive of CCP Games, the Icelandic company behind the popular game Eve Online, who was at the gala. “I got a very similar sense when I came back from China in 2005.”

A Sci-Fi Script

Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030 project, unveiled eight years ago, seems taken from a science-fiction script.

Under the plan, new futuristic cities will be built in the desert along the Red Sea, oriented around tech and digital services. And the kingdom, which has piled billions into tech start-ups like Uber and investment vehicles such as SoftBank’s Vision Fund, would spend more.

That drew Silicon Valley’s attention. When Prince Mohammed visited California in 2018, Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, escorted him through a tree-lined path at the company’s campus. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, showed him the company’s products. The prince also traveled to Seattle, where he met with Bill Gates of Microsoft; Satya Nadella, the company’s chief executive; and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

It was a key moment for Saudi Arabia’s tech ambitions as Prince Mohammed presented himself as a youthful, digitally savvy reformer. But enthusiasm dimmed a few months later when Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the crown prince, was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Prince Mohammed denied involvement, but the C.I.A. concluded that he had approved the killing .

For a brief period, it was seen as untoward to associate with Saudi Arabia. Business executives canceled visits to the kingdom. But the lure of its money was ultimately too strong.

A.I. development depends on two key things that Saudi Arabia has in abundance: money and energy. The kingdom is pouring oil profits into buying semiconductors, building supercomputers, attracting talent and constructing data centers powered by its plentiful electricity. The bet is that Saudi Arabia will eventually export A.I. computing muscle.

Majid Ali AlShehry, the general manager of studies for the Saudi Data and A.I. Authority, a government agency overseeing A.I. initiatives, said 70 percent of the 96 strategic goals outlined in Vision 2030 involved using data and A.I.

“We see A.I. as one of the main enablers of all sectors,” he said in an interview at the agency’s office in Riyadh, where employees nearby worked on an Arabic chatbot called Allam.

Those goals have permeated the kingdom. Posters for Vision 2030 are visible throughout Riyadh. Young Saudis describe the crown prince as running the kingdom as if it were a start-up. Many tech leaders have parroted the sentiment.

“Saudi has a founder,” Ben Horowitz, a founder of Andreessen Horowitz, said last year at a conference in Miami. “You don’t call him a founder. You call him his royal highness.”

Some question whether Saudi Arabia can become a global tech hub. The kingdom has faced scrutiny for its human rights record, intolerance to homosexuality and brutal heat. But for those in the tech world who descended on Riyadh last month, the concerns seemed secondary to the dizzying amount of deal-making underway.

“They are just pouring money into A.I.,” said Peter Lillian, an engineer at Groq, a U.S. maker of semiconductors that power A.I. systems. Groq is working with Neom, a futuristic city that Saudi Arabia is building in the desert, and Aramco, the state oil giant. “We’re doing so many deals,” he said.

Torn Between Superpowers

Situated along the Red Sea’s turquoise waters, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has become a site of the U.S.-Chinese technological showdown.

The university, known as KAUST, is central to Saudi Arabia’s plans to vault to A.I. leadership. Modeled on universities like Caltech, KAUST has brought in foreign A.I. leaders and provided computing resources to build an epicenter for A.I. research.

To achieve that aim, KAUST has often turned to China to recruit students and professors and to strike research partnerships , alarming American officials. They fear students and professors from Chinese military-linked universities will use KAUST to sidestep U.S. sanctions and boost China in the race for A.I. supremacy , analysts and U.S. officials said.

Of particular concern is the university’s construction of one of the region’s fastest supercomputers, which needs thousands of microchips made by Nvidia, the biggest maker of precious chips that power A.I. systems. The university’s chip order, with an estimated value of more than $100 million, is being held up by a review from the U.S. government, which must provide an export license before the sale can go through.

Both China and the United States want to keep Prince Mohammed close. A.I. ambitions add a new layer of geopolitical significance to a kingdom already key to Middle East policy and global energy supplies. A 2016 visit to Saudi Arabia by Xi Jinping, China’s leader, paved the way for new tech cooperation. Accustomed to top-down industrial policy, Chinese companies have expanded rapidly in the kingdom, forming partnerships with major state-owned companies. The United States has pushed Saudi Arabia to pick a side, but Prince Mohammed seems content to benefit from both nations.

Mr. Schmidhuber, the researcher leading KAUST’s A.I. efforts, has seen the jostling up close. Considered a pioneer of modern A.I. — students in a lab he led included a founder of DeepMind, an innovative A.I. company now owned by Google — he was lured to the desert in 2021.

He was reluctant to move at first, he said, but university officials, via a headhunter, “tried to make it more attractive and even more attractive and even more attractive for me.”

Now Mr. Schmidhuber is awaiting the completion of the supercomputer, Shaheen 3, which is a chance to attract more top talent to the Persian Gulf and to give researchers access to computing power often reserved for major companies.

“No other university is going to have a similar thing,” he said.

Some in Washington fear the supercomputer may provide researchers from Chinese universities access to cutting-edge computing resources they would not have in China. More than a dozen students and staff members at KAUST are from military-linked Chinese universities known as the Seven Sons of National Defense, according to a review by The New York Times. During the Trump administration, the United States blocked entry to students from those universities over concerns they could take sensitive technologies back to China’s military.

“The United States should quickly move to deny export licenses to any entity if the end user is likely to be a P.R.C. actor affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army,” Representative Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, said in a statement.

A senior White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the default U.S. policy was to share technology with Saudi Arabia, a critical ally in the gulf, but that there were national security concerns and risks with A.I.

The Commerce Department declined to comment. In a statement, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “We hope that relevant countries will work with China to resist coercion, jointly safeguard a fair and open international economic and trade order, and safeguard their own long-term interests.”

A KAUST spokeswoman said, “We will strictly comply with all U.S. export license terms and conditions for the full life cycle of Shaheen 3.”

Mr. Schmidhuber said the Saudi government was ultimately aligned with the United States. Just as U.S. technology helped create Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, it will play a critical role in A.I. development.

“Nobody wants to jeopardize that,” he said.

The Gold Rush

Aladin Ben, a German Tunisian A.I. entrepreneur, was in Bali last year when he received an email from a Saudi agency working on A.I. issues. The agency knew his software start-up, Memorality, which designs tools to make it easier for businesses to incorporate A.I., and wanted to work together.

Since then, Mr. Ben, 31, has traveled to Saudi Arabia five times. He is now negotiating with the kingdom on an investment and other partnerships. But his company may need to incorporate in Saudi Arabia to get the full benefit of the government’s offer, which includes buying hundreds of annual subscriptions to his software in a contract worth roughly $800,000 a month.

“If you want a serious deal, you need to be here,” Mr. Ben said in an interview in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia was once viewed as a source of few-strings-attached cash. Now it has added conditions to its deals, requiring many companies to establish roots in the kingdom to partake in the financial windfall.

That was evident at GAIA, an A.I. start-up accelerator, for which Saudi officials announced $1 billion in funding last month.

Each start-up in the program receives a grant worth about $40,000 in exchange for spending at least three months in Riyadh, along with a potential $100,000 investment. Entrepreneurs are required to register their company in the kingdom and spend 50 percent of their investment in Saudi Arabia. They also receive access to computing power purchased from Amazon and Google free of charge.

About 50 start-ups — including from Taiwan, South Korea, Sweden, Poland and the United States — have gone through GAIA’s program since it started last year.

“We want to attract talent, and we want them to stay,” said Mohammed Almazyad, a program manager for GAIA. “We used to rely heavily on oil, and now we want to diversify.”

One of the biggest enticements for A.I. start-ups is the chance to make the deep-pocketed Saudi government a customer. In one recent meeting, Abdullah Alswaha, a senior minister for communications and information technology, asked GAIA’s start-ups to suggest what they could provide for the Saudi government, including for megacity projects like Neom . Afterward, many of the companies received messages introducing them to state-owned businesses, Mr. Almazyad said.

“I would say this process at the first stages is not organic,” he said. “You don’t find this in Silicon Valley. Eventually the process will be organic.”

Deciding to set up in Riyadh comes with challenges. There’s the heat, reaching more than 110 degrees in the summer, as well as the adjustments of moving to a deeply religious Muslim kingdom. While Saudi Arabia has loosened some restrictions in recent years, freedom of speech remains limited and L.G.B.T.Q. people can face criminal penalties.

Mr. Almazyad, who hopes to eventually study in the United States, said cultural differences could make it hard to recruit international A.I. talent. But he cautioned against underestimating Saudi Arabia’s resolve.

“This is just the beginning,” he said.

Adam Satariano is a technology correspondent based in Europe, where his work focuses on digital policy and the intersection of technology and world affairs. More about Adam Satariano

Paul Mozur is the global technology correspondent for The Times, based in Taipei. Previously he wrote about technology and politics in Asia from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul. More about Paul Mozur

Explore Our Coverage of Artificial Intelligence

News  and Analysis

As experts warn that A.I.-generated images, audio and video could influence the 2024 elections, OpenAI is releasing a tool designed to detect content created by DALL-E , its popular image generator.

American and Chinese diplomats plan to meet in Geneva to begin what amounts to the first, tentative arms control talks  over the use of A.I.

Wayve, a London maker of A.I. systems for autonomous vehicles, said that it had raised $1 billion , an illustration of investor optimism about A.I.’s ability to reshape industries.

The Age of A.I.

A new category of apps promises to relieve parents of drudgery, with an assist from A.I.  But a family’s grunt work is more human, and valuable, than it seems.

Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s hope for Meta’s A.I. assistant to be the smartest , it struggles with facts, numbers and web search.

Much as ChatGPT generates poetry, a new A.I. system devises blueprints for microscopic mechanisms  that can edit your DNA.

Which A.I. system writes the best computer code or generates the most realistic image? Right now, there’s no easy way to answer those questions, our technology columnist writes .

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Future of MLB's Tampa Bay Rays to come into focus with key meetings on $1.3B stadium project

The future of the Tampa Bay Rays is about to come into clearer focus as the St. Petersburg City Council begins discussions about the team’s planned $1.3 billion ballpark

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The future of the Tampa Bay Rays is about to come into clearer focus as local officials begin public discussions over a planned $1.3 billion ballpark that would be the anchor of a much larger project to transform downtown St. Petersburg with affordable housing, a Black history museum, a hotel and office and retail space.

The St. Petersburg City Council will begin a detailed look Thursday at the plans by the Rays and the Hines development company for what the city calls the Historic Gas Plant Project. The name is a nod to the 86-acre (34-hectare) tract’s history as a once-thriving Black community demolished for the Rays’ current domed Tropicana Field and earlier for an interstate highway spur.

Mayor Ken Welch is St. Petersburg's first Black mayor and his family has roots in the Gas Plant neighborhood when the city was racially segregated. He said it’s important to keep the Rays in the area and to restore promises of economic opportunity never met for minority residents after the businesses and families were forced out decades ago.

“I see it as a real opportunity to uplift the entire city,” Welch, a Democrat, said in an interview at City Hall. “This isn’t just a stadium. This is a stadium surrounded by the largest development in the state of Florida, if not the nation.”

The plan would cap years of uncertainty about the Rays’ future, including possible moves across the bay to Tampa; Nashville, Tennessee; and even an idea to split home games between St. Petersburg and Montreal. The Rays typically draw among the lowest attendance in MLB, even though the team has made the playoffs five years in a row.

The proposed 30,000-seat ballpark, which would open for the 2028 season, is a priority in the first phase of what ultimately is a $6.5 billion project. The City Council meeting Thursday will focus on other aspects of the plan, with a May 23 meeting set on the ballpark itself. Final votes are expected in either June or July; the Pinellas County Commission also must vote on the project.

According to the Rays, the first phase will break ground next spring with the ballpark and initially include 1,500 residential units, 500 hotel rooms, office and medical space, a new Woodson African American Museum of Florida , as well as entertainment, conference, ballroom and meeting spaces. The plan also calls for a tract of open space, particularly around a nearby creek, as well as work on an abandoned Black cemetery near the site.

The plan has drawn strong support from business and charity leaders across Tampa Bay, as well as organizations ranging from the NHL’s Lightning to St. Pete Pride, an LGBTQ+ group. Many local Black leaders also are in favor, according to support letters they have sent to the council.

Gwendolyn Reese, president of the African American Heritage Association, once lived in the Gas Plant neighborhood. She said people like her and descendants of the earlier residents feel “vindicated” by the inclusionary nature of the overall project. The local NAACP branch also endorsed it.

“People gave up their neighborhood for a better way of life, and none of that happened,” Reese said. “That has been like a stone in the hearts of many people in our community. This is a wonderful opportunity for the city to move ahead.”

The Rays’ ballpark is part of a wave of construction or renovation at sports venues across the country, including the Milwaukee Brewers, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and the Oakland Athletics, who are planning to relocate to Las Vegas. Like the Rays, all of the projects come with millions of dollars in public funding that usually draws opposition.

The Rays’ financing plan calls for the city to spend $417.5 million, including $287.5 million for the ballpark itself and $130 million in infrastructure for the larger redevelopment project that would include such things as sewage, traffic signals and roads. The city envisions no new or increased taxes.

Pinellas County, meanwhile, would spend about $312.5 million for its share of the ballpark costs. Officials say the county money will come from a bed tax largely funded by visitors that can be spent only on tourist-related and economic development expenses.

The Rays and Hines will be responsible for the remaining stadium costs — about $600 million — and any cost overruns during construction. The team would have naming rights to the ballpark, which could top $10 million a year.

Detractors in the Tampa Bay area, including a group called No Home Run, contend the Rays and Hines should pay rent to make up for potentially lost property tax dollars, split revenue with the city and county and be required to buy the prime downtown land at a fairer value.

“The only real goal in this project was for the Rays to get an incredible deal on a new stadium and to keep out all other lead developers so the Rays didn’t give up control,” wrote Alan Delisle, a former St. Petersburg city administrator, in a post on the No Home Run site. “They will always do what is in the best interest of the team and business. The City of St. Pete will always be secondary.”

Mayor Welch, however, said he and the project supporters are determined to see it through and that it has a real chance to transform the city, which has already changed dramatically from a sleepy retirement haven to a beacon for younger residents with a hip downtown not far from Gulf of Mexico beaches. After the ballpark opens, the rest is expected to be completed over about 20 years in several phases.

“I think we’re in a much stronger, competitive position than we have ever been,” Welch said. “There’s a tremendous amount of faith we’ll get it right this time.”

company future plan

Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle

  • A significant increase in uranium mine production is planned.
  • There is increasing international involvement in parts of Russia's fuel cycle.
  • A major Russian political and economic objective is to increase exports, particularly for front-end fuel cycle services through Tenex, as well as nuclear power plants.

Russia uses about 5500 tonnes of natural uranium per year.

There is high-level concern about the development of new uranium deposits, and a Federal Council meeting in April 2015 agreed to continue the federal financing of exploration and estimation works in Vitimsky Uranium Region in Buryatia. It also agreed to financing construction of the engineering infrastructure of Mine No. 6 of Priargunsky Industrial Mining and Chemical Union (PIMCU). The following month the Council approved key support measures including the introduction of a zero rate for mining tax and property tax; simplification of the system of granting subsoil use rights; inclusion of the Economic Development of the Far East and Trans-Baikal up to 2018 policy in the Federal Target Program; and the development of infrastructure in Krasnokamensk.

In June 2015 Rosgeologia signed a number of agreements to expedite mineral exploration in Russia, including one with Rosatom. It was established in July 2011 by presidential decree and consists of 38 enterprises located in 30 regions across Russia, but uranium is a minor part of its interests.

Uranium resources and mining

Russia has substantial economic resources of uranium, with about 9% of world reasonably assured resources plus inferred resources up to $130/kg – 505,900 tonnes U (2014 Red Book ). Rosatom reported ARMZ resources as 517,000 tU in September 2015, mostly requiring underground mining. Historic uranium exploration expenditure is reported to have been about $4 billion. The Federal Natural Resources Management Agency (Rosnedra) reported that Russian uranium reserves grew by 15% in 2009, particularly through exploration in the Urals and Kalmykia Republic, north of the Caspian Sea.

Uranium production has varied from 2870 to 3560 tU/yr since 2004, and in recent years has been supplemented by that from Uranium One Kazakh operations, giving 7629 tU in 2012. In 2006 there were three mining projects in Russia, since then others have been under construction and more projected, as described below. Cost of production in remote areas such as Elkon is said to be US$ 60-90/kg. Spending on new ARMZ domestic projects in 2013 was RUR 253.5 million, though in November 2013 all Rosatom investment in mining expansion was put on hold due to low uranium prices.

Plans announced in 2006 for 28,600 t/yr U 3 O 8 output by 2020, 18,000t of this from Russia* and the balance from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Mongolia have since taken shape, though difficulties in starting new Siberian mines makes the 18,000 t target unlikely. Three uranium mining joint ventures were established in Kazakhstan with the intention of providing 6000 tU/yr for Russia from 2007: JV Karatau, JV Zarechnoye and JV Akbastau (see below and Kazakhstan paper).

* See details for April 2008 ARMZ plans. In 2007 TVEL applied for the Istochnoye, Kolichkanskoye, Dybrynskoye, Namarusskoye and Koretkondinskoye deposits with 30,000 tU in proved and probable reserves close to the Khiagda mine in Buryatia. From foreign projects: Zarechnoye 1000 t, Southern Zarechnoye 1000 t, Akbastau 3000 t (all in Kazakhstan); Aktau (Uzbekistan) 500 t, Novo-Konstantinovskoye (Ukraine) 2500 t. In addition Russia would like to participate in development of Erdes deposit in Mongolia (500t) as well as in Northern Kazakhstan deposits Semizbai (Akmolonsk Region) and Kosachinoye.

Long term uranium production plans of Russian producer ARMZ produced in the year 2007

*(this chart is now slightly out of date but still gives a general picture)

AtomRedMetZoloto (ARMZ) is the state-owned company which took over Tenex and TVEL uranium exploration and mining assets in 2007-08, as a subsidiary of Atomenergoprom (79.5% owned). It inherited 19 projects with a total uranium resource of about 400,000 tonnes, of which 340,000 tonnes are in Elkonskiy uranium region and 60,000 tonnes in Streltsovskiy and Vitimskiy regions. The rights to all these resources had been transferred from Rosnedra , the Federal Agency for Subsoil Use under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment .

JSC ARMZ Uranium Holding Company (as it is now known) became the mining division of Rosatom in 2008, responsible for all Russian uranium mine assets and also Russian shares in foreign joint ventures. In 2008, 78.6% of JSC Priargunsky, all of JSC Khiagda and 97.85% of JSC Dalur was transferred to ARMZ. In March 2009 the Federal Financial Markets Service of Russia registered RUR 16.4 billion of additional shares in ARMZ placed through a closed subscription to pay for uranium mining assets, on top of a RUR 4 billion issued in mid 2008 to pay for the acquisition of Priargunsky, Khiagda and Dalur. In November 2009 SC Rosatom paid a further RUR 33 billion for ARMZ shares, increasing its equity to 76.1%.

In 2009 and 2010 ARMZ took a 51% share in Canadian-based Uranium One Inc, paying for this with $610 million in cash and by exchange of assets in Kazakhstan: 50% of JVs Akbastau, Karatau and Zarechnoye, mining the Budenovskoye and Zarechnoye deposits. (An independent financial advisor put the value of ARMZ's stakes in the Akbastau and Zarechnoye JVs at $907.5 million.) Uranium One has substantial production capacity in Kazakhstan, including now those two mines with Karatau, Akdala, South Inkai and Kharasan, as well as small prospects in USA and Australia (sold in 2015). In 2013 ARMZ completed the purchase of outstanding shares in Uranium One Inc, and it became a full subsidiary of ARMZ. JSC Uranium One Group (U1 Group) is from December 2016 a 78.4% owned subsidiary of Atomenergoprom and apparently separate from ARMZ.

Following this, late in 2013 Rosatom established Uranium One Holding NV  (U1H) as its global growth platform for all international uranium mining assets belonging to Russia, with headquarters in Amsterdam. It lists assets in Kazakhstan, USA and Tanzania, as well as owning and managing Rosatom’s stake in Uranium One Inc. In 2013 it accounted for 5086 tU production at average cash cost of $16/lb U 3 O 8 , and reported 229,453 tU measured, indicated and inferred resources (attributable share). In 2014 it produced 4857 tU and listed resources of 177,000 tU. The company plans to extend its interests into rare earths. Its ‘strategic partner’ is JSC NAC Kazatomprom.

ARMZ remains responsible for uranium mining in Russia. At the end of 2013 it was 82.75% owned by Rosatom and 17.25% TVEL. Exploration expenditure has nearly doubled in two years to about US$ 52 million in 2008. In 2013 the government approved an exploration budget of RUR 14 billion ($450 million) through to 2020, principally in the Far East and Northern Siberia. Deposits suitable for ISL mining will be sought in the Transurals, Transbaikal and Kalmykyia. Other work will be in the Urals, Siberian, Far East Federal Districts (Zauralsky, Streltsovsky, Vitimsky and Vostochno-Zabaikalsky, and Elkonsky ore regions).

Rosgeologia, the Russian state-run geological exploration services company set up in 2011, has identified "promising" uranium deposits in the North-West Federal District of Russia following completion of a survey of the Kuol-Panayarvinskaya area on the border of the Murmansk region and the Republic of Karelia. It signed an agreement with Rosatom in 2015 to focus on uranium.

CJSC Rusburmash (RBM) is the exploration subsidiary of ARMZ. VNIPIPT is the subsidiary responsible for R&D and engineering of mining and processing plants.

In December 2010 ARMZ made a $1.16 billion takeover bid for Australia's Mantra Resources Ltd with a prospective Mkuju River project in southern Tanzania, which was expected in production about 2013 at 1400 tU/yr, but is now deferred. This is now under U1H.

Domestic mining

In 2009 the government accepted Rosatom’s proposal for ARMZ and Elkonsky Mining and Metallurgical Combine to set up the “open-type joint stock company” EGMK-Project. The state’s contribution through Rosatom to the EGMK-Project authorized capital will be RUR 2.657 billion, including RUR 2.391 billion in 2009 and RUR 0.266 billion in 2010. EGMK-Project is being set up to draw up the project and design documentation for Elkonsky Mining and Metallurgical Combine (see below).

The Russian Federation’s main uranium deposits are in four districts:

  • The Trans-Ural district in the Kurgan region between Chelyabinsk and Omsk, with the Dalur ISL mine.
  • Streltsovskiy district in the Transbaikal or Chita region of SE Siberia near the Chinese and Mongolian borders, served by Krasnokamensk and with major underground mines.
  • The Vitimsky district in Buryatia about 570 km northwest of Krasnokamensk, with the Khiagda ISL mine.
  • The more recently discovered remote Elkon district in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) some 1200 km north-northeast of the Chita region.

Present production by ARMZ is principally from the Streltsovskiy district, where major uranium deposits were discovered in 1967, leading to large-scale mining, originally with few environmental controls. These are volcanogenic caldera-related deposits. Krasnokamensk is the main town serving the mines.

In 2008 ARMZ said that it intended to triple production to 10,300 tU per year by 2015, with some help from Cameco, Mitsui and local investors. ARMZ planned to invest RUR 203 billion (US$ 6.1billion) in the development of uranium mining in Russia in 2008-2015. It aimed for 20,000 tU per year by 2024. Total cost was projected at RUR 67 billion ($2 billion), mostly at Priargunsky, with RUR 4.8 billion ($144 million) there by end of 2009 including a new $30 million, 500 tonne per day sulfuric acid plant commissioned in 2009, replacing a 1976 acid plant.

Russian uranium mining

Source: 2016 ‘Red Book’ except Olovskaya and Lunnoye.

Russian uranium production, tonnes U

Trans-Ural, Kurgan region

A modest level of production is from Dalur in the Trans-Ural Kurgan region. This is a low-cost ($40/kg) acid in situ leach (ISL) operation in sandstones. About 1350 km east of Moscow, Uksyanskoye is the town supporting the Dalur mine. ARMZ’s 2008 plan had production at Dalur by acid ISL increasing from 350 to 800 tU/yr by 2019 (expanding from the Dalmatovskoye field in the Zauralsk uranium district to Khokhlovskoye in the Shumikhinsky district, then Dobrovolnoye in the Zverinogolovsky district). In 2014 JSC Dalur completed further exploration of the Khokhlovskoye deposit and increased its resources from 4700 to 5500 tonnes. A mill upgrade was started in 2016. More than half of 2016 production was from the Ust-Uksyansky part of Dalmatovskoye field.

In 2016 geological exploration at the Dobrovolnoye deposit was advanced, and a permit for development was received in June 2017, allowing construction of the pilot plant, which commenced in 2020. Its reserves are quoted as 7067 tU. After pilot operation to 2021, commercial operation is expected to maintain Dalur production at 700 tU per year to about 2025 after Dalmatovskoye and Khokhlovskoye are exhausted, reaching full capacity in 2031.

Transbaikal Chita region, Streltsovskiy district

Here, several underground mines operated by JSC Priargunsky Industrial Mining and Chemical Union ( PIMCU  – 85% ARMZ) supply low-grade ore to a central mill near Krasnokamensk. PIMCU was established in 1968, and produces some other metals than uranium. Since 2008 it has been an ARMZ subsidiary. Historical production from Priargunsky is reported to be 140,000 tU (some from open cut mines) and 2011 known resources (RAR + IR) are quoted as 115,000 tU at 0.159%U. In 2013 ‘reserves’ were quoted by ARMZ at 108,700 tonnes. Production is up to about 3000 tU/yr, about one-tenth of it from heap leaching. In 2015 production was 1977 tU and costs were reduced by 11%, so that it hoped to break even in mid-2016.

The company has six underground mines, most of them operating: Mine #1, Mine #2, Glubokiy Mine, Shakhta 6R, Mine #8 with extraction from Maly Tulukui deposit, and Mine #6 (see below). ARMZ’s 2008 plan called for Priargunsky's production to be expanded from 3000 to 5000 tU/yr by 2020.

Mine #1 production rate was increased in 2016. It is on the opposite side of the Oktyabriski settlement from mine #2 and about 2 km from it.

Mine #2 was making a loss in 2013 due to market conditions, so it was closed in order to concentrate on bringing mine #8 to full production. Stoping operations resumed in February 2015, with production target 130 tU for the year, from average grade 0.15%. It is now known as section 2 of mine #8. Some production has been exported to France, Sweden and Spain.

Mine #8 began producing in 2011, towards phase 1 target capacity of 400 t/yr by the end of 2014. The total cost of development is expected to be RUR 4.8 billion (RUR 3.5 billion for phase 1). Production was increased 22% in 2016.

Mine #6  will access the Argunskoye and Zherlovoye deposits which comprise 35% of the Streltsovskoye reserves of 40,900 tU, with much higher grade (0.3%U) than the rest. Production cost from mine #6 is projected at $90/kgU. Future plans for Priargunsky are focused on development of mine #6, official construction of which commenced in 2018.

Development began in 2009 for stage 1 production from 2015 to reach full capacity in 2019, but this was put on hold in 2013. In March 2015 ARMZ said it hoped to find co-investors in the project, and federal funds might be forthcoming. Then in June 2015 Rosatom’s Investment Committee decided to finance the development. In August 2016 ARMZ said that RUR 27 billion was required to enable 2022 commissioning. In March 2018 a new financing arrangement was announced to the extent of RUR 18.5 billion, with Priargunsky to own 51% of the project and ARMZ 49% directly. Most of the project financing – RUR 16.1 billion – would be from China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), with the balance of RUR 2.5 billion from a new Russia-China Investment Fund for Regional Development (RCIF) “as a first step in widening cooperation” with China. According to the Russian Gazette (quoted by Platts Nuclear Fuel ), CNNC’s investment would give it a 49% stake in the joint venture, entitling it to that proportion of annual production. Construction recommenced in March 2018, aiming for first production in 2023, ramping up to full capacity of 1800 tU/yr by 2026. Rosatom reported that the Mine #6 development project is supervised by the government of Zabaikalsky Krai.

Mine #4. Mining the Tulukuy pit of Mine #4 ceased in 1991 due to low grades, but now low-cost block-type underground leaching is ready to be employed in the pit bottom to recover the remaining 6000 tU. Following this the pit will be filled with low-grade ore for heap leaching.

A re-evaluation of reserves in 2012 suggested that mineable resources apart from Mine #6 amounted to only 32,000 tU. Mine #8 resources were quoted at 12,800 tU in December 2012. In 2014 PIMCU, as part of the Kaldera project, identified four promising areas over 100 sq km in the Streltsovskoye ore field, with resources estimated at 80,000 tU, and they will be explored over 2015-17.

In 2014 PIMCU completed an upgrade of its sulfuric acid plant to take daily production from 400 to 500 tonnes, for use in both the conventional mill and in underground and heap leaching. Also the mill (hydrometallurgical plant) process was improved.

There is a legacy environmental problem at Priargunsky arising from 30 waste rock and low-grade ore dumps as well as tailings. Rehabilitation of waste rock dumps and open pits is proceeding and low-grade ores are being heap leached. Dams and intercepting wells below the tailings dams with hydrogeological monitoring and wastewater treatment is addressing water pollution. Final rehabilitation of the impacted areas will occur after final closure takes place. In 2016 ARMZ announced a new heap leaching initiative for very low-grade ores stockpiled on the surface, to produce 50 to 63 tU/yr.

In 2006 Priargunsky won a tender to develop Argunskoye and Zherlovoye deposits in the Chita region with about 40,000 tU reserves. Dolmatovsk and Khokhlovsk have also been identified as new mines to be developed (location uncertain).

Development of Olovskoye and Gornoye deposits* in the Transbaikal region near Priargunsky towards Khiagda would add 900 tU/yr production for RUR 135 billion ($5.7 billion). Measured resources together are 12,200 tU and inferred resources 1600 tU, all at 0.072% average (JORC-compliant). In 2007 newly-formed ARMZ set up two companies to undertake this, and possibly attract some foreign investment:

  • Gornoye Uranium Mining Company (UDK Gornoye) to develop the Gornoye and Berezovoye mines in the Krasnochikoysky and Uletovsky districts in Chita, with underground mining and some heap leach (ore grade 0.226%U) originally to produce 300 tU/yr from 2014, but now anticipating up to 1000 tU/yr from 2025.
  • Olovskaya Mining & Chemical Company to develop the Olovskoye deposits in the Chernyshevsk district of Chita region with underground, open cut and heap leach to produce 600 tU/yr from 2016.

The 2016 Red Book noted that UDK Gornoye was undertaking pilot mining project design for the Berezovoye deposit.

* 2006 plans were for 2000t/yr at new prospects in Chita Region and Buryatia (Gornoye, Berezovoye, Olovskoye, Talakanskoye properties etc.), plus some 3000t at new deposits.

Buryatia, Vitimsky district

JSC  Khiagda 's operations are at Vitimsky in Buryatia about 570 km northwest of Krasnokamensk, serving Priargunsky's operations in Chita region, and 140 km north of Chita city. They are starting from a low base – in 2010 production from the Khiagdinskoye ore field was 135 tU, rising to 440 tU in 2013 (fully utilising the pilot plant) and targeting 1000 tU/yr from 2018 with a new plant. These are a low-cost (US$ 70/kgU) acid in situ leach (ISL) operations in sandstones, and comprise the only ISL mine in the world in permafrost. Groundwater temperature is 1-4°C, giving viscosity problems, especially when winter air temperature is -40°C. The main uranium mineralisation is a phosphate, requiring oxidant addition to the acid solution. In the Khiagdinskoye field itself there are eight palaeochannel deposits over 15 x 8 km, at depths of 90 to 280 metres (average 170 m). Single orebodies are up to 4 km long and 15 to 400 m wide, 1 to 20 m thick.

JSC Khiagda has resources of 55,000 tU amenable to ISL mining, with resource potential estimated by Rosatom of 350,000 tU, giving a mine life of over 50 years. In 2015 ‘reserves’ were quoted by ARMZ at 39,300 tonnes U. The 2008 ARMZ plan envisaged production from JSC Khiagda's project increasing to 1800 tU/yr by 2019, but in 2013 the higher target was postponed. The 2018 plan is now 1000 tonnes. In 2014 JSC Khiagda continued construction of the main production facility and on the sulfuric acid plant, the first stage of which was commissioned in September 2015. Its final design capacity is 110,000 t/yr.

JSC Khiagda is currently mining uranium from the Khiagdin and Istochnoy deposits of the Khiagda ore field. Preparatory work for mining operations at the Vershinny deposit is under way. In May 2018, JSC Khiagda announced that engineering and geological surveys ahead of the construction of mining facilities was under way at Kolichikan and Dybryn deposits. The other two fields in the immediate vicinity are Namaru and Tetrakhskoye. All these deposits occur over an area about 50 x 20 km. There are also plans to install plant for extracting rare earth oxides (REO) as by-product. The nearest towns are Romanovka, 133 km north of Chita, and Bagdarin.

Sakha/Yakutia, Elkon district

ARMZ’s long-term hope is development of the massive Elkon project with several mines in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) some 1200 km north-northeast of the Chita region. The Elkon project is in a mountainous region with difficult climate conditions and little infrastructure, making it a challenging undertaking. Production from metasomatite deposits is planned to ramp up to 5000 tU/yr over ten years, for RUR 90.5 billion ($3 billion), and 2020 start up was envisaged, but this is now "after 2030". Elkon is set to become Russia's largest uranium mining complex, based on resources of over 270,000 tU (or 357,000 tU quoted by Rosatom in 2015). It will involve underground mining, radiometric sorting, milling, processing and uranium concentrate production of up to 5000 tU/yr.

Elkon Mining and Metallurgical Combine (EMMC) was set up by ARMZ to develop the substantial Elkonsky deposits. The Elkon MMC project involves the JSC Development Corporation of South Yakutia and aims to attract outside funding to develop infrastructure and mining in a public-private partnership, with ARMZ holding 51%. Foreign equity including from Japan, South Korea and India is envisaged, and in March a joint venture arrangement with India was announced. The Elkon MMC developments are to become “the locomotive of the economic development of the entire region”, building the infrastructure, electricity transmission lines, roads and railways, as well as industrial facilities, from 2010. Of 15 proposed construction sites, three have been tentatively selected: at the mouth of Anbar River, Diksi Village and Ust-Uga Village. The building of four small floating co-generation plants to supply heat and electricity to northern regions of Yakutia is linked with the Elkon project in southern Yakutia.

There are eight deposits in the Elkon project with resources of 320,000 tU* (RAR + IR) at average 0.146%U, with gold by-product: Elkon, Elkon Plateau, Kurung, Neprokhodimoye, Druzhnoye (southern deposits), as well as Yuzhnaya, Severnaya, Zona Interesnaya and Lunnoye (see below). In mid-2010 ARMZ released JORC-compliant resource figures for the five southern deposits: 71,300 tU as measured and indicated resources, and 158,500 tU as inferred resources, averaging 0.143%U. ARMZ pointed out that the resource assessment against international standards will increase the investment attractiveness of EMMC. However, in September 2011 ARMZ said that production costs would be US$ 120-130/kgU, which would be insufficient in the current market, and costs would need to be cut by 15-20%.

* 257,800 tU of this was in the five southern deposits. The 2011 Red Book gives 271,000 tU resources for Elkon, or 319,000 tU in situ.

First production from EMMC was expected in 2015 ramping up to 1000 tU/yr in 2018, 2000 tU/yr in 2020 and 5000 tU/yr by 2024 based on the southern deposits as well as Severnoye and Zona Interesnoye. This schedule has slipped by at least ten years. Also, it is remote, and mining will be underground, incurring significant development costs. ARMZ and EMMC are seeking local government (Sakha) support for construction of main roads and railways to access the Elkon area, and make investment there more attractive.

JSC Lunnoye was set up by ARMZ at the same time as EMMC to develop a small deposit jointly by ARMZ (50.1%) and a gold mining company Zoloto Seligdara as a pilot project to gain practical experience in the region in a polymetallic orebody. Lunnoye is expected in full production in 2016, reaching 100 tU/yr. It has reserves of 800 tU and 13 t gold, and is managed by Zoloto Seligdara. ARMZ in mid 2011 expressed impatience with the rate of development.

Further mine prospects

The Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency (Rosnedra) was transferring about 100,000 tonnes of uranium resources to miners, notably ARMZ, in 2009-10, and 14 projects, mainly small to medium deposits, were prepared for licensing then. They are located mainly in the Chita (Streltsovskiy district), Trans-Ural (Zauralskiy district) and Buryatia (Vitimskiy district) uranium regions.

The projects prepared for licensing include:

  • Chita Oblast – Zherlovskoye, Pyatiletnee, Dalnee and Durulguevskoye.
  • Republic of Buratiya – Talakanskoye, Vitlausskoye, Imskoye, Tetrakhskoye, and Dzhilindinskoye.
  • Kurgan Oblast – Dobrovolnoye (now licensed).
  • Khabarovsk Krai – Lastochka.
  • Republic of Tyva – Ust-Uyuk and Onkazhinskoye.
  • Republic of Khakassia – Primorskoye.

All together these projects have 76,600 tonnes of reasonably assured and inferred resources, plus 106,000 tonnes of less-certain 'undiscovered' resources.

Rosnedra published a list of deposits in the Republic of Karelia, Irkutsk Region and the Leningrad Region to be offered for tender in 2009. In particular, Tyumenskiy in Mamsko-Chuiskiy District of Irkutsk Region was to be offered for development, followed by Shotkusskaya ploshchad in Lodeinopolsky District of Leningrad Region. In Karelia Salminskaya ploshchad in Pitkyaranskiy District and the Karku deposit were offered. None of these 2009 offerings had reasonably assured or inferred resources quoted, only 'undiscovered' resources in Russia's P1 to P3 categories and it appears that none were taken up. In 2016 the Karelia Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology acknowledged only one uranium deposit “of no commercial interest” at Srednyaya Padma (Medvezhegorsk District) and announced that no mining was planned.

Foreign and private equity in uranium mining

In October 2006 Japan's Mitsui & Co with Tenex agreed to undertake a feasibility study for a uranium mine in eastern Russia to supply Japan. First production from the Yuzhnaya mine in Sakha Republic (Yakutia) is envisaged for 2009. Mitsui had an option to take 25% of the project, and was funding $6 million of the feasibility study. Construction of the Yuzhnaya mine was estimated to cost US$ 245 million, with production reaching 1000 tU/yr by 2015. This would represent the first foreign ownership of a Russian uranium mine. However, according to the 2016 Red Book , Yuzhnaya now appears to be part of the Elkon project (see above).

Following from previous deals with Tenex, in November 2007 Cameco signed an agreement with ARMZ. The two companies are to create joint ventures to explore for and mine uranium in both Russia and Canada, starting with identified deposits in northwestern Russia and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Nunavut.

In addition to ARMZ, private companies may also participate in tenders for mining the smaller and remote uranium deposits being prepared for licensing in Russia. ARMZ is open to relevant investment projects with strategic partners, and Lunnoye deposit is an example where a private company Zoloto Seligdara is partnering with ARMZ.

Mine rehabilitation

Some RUR 340 million (US$10m) is being allocated in the federal budget to rehabilitate the former Almaz mine in Lermontov, Stavropol Territory, in particular Mine 1 on Beshtau Mountain and Mine 2 on Byk Mountain, as well as reclamation of the tailings dump and industrial site of the hydrometallurgical plant. The work will be undertaken by Rosatom organizations under Rostechnadzor. In 2008, rehabilitation of Lermontovsky tailings was included in a federal target program, and over RUR 360 million was allocated for the purpose.

Secondary supplies

Some uranium also comes from reprocessing used fuel from VVER-440, fast neutron and submarine reactors - some 2500 tonnes of uranium has so far been recycled into RBMK reactors.

Also arising from reprocessing used fuels, some 32 tonnes of reactor-grade plutonium has been accumulated for use in MOX. Added to this there is now 34 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium from military stockpiles to be used in MOX fuel for BN-600 and BN-800 fast neutron reactors at Beloyarsk, supported by a $400 million payment from the USA. Some of this weapons plutonium may also be used in the MHR high-temperature gas-cooled reactor under development at Seversk, if this proceeds.

About 28% of the natural uranium feed sent to USEC in USA for enrichment, and contra to the LEU supplied from blended-down Russian military uranium, is being sent to Russia for domestic use. The value of this to mid 2009 was US$ 2.7 billion, according to Rosatom. See also Military Warheads as Source of Fuel paper.

Russia's uranium supply is expected to suffice for at least 80 years, or more if recycling is increased. However, from 2020 it is intended to make more use of fast neutron reactors.

Fuel Cycle Facilities: conversion & enrichment

Many of Russia's fuel cycle facilities were originally developed for military use and hence are located in former closed cities (names bracketed) in the country. In October 2015 the ministry of economic development moved to open four of these which host facilities managed by Rosatom: Novouralsk, Zelenogorsk, Seversk and Zarechny.

In 2009 the conversion and enrichment plants were taken over by the newly-established JSC Enrichment & Conversion Complex, and in 2010 this became part of TVEL , a subsidiary of Atomenergoprom.

Seversk in Western Siberia is a particular focus of new investment, with Rosatom planning to spend a total of RUR100 billion on JSC Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC, SGChE) over 2012-20 to develop its “scientific, technical and production potential in terms of nuclear technology.” SCC comprises several nuclear reactors and plants for conversion, enrichment, separation and reprocessing of uranium and separation of plutonium. In 2012 Rosatom announced that it was investing RUR 45.5 billion ($1.6 billion) in SCC at Seversk to 2017 for modernising the enrichment capacity and setting up a new conversion plant.

TVEL has decided to rationalize some of its activities at Novouralsk, setting up a scientific and production association (SPA) in 2016 to incorporate Urals Gas Centrifuges Plant (UZGT or UGCP), Novouralsk Scientific and Design Center (NSDC), Uralpribor, and Electrochemical Converters Plant (ECCP).

Russia’s total uranium conversion capacity is about 25,000 tU/yr, but only about half of this is used as of 2013.

TVEL plans to consolidate its conversion capacity at JSC Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) at Seversk near Tomsk, where some capacity already operates. In 2012 Rosatom said it would spend RUR 7.5 billion to set up a new conversion plant at SCC Seversk, to commence operation in 2016. The new plant is designed to have a capacity of 20,000 tU per year from 2020, including 2000 t of recycled uranium. Public hearings on the project were under way in 2014. The 2015 edition of the World Nuclear Association Nuclear Fuel Report gives capacity then as 12,500 tU.

The main operating conversion plant has been at Angarsk near Irkutsk in Siberia, with 18,700 tonnes U/yr capacity – part of TVEL's JSC Angarsk Electrolysis & Chemical Combine (AECC). In anticipation of the planned new plant at SCC Seversk however, the Angarsk conversion plant was shut down in April 2014.

TVEL also had conversion capacity at Kirovo-Chepetsky Chemical Combine (KCCC) in Glazoy, which was shut down in the 1990s. Since 2009 this has been a RosRAO site, for clean-up

The Elektrostal conversion plant, 50 km east of Moscow, has 700 tU/yr capacity for reprocessed uranium, initially that from VVER-440 fuel. It is owned by Maschinostroitelny Zavod (MSZ) whose Elemash fuel fabrication plant is there. Some conversion of Kazakh uranium has been undertaken for west European company Nukem, and all 960 tonnes of recycled uranium from Sellafield in UK, owned by German and Netherlands utilities, has been converted here. UK-owned recycled uranium has also been sent there.

Uranium enrichment

Four enrichment plants totalling 24 million kg SWU/yr of centrifuge capacity operate at Novo-Uralsk (formerly Sverdlovsk-44) near Yekaterinburg in the Urals, Zelenogorsk (formerly Krasnoyarsk-45), Seversk (formerly Tomsk-7) near Tomsk, and Angarsk near Irkutsk – the last three all in Siberia. The first two service foreign primary demand and Seversk specialises in enriching reprocessed uranium, including that from western Europe. As of early 2011, all are managed by TVEL, rather than Tenex (Techsnabexport).

The Novouralsk (Novo-Uralsk) plant is part of the JSC Urals Electrochemical Combine (UECC) in the Sverdlovsk region. It has operated 8th generation centrifuges since 2003, and 9 th generation units from 2013. The fourth cascade of 9 th generation centrifuges was commissioned in August 2016. TVEL is spending RUR 42 billion on re-equipping the plant with 9 th generation units by 2019. In 2016 it was operating 6 th to 9 th generation centrifuges. The plant can enrich to 30% U-235  (for research and BN fast reactors), the others only to 5% U-235.

The TVEL-Kazakh JV Uranium Enrichment Centre (UEC) bought a 25% share of UECC and became entitled to half its output – up to 5 million SWU/yr (see below). In April 2013 the government commission for control over foreign investments approved this sale.

UECC once claimed 48% of Russian enrichment capacity and 20% of the world’s. Rosatom in 2015 applied to the government to create a territory of priority development (TPD) in Novouralsk, a special economic zone enjoying low taxes, simplified administrative procedures and other benefits.

The Zelenogorsk plant is known as the PA Electrochemical Plant (ECP) in the Krasnoyarsk region (120 km east of that city), and has ISO 14001 environmental accreditation and ISO 9001 quality assurance system. It is starting to run 9 th generation centrifuges and in 2021 commissioned its third cascade of these. In 2011 Rosatom said the plant's capacity was 8.7 million SWU/yr and it planned to increase that to 12 million SWU/yr by 2020, with a view to exporting its services. Rosatom was investing RUR 70 billion ($2.3 billion) by 2020 in developing the plant, with up to 90% of the new centrifuges installed there to make it the main enrichment plant. It is the site of a new deconversion plant (see below).

The Seversk plant is part of the JSC Siberian Chemical Combine (Sibirsky Khimichesky Kombinat – SKhK or SCC), Tomsk region, which opened in 1953. It is about 15 km from Tomsk. As well as the enrichment plant with substantial capacity for recycled uranium the site has other facilities, and several plutonium production reactors (now closed). It is starting to run 9th generations centrifuges.

Angarsk , near Irkutsk in Siberia, is part of the JSC Angarsk Electrolysis & Chemical Combine (AECC). It is the only enrichment plant located outside a 'closed' city, nor has it had any defence role, and hence it became the site of the new International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) and fuel bank. In 2014 AECC said it would retain its present capacity. In December 2014 it started to undertake enrichment of tails (depleted UF 6 ) stored onsite up to natural UF 6 levels, and expects this to continue to 2030 as a major activity.

Technology: Diffusion technology was phased out by 1992 and all plants now operate modern gas centrifuges, with fitting of 8th generation equipment now complete. New units have a service life of up to 30 years, compared with half that previously. The last 6th & 7th generation centrifuges were set up in 2005, 8th generation equipment was supplied over 2004 to 2012, and about 240,000 units per year replaced 5th generation models. (6th generation units are still produced for export to China.) Two new 9 th generation cascades were commissioned in 2015 and 10 th generation units were being tested in 2016.

While TVEL had taken over responsibility for manufacture, in 2016 Rosatom decided to combine the design and production of centrifuges at the Urals Gas Centrifuge Plant (UZGT or UGCP) in Novouralsk, as part of the scientific and production association (SPA) set up by TVEL. OKB-Nizhniy Novgorod and Cetrotech-SPb had been involved in design and manufacture. The first 9 th generation centrifuges were supplied to UECC early in 2013 from UZGT.

Tails re-enrichment: A significant proportion of the capacity of Novouralsk and Zelenogorsk plants – some 7 M SWU/yr – was earlier taken up by enrichment of tails (depleted uranium), including for west European companies Areva and Urenco. According to WNA sources, about 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes of tails per year, with U-235 assays between 0.25% and 0.40%, has been shipped to Russia for re-enrichment to about 0.7% U-235 since 1997. The tails were stripped down to about 0.10% U-235, and remain in Russia, being considered a resource for future fast reactors. The contracts for this work for Urenco and Areva ended in 2010.

A portion of the Zelenogorsk capacity, about 4.75 M SWU/yr, was taken up with re-enrichment of tails to provide 1.5% enriched material for downblending much of the Russian HEU destined for USA. It was also the site for downblending much of the of ex-weapons uranium for sale to the USA (though all the other three plants may have contributed over the 20 years).

Seversk capacity is about 3 M SWU/yr, and some recycled uranium (from reprocessing) has been enriched here for Areva, under a 1991 ten-year contract covering about 500 tonnes UF 6 . (French media reports in 2009 alleging that waste from French nuclear power plants was stored at Seversk probably refer to tails from enrichment of the recycled uranium.) It is understood to be enriching the 960 tU of reprocessed uranium from Sellafield in UK, belonging to its customers in Germany and Netherlands, sent to Elektrostal in eight shipments over 2001-09.

In 2012 Rosatom announced that it was investing RUR 45.5 billion ($1.6 billion) in SCC at Seversk to 2017 for modernising the enrichment capacity and setting up a new conversion plant.

Angarsk (AECC) is the smallest of three Siberian plants, with capacity of about 2.6 million SWU/yr. In July 2011 TVEL confirmed that there were no plans to expand it. A significant focus is tails enrichment. The International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) has been set up at Angarsk (see following IUEC section).

TVEL-Kazakh JV Uranium Enrichment Centre (UEC)

In the context of a December 2006 agreement with Kazakhstan, in 2008 Kazatomprom set up a 50-50 joint venture with Techsnabexport (Tenex) for financing a 5 million SWU/yr increment to the Angarsk plant, with each party to contribute about US$ 1.6 billion and hold 50% equity. It then appeared that initial JV capacity would be about 3 million SWU/yr, with first production in 2011. However, in 2010 Rosatom announced that this would not proceed, due to surplus world capacity, but other joint venture enrichment arrangements with Kazatomprom were offered, notably up to a 49% share in Novouralsk or Zelenogorsk.

After deciding that it would be uneconomic to expand capacity at Angarsk, in March 2011 it was announced that Kazatomprom would buy a share in Urals Electrochemical Combine (UECC) which owns the Novouralsk plant through its 50% equity in the TVEL-Kazakh JV Uranium Enrichment Centre (UEC), "instead of building new capacity at AECC" at Angarsk where UEC was originally established. In mid-2011 it was reported that Kazatomprom would acquire shares in UECC either directly (30%) or in the event as a 50% shareholder in UEC with TVEL, related to the need to enrich 6000 tU/yr. Over 2012-13 UEC acquired 25% of UECC, and UEC became operational in the second half of 2013, with access to 5 million SWU/yr – about half of UECC production. The cost of the Kazatomprom share, earlier estimated by it at $500 million, was not disclosed. The first batch of enriched uranium was shipped in November 2013. UEC share of production in 2014 was 4.99 million SWU.

Deconversion

Russia's W-ECP or W-EKhZ deconversion plant is at Zelenogorsk Electrochemical Plant (ECP). The 10,000 t/yr deconversion (defluorination) plant was built by Tenex under a technology transfer agreement with Areva NC (now Orano), so that depleted uranium can be stored long-term as uranium oxide, and hydrogen fluoride is produced as a by-product. The W1-ECP plant is similar to Areva's W2 plant at Pierrelatte in France and has mainly west European equipment. It was commissioned in December 2009 and to January 2021 had processed 100,000 t depleted uranium hexafluoride. The Russian-designed phase 2 for production of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride was commissioned in December 2010. During the ten years to end of 2020, some 11,000 t of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride as well as much more hydrofluoric acid were shipped to customers. TVEL is building a second unit, W2-ECP, with equipment from Orano Projects in France. This will expand ECP’s capacity to 20,000 t/yr depleted uranium hexafluoride from 2023 and producing up to 2400 t/yr of anhydrous hydrogen fluoride. 

Fuel fabrication

Fuel fabrication is undertaken by JSC TVEL, which supplies 76 nuclear reactors in Russia and 13 in other countries as well as 30 research reactors and fuel for naval and icebreaker reactors. Its operations are certified against ISO 9001 and it has about 17% of the world market for fabricated fuel. Russian fuel technology is supported by TVEL’s A.A. Bochvar High Technology Research Institute of Inorganic Materials ( VNIINM ).

Fuel cycles

Russia aims to maximise recycling of fissile materials from used fuel. Hence reprocessing used fuel is a basic practice, with reprocessed uranium being recycled and plutonium used in MOX, at present only for fast reactors. However, innovative developments of MOX use open up wider possibilities, and both the REMIX cycle and the Dual Component Power System are described below.

Uranium fuel fabrication

TVEL has two fuel fabrication plants with combined capacity of 2800 t/yr finished fuel:

  • The huge Maschinostroitelny Zavod (MSZ) at Elektrostal 50 km east of Moscow – known as Elemash.
  • Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NCCP) in Siberia.

TVEL's Chepetsk Mechanical Plant (CMP or ChMZ) near Glazov in Udmurtiya makes zirconium cladding and also some uranium products.

Most fuel pellets for RBMK and VVER-1000 reactors were being made at the Ulba plant at Ust Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan, but Elemash and Novosibirsk have increased production. MSZ/Elemash produces fuel assemblies for both Russian and west European reactors using fresh and recycled uranium. It also fabricates research reactor and icebreaker fuel and in 2016 is producing the first fuel for the RITM-200 reactors in new icebreakers. VNIINM claims the fuel has greater energy density than previous icebreaker fuel.

Novosibirsk produces mainly VVER-440 & 1000 fuel, including that for initial use in China.

MSZ/Elemash is the principal exporter of fuel assemblies. Total production is about 1400 t/yr, including fuel assemblies for VVER-440, VVER-1000, RBMK-1000, BN-600 reactors, powders and fuel pellets for delivery to foreign clients. It has a contract to supply high-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel over seven years for China's first CFR600 fast reactor. The plant also produces nuclear fuel for research reactors.

TVEL is developing a uranium-erbium fuel for VVERs enriched to 5-7% for load-following and longer fuel cycles. Some RBMK fuel is already enriched over 5%.

Early in 2021 MSZ set up a new production line for fast reactor fuel, including HEU. Russia’s BN-600 reactor uses uranium fuel with three levels of enrichment: 17%, 21% and 26%. Fuel for China’s CFR600 is likely to be similar. On another production line MSZ has already provided fuel for China’s CEFR, including a 2020 reload, reported to be 64% enriched.

TVEL’s NCCP also produces pure lithium-7, and accounts for over 70% of the world supply of Li-7, both 99.95% for use in PWR cooling systems, and also now 99.99% pure. A plant upgrade in 2013 makes it possible to double the volume of Li-7 output there.

TVEL has done extensive work done on utilization of reprocessed uranium (RepU) in VVER-type reactors, and there are plans for all units of the Kola nuclear station to shift to RepU fuel. Some PWR reactors, e.g. Kalinin 2 and Balakovo 3, are using recycled uranium in TVSA fuel assemblies already.

There is no plan or provision to use MOX in light-water reactors.

TVEL owns 35% equity in the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Kazakhstan. This has major new investment under way. It has secured both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 accreditation. Since 1973 Ulba has produced nuclear fuel pellets from Russian-enriched uranium which are used in Russian and Ukrainian VVER and RBMK reactors. Some of this product incorporates gadolinium and erbium burnable poisons. Ulba briefly produced fuel for submarines (from 1968) and satellite reactors. Since 1985 it has been able to handle reprocessed uranium, and it has been making fuel pellets incorporating this for western reactors, supplied through TVEL.

TVEL's Moscow Composite Metal Plant designs and makes control and protection systems for nuclear power reactors.

REMIX fuel cycle

REMIX (Regenerated Mixture) fuel has been developed by the  V.G. Khlopin Radium Institute  for Tenex as a development of MOX to supply light water reactors. Remix fuel is produced directly from a non-separated mix of recycled uranium and plutonium from reprocessing used fuel, with a low-enriched uraniium (up to 17% U-235) make-up comprising about 20% of the mix. This gives fuel with about 1% Pu-239 and 4% U-235 which can sustain burn-up of 50 GWd/t over four years and has similar characteristics to normal LWR fuel. It is distinct from MOX in having low and incidental levels of plutonium – none is added. The spent Remix fuel after four years is about 2% Pu-239* and 1% U-235, and following about five years of cooling and then reprocessing the non-separated uranium and plutonium is recycled again after LEU addition. The waste (fission products and minor actinides) is vitrified, as today from reprocessing, and stored for geological disposal. Before vitrification it may be processed to recover valuable fission products such as isotopes Cs, Sr and Tc.

* a 68% increase, compared with 104% in MOX fuel cycle, according to Tenex.

Remix fuel can be repeatedly recycled with 100% core load in current VVER-1000 reactors and correspondingly reprocessed many times – up to five times, so that with fewer than three fuel loads in circulation a reactor could run for 60 years using the same fuel, with LEU recharge. As with normal MOX, the use of Remix fuel reduces consumption of natural uranium in VVERs by about 20% at each recycle as compared with open fuel cycle. Remix can serve as a replacement for existing reactor fuel, but in contrast to MOX there is a higher cost for fuel fabrication due to the high activity levels from U-232. Compared with UO 2  fuel, the cost increment is 25-30%. The Remix cycle can be modified from the above figures according to need. The increasing concentrations of even isotopes of both elements is compensated by the fresh uranium top-up, possibly at increasing enrichment levels.

A 2019 study showed that the use of regenerated uranium in Remix fuel for VVER reactors, and therefore the U-236 isotope, also significantly increases the proportion of Pu-238 in the fuel, which prevents its diversion for non-peaceful purposes.

Remix allows all the recovered uranium and plutonium to be recycled and will give a saving in used fuel storage and disposal costs compared with the once-through fuel cycle, matched by the reprocessing cost, though this is expected to reduce. Compared with the MOX cycle, it has the virtue of not giving rise to any accumulation of reprocessed uranium (RepU) or allow any separated plutonium.

Rosatom loaded three TVS-2M fuel assemblies each with six REMIX fuel rods into Balakovo 3 in June 2016. They remained for two fuel cycles, and a third 18-month cycle began in early 2020. These all showed good results, and Rosatom is now proceeding to pilot operation of several full-REMIX fuel assemblies. No changes in reactor design or safety measures are required. Remix fuel is also being tested in the MIR research reactor at RIAR in Dimitrovgrad.

Tenex suggests Remix being used with a form of fuel leasing from a supplier to a utility, with repeated recycle between them. Commercial application is planned for the mid-2020s. 

In August 2020 Rosatom announced that Remix fuel for VVER-1000 reactors would be produced on a new production line at the Siberian Chemical Plant (SCC) at Seversk from 2023. In June 2021 TVEL commissioned equipment for the pilot fuel production line, enabling initial production of fuel assemblies by year end, using fuel pellets made at the MCC Zheleznogorsk plant. Eventually a commercial-scale Remix fuel fabrication plant is envisaged.

MOX fuel fabrication (only for fast reactors)

In late 2007 it was decided that MOX fuel production using recycled materials should be based on electrometallurgical (pyrochemical) reprocessing and vibropack dry processes for fuel fabrication, as developed at RIAR. The goals for closing the fuel cycle included minimising cost, recycle of minor actinides (for burning), excluding separated plutonium, and arrangement of all procedures in remote systems to allow for 'hot' materials. However, plans for vibropack fuels are not being pursued with any vigour.

MCC Zheleznogorsk MOX plant: A 60 t/yr commercial mixed oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication facility (MFFF) commenced operation at Zheleznogorsk (formerly Krasnoyarsk-26, 70 km northeast of Krasnoyarsk) in 2015, operated by the Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC or GKhK). This was built at a cost of some RUR 9.6 billion as part of Rosatom’s Proryv, or 'Breakthrough', project, to develop fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle whose MOX fuel will be reprocessed and recycled. It represents the first industrial-scale use of plutonium in the Russian civil fuel cycle, and is also the Russian counterpart to the US MFFF for disposition of 34 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium.* About half the plant’s equipment was imported.

* The head of Rosatom reported to the president in September 2015: “Industrial operation has begun at a new MOX fuel (uranium-plutonium fuel) production plant, the first such plant in history. Our American partners have still not managed to finish the plant they were building. They have already spent $7.7 billion on it and, as Congress informs, they are now going to suspend the project because no one knows how much more money it will cost. We built our plant in 2.5 years at a cost of a little over $200 million, or 9.6 billion rubles. The plant is working and is now reaching industrial capacity.”

MCC’s MFFF will make 400 pelletised MOX fuel assemblies per year for the BN-800 and future BN-1200 fast reactors. The MOX can have up to 30% plutonium. The capacity is designed to be able to supply five BN-800 units or equivalent BN-1200 capacity. First production of 20 fuel assemblies for Beloyarsk 4 was in 2015, working up to full capacity in 2017. The BN-800 each year requires 1.84 tonnes of reactor-grade plutonium recovered from 190 tonnes of used VVER fuel. The first serial batch of MOX for BN-800 passed acceptance tests in December 2018. (Plutonium from used BN fuel will be used in VVER-1000 reactors.) The MFFF is built in rock tunnels at a depth of about 200 metres.

Longer-term MCC Zheleznogorsk was intending to produce MOX granules for vibropacked fuel using civil plutonium oxide, ex-weapons plutonium metal and depleted uranium. Initial capacity of 14 t/yr of granules was funded to RUR 5.1 billion (US$ 169 million then) over 2010-12. The granulated MOX is sent to RIAR Dimitrovgrad for vibropacking into FNR fuel assemblies.

In June 2011 Rosatom announced that it was investing RUR 35 billion in MCC to 2030, including particularly MOX fuel fabrication. In February 2012 the figure was put at RUR 80 billion minimum.

Mayak MOX plant: A small pelletised MOX fuel fabrication plant has operated at the Mayak plant at Ozersk since 1993, for BN-350 and BN-600 fuel (40 fuel assemblies per year), and it supplied some initial pelletised MOX fuel for BN-800 start-up, the assemblies being made by RIAR Dimitrovgrad.

Seversk MOX plant: Another MOX plant for disposing of military plutonium is planned at Seversk (Tomsk-7) in Siberia, to the same design as its US equivalent. This is for dense MOX fuel for fast reactors, and was planned for completion by the end of 2017, with RUR 5.8 billion allocated by TVEL for the equipment. (Seversk had the other two dual-purpose but basically military plutonium production reactors, totalling 2500 MWt. One of these – ADE4 – was shut down in April 2008, the other – ADE5 – in June 2008.)

RIAR Dimitrovgrad MOX plant: The Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR or NIIAR) at Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk, has a small MOX fuel fabrication plant. This produces vibropacked fuel which was said to be more readily recycled. Under the federal target programme this was allocated RUR 2.95 billion (US$ 83 million) for expansion from 2012. Its main research has been on the use of military plutonium in MOX, in collaboration with France, USA and Japan. From 2014 the plant produced 106 fuel assemblies for Beloyarsk 4 BN-800, before MCC's MFFF took over this role.

Vibropacked MOX fuel (VMOX) was earlier seen as the way forward. This is made by agitating a mechanical mixture of (U,Pu)O 2 granulate and uranium powder, which binds up excess oxygen and some other gases (that is, operates as a getter) and is added to the fuel mixture in proportion during agitation. The getter resolves problems arising from fuel-cladding chemical interactions. The granules are crushed (U,Pu)O 2 cathode deposits from pyroprocessing. VMOX needs to be made in hot cells. It has been used in BOR-60 since 1981 (with 20-28% Pu), and tested in BN-350 and BN-600 as part of a hybrid core (with some military plutonium). This was evaluated by OKBM and Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute. However, its future is uncertain, and MOX fuel may revert to being conventional sintered pellets.

Dual-component power system MOX

Rosatom has proposed a fuel cycle involving both thermal and fast reactors, using two kinds of MOX fuel, and envisages implementing this system when the first BN-1200 reactors are online about 2027. In 2020 the first MOX using plutonium from conventional power reactors was loaded into Beloyarsk's BN-800 reactor and later in the year another 180 such fuel assemblies will be added. By the end of 2021, the reactor will fully switch to MOX fuel.

Russia REMIX concept for closing the nuclear fuel cycle showing a balanced arrangement for a dual-component nuclear power system

In this fuel cycle, normal thermal reactors are the primary plutonium source, but this plutonium is reactor-grade, with about one-third even-mass number non-fissile isotopes. The plutonium is mixed with deflourinated tails from uranium enrichment ( i.e. depleted uranium). Whether derived from used uranium fuel or MOX fuel, it is separated and made into MOX fuel for fast breeder reactors with not less than 1.2 breeding ratio, and the used fuel from these has a much lower proportion of even-number non-fissile plutonium isotopes.

In future this ‘clean’ or high-fissile plutonium recovered from fast reactor fuel can then made into MOX fuel for the original thermal reactors, and comprise about 30% of their fuel. The other 70% could be enriched reprocessed uranium (RepU), the depleted tails of which are also used for MOX, instead of using normal depleted uranium. Their used fuel is reprocessed to continue the dual cycle. Minor actinides are burned in the fast reactors.

One fast reactor running on 'dirty' MOX would therefore be in balance with two VVER reactors fuelled with 'clean' MOX (30% of load) and RepU oxide enriched to about 17% U-235 (70% of load) via segregated reprocessing facilities and segregated fuel fabrication.

Further details are in the information paper on Mixed Oxide Fuel .

Nitride fuel fabrication for fast reactors

Overall, RUR 17 billion is budgeted for nitride fuel development, which is mainly for the BREST-300 reactor, part of Rosatom’s Proryv or 'Breakthrough' project . Both SCC plants will be part of the Pilot Demonstration Power/Energy Complex (PDPC or PDEC) with the BREST reactor, integral to the Proryv project and approved by government decree in August 2016. The Proryv project at SCC is expected to be fully operational from 2023.

To avoid problems in reactor operation and spent fuel, nitrogen-15 is the preferred isotope. VNIINM has patented a technique for enrichment in N-15, annual demand for which is expected to be several tonnes.

SCC nitride fuel plant KEU-1: In collaboration with TVEL, the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) at Seversk is making test batches of dense mixed nitride uranium-plutonium (MNUP) fuel for fast reactors, essentially prototype fuel for BREST. Construction of SCC’s pilot nitride fuel plant started in March 2014 with a view to commissioning in 2017-18, in time to produce fuel for the first BREST-300 reactor, which is now expected in operation about 2024. In April 2016 Atomenergomash supplied to SCC a plant for preparation of input materials for automated fabrication of MNUP fuel for fast neutron reactors. 

SCC completed acceptance tests on the first ETVS nitride fuel assembly in September 2014, and it had further ones (ETVS-10 & 11) ready a year later, using parts supplied by VNIINM. In April 2015 the first ETVS nitride fuel assemblies were put into the BN-600 reactor at Beloyarsk for testing over three years, and by August 2015 there were nine ETVS there. In November 2015 the post-irradiation inspection of ETVS-1 after six-month storage to cool showed it to be in good shape. In April 2016 two more dense nitride fuel assemblies (ETVS-12 & 13) were delivered to Beloyarsk for irradiation in the BN-600 reactor. They were designed by VNIINM and made by SCC as prototypes for BREST-300 and BN-1200 reactors. In mid-2016 VNIINM produced two more pilot fuel assemblies, ETVS-14 & 15, with mixed nitride fuel for testing in the BN-600 reactor at Beloyarsk.  MSZ completed acceptance tests on these in August. In December 2016 SCC announced successful post-irradiation tests on ETVS fuel assemblies, confirming their suitability for BREST. ETVS-16 to 21 were scheduled for 2017. The next series of ETVS will be of a different design. By November 2020, more than 1000 MNUP fuel rods had been produced and more than 21 fuel assemblies had been irradiated in BN-600, the latest ones each with 61 fuel rods.

SCC nitride fuel plant KEU-2: SCC started construction of a second integrated experimental facility (KEU-2) in 2016, to fabricate fuel for testing in the BN-800 reactor at Beloyarsk. A U-Pu-Np nitride fuel fabrication and recycling facility is part of the Pilot Demonstration Power Complex (PDPC; Russian acronym: ODEK) at SCC. Rosatom began installing equipment here for MNUP fuel fabrication and refabrication for the BREST-300 in 2017. The main fabrication line was expected in operation in 2020, with daily production capacity of up to 60 kg of fuel, or 120 nuclear fuel assemblies, and a total of 14.7 tonnes of fuel per year.

In October 2014 SCC announced a tender for a reprocessing plant to be completed by 2018, with VNIPIET as SCC’s preferred bidder. It included a module for processing used nuclear fuel, to examine technologies VNIINM and the VG Khlopin Radium Institute have developed. VNIINM said its experiments in 2016 had confirmed for the first time that the technology used for the reprocessing of used mixed nitride fuel enables the re-use of more than 99.9% of the actinides. The actual RUR 20 billion plant is to have a capacity of 5 t/yr used fuel from the BREST-300 and 0.5 t/yr of “rejects from electrolysis process and americium-containing burning elements.” It will  commence operation about 2024, after the BREST-300 is in service. This will be part of the Pilot Demonstration Power/Energy Complex (PDPC or PDEC) with the BREST reactor.

SCC started testing three different refining technologies for the plant in 2016. The best option will be selected and used in the used fuel recycling module within PDPC. The project manager said that the refining installation “can be used as a sector-wide test-bench to deal with uranium, plutonium, and neptunium.”

Mayak nitride fuel plant: A new 14 tonne per year plant to fabricate dense mixed nitride fuel for fast neutron reactors is planned at PA Mayak, to operate from 2018. In the federal target programme to 2020, RUR 9.35 billion ($310 million) was budgeted for it. Later it may be expanded to 40 tonnes per year.

International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC)

The IUEC concept was inaugurated at the end of 2006 in collaboration with Kazakhstan, and in March 2007 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed to set up a working group and continue developing the proposal. In September 2007 the joint stock company Angarsk International Uranium Enrichment Centre (JSC Angarsk IUEC) was registered and a year later Rostechnadzor licensed the centre.

Late in 2008 Ukraine's Nuclear Fuel Holding Company, SC Nuclear Fuel, decided to take a 10% stake in it, matching Kazatomprom's 10%, and this was effected in October 2010. Armenia finalised its 10% share in IUEC in May 2012 (2600 shares for RUR 2.6 million). Negotiations since then have proceeded with South Africa, Vietnam, Bulgaria, UAE, Jordan, South Korea and Mongolia (in connection with Russian uranium interests there). Russia also invited India to participate in order to secure fuel for its Kudankulam plant. The aim is for Techsnabexport/TVEL eventually to hold only 51%. Each of the 26,000 IUEC shares is priced at RUR 1000.

Present equity in JSC Angarsk IUEC: TVEL 70%, Kazatomprom 10%, Ukraine State Concern Nuclear Fuel 10%, Armenia NPP 10%.

The centre is to provide assured supplies of low-enriched uranium for power reactors to new nuclear power states and those with small nuclear programmes, giving them equity in the project, but without allowing them access to the enrichment technology. Russia will maintain majority ownership. IUEC will sell both enrichment services (SWU) and enriched uranium product. Arrangements for IAEA involvement were being sorted out in 2009, and in 2010 a feasibility study commenced on IUEC investment, initially for equity in JSC Angarsk Electrolysis & Chemical Combine (AECC) so that part of its capacity supplies product to IUEC shareholders.

The existing enrichment plant at Angarsk was to feed the IUEC and accordingly was removed from the category of "national strategic installations", though it had never been part of the military programme. In February 2007 the IUEC was entered into the list of Russian nuclear facilities eligible for implementation of IAEA safeguards. The USA has expressed support for the IUEC at Angarsk. Since 2010 the facility has been under IAEA safeguards.

Development of the IUEC was envisaged in three phases:

  • Use part of the existing capacity at Angarsk in cooperation with Kazatomprom and under IAEA supervision.
  • Expand Angarsk capacity (perhaps double) with funding from new partners by 2017.
  • Full internationalisation with involvement of many customer nations under IAEA auspices.

In 2012-13 the IUEC website said: “The JSC IUEC has been established within the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Complex , but it can use capacities of other three Russian combines to diversify production and optimize logistics.”

In 2016 a major customer was Ukraine’s State Concern Nuclear Fuel, which since 2012 has bought 60,000 SWU per year, proportional to its shareholding.

IUEC guaranteed LEU reserve ('fuel bank')

In November 2009 the IAEA board approved a Russian proposal to create an international guaranteed LEU reserve or 'fuel bank' of low-enriched uranium under IAEA control at the IUEC at Angarsk. This was established a year later and comprises 123 tonnes of low-enriched uranium as UF 6 , enriched 2.0-4.95% U-235 (with 40t of latter), available to any IAEA member state in good standing which is unable to procure fuel for political reasons. It is fully funded by Russia, held under safeguards, and the fuel will be made available to the IAEA at market rates, using a formula based on spot prices. Following an IAEA decision to allocate some of it, Rosatom will transport material to St Petersburg and transfer title to the IAEA, which will then transfer ownership to the recipient. The 120 tonnes of low-enriched uranium as UF 6 is equivalent to two full fuel loads for a typical 1000 MWe reactor, and in 2010 was worth some $250 million.

This initiative complements the   IAEA LEU Bank set up in Kazakhstan by making more material available to the IAEA for assurance of fuel supply to countries without their own fuel cycle facilities. The IAEA LEU Bank is located at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP) in Kazakhstan, which has 50 years of experience in handling UF 6 . A formal agreement with Kazakhstan to establish the legal framework was signed in August 2015, and the partnership agreement between the IAEA and UMP was signed in May 2016. Construction of the building with 600 m 2 storage area started in September 2016, and the facility was formally opened at the end of August 2017. It became operational in 2019, and it awarded contracts to Orano and Kazatomprom to supply it.

Used fuel and reprocessing

Russian policy is to close the fuel cycle as far as possible and utilise recycled uranium, and also to use plutonium in MOX fuel. However, its achievements in doing this have been limited – in 2011 only about 16% of used fuel was reprocessed, this being from VVER–440s, BN-600, research reactors and naval reactors. The reprocessed uranium (RepU) is mainly used for RBMK fuel. By 2030 Rosatom hopes to fully close the fuel cycle. Commercial reprocessing started in 1977, and several projects at two sites have been under way to progress this intention:

  • At Mayak Production Association in Ozersk, the RT-1 spent fuel reprocessing facility was first updated and returned to service in 2016, and will then be shut down in about 2030.
  • At Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) in Zheleznogorsk, the MOX fuel fabrication plant for fast reactors was commissioned in 2015 (see above).
  • At MCC the Pilot Demonstration Centre (PDC) for used nuclear fuel reprocessing was commissioned in 2015.
  • At MCC the full-scale RT-2 facility would be completed by 2025 to reprocess VVER, RBMK and BN used fuel into mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel or into REMIX – the regenerated mixture of uranium and plutonium oxides.
  • At MCC Zheleznogorsk the spent fuel pool storage would be supplemented by dry storage, commissioned in 2012, and MCC will become the destination for all of Russia’s used fuel.

In 2013 used fuel arisings in Russia were:

All used fuel is stored at reactor sites for at least three years to allow decay of heat and radioactivity. High burn-up fuel requires longer before it is ready to transport. At present the used fuel from RBMK reactors and from VVER-1000 reactors is stored (mostly at reactor sites) and not reprocessed. It is expected that used fuel in storage will build up to about 40,000 tonnes by the time substantial reprocessing at MCC Zheleznogorsk gets under way about 2022. The materials from this will be burned largely in fast reactors by 2050, when none should remain.

In late 2007 it was decided that MOX fuel production using recycled materials from both light water and fast reactors should be based on electrometallurgical (pyrochemical) reprocessing. The goals for closing the fuel cycle are minimising cost, minimising waste volume, recycle of minor actinides (for burning), excluding separated plutonium, and arrangement of all procedures in remote-handled systems. This reprocessing route remains to be developed.

In August 2016 a new program for management of used fuel to 2020 was announced. It provides for transport of used fuel to Mayak at Ozersk for reprocessing, or to a central storage facility at MCC Zheleznogorsk where the reprocessing plant is due to be commissioned.

RT-1 reprocessing plant, Mayak

Used fuel from VVER-440 reactors Kola 1-4 and Rovno 1-2 in Ukraine), the BN-600 (Beloyarsk) and from naval reactors is sent to the Mayak Chemical Combine's 400 t/yr RT-1 plant (Chelyabinsk-65) at Ozersk, near Kyshtym 70 km northwest of Chelyabinsk in the Urals for reprocessing.* An upgrade of the RT-1 plant to enable it to take VVER-1000 fuel was completed in 2016, and reprocessing of fuel from Rostov began late in the year. In 2017, 20 tonnes of used VVER-1000 fuel from Balakovo is to be reprocessed.

* The original reprocessing plant at the site was hastily built in the mid-1940s, for military plutonium production in association with five producer reactors (the last shut down in 1990).

The RT-1 plant started up in 1971 and employs the Purex process. Since about 2000 the plant has been extended and modified so that it can accept a wide variety of inputs, including U-Be research reactor fuel.  It had reprocessed about 5000 tonnes of used fuel to 2012 and was reported to be running at about 100 t/yr capacity, following the loss of foreign contracts. In 2015 RT-1 processed 230 tonnes of fuel, 35% more than in 2014, and its capacity is expected to reach 400 t/yr “within several years”, comprising all types from Russian designed reactors, notably VVER-1000 and RBMK. From 2017 it will also be able to reprocess uranium nitride fuel. However, after the commissioning of the RT-2 plant at MCC, it is due to be decommissioned about 2030.

About 93% of its feed to 2015 has been from Russian and Ukrainian VVER-440 reactors, about 3% from naval sources or icebreakers and 3% from the BN-600 reactor. It earlier reprocessed BN-350 used fuel. Damaged used fuel is to be reprocessed there to avoid the need for prolonged storage. In September 2015 Rosatom said that reprocessing the fuel from 201 decommissioned vessels transferred to it from the Ministry of Defence was 97% complete, and that no naval fuel remained in the Far East. Regular shipments of used submarine fuel from Andreeva Bay storage to Mayak for reprocessing commenced in mid-2017, and 22,000 naval fuel assemblies are expected to be shipped by 2024, via Murmansk.

In 2015 Mayak started reprocessing the uranium-beryllium fuel from dismantled Alfa -class submarines, as a ‘nuclear legacy project’. These unsuccessful vessels had a single reactor of 155 MWt cooled by lead-bismuth and using very highly enriched uranium – 90% enriched U-Be fuel. The experience gained with lead-bismuth eutectic is being applied in Russia’s fast reactor programme – notably BREST (since SVBR was dropped).

Recycled uranium is enriched to 2.6% U-235 by mixing RepU product from different sources and is used in all fresh RBMK fuel, while separated plutonium oxide is stored. High-level waste is vitrified and stored. There are plans to use RepU for all the Kola VVER reactors. Vitrified HLW from Ukraine’s VVER-440 used fuel is to be returned to Ukraine from 2018.

Used fuel storage capacity there is being increased from 6000 to 9000 tonnes, but will remain limited compared with Zheleznogorsk. Hence the used fuel received is usually treated fairly promptly. In 2015, 5184 RBMK used fuel assemblies were sent there from the Leningrad and Kursk plants, for storage initially.

Zheleznogorsk MCC: Pilot Demonstration Centre and RT-2 reprocessing plant

A Pilot Demonstration Centre (PDC) for several reprocessing technologies is operated by MCC at Zheleznogorsk, built at a cost of RUR 8.4 billion and completed in 2015 as a "strategic investment project". Its initial capacity with research hot cells is 10 t/yr, increasing to 100 t/yr, with later increase to 250 t/yr from 2018 as phase 2. PDC phase 2 was expected to be in full operation in 2019. It will have innovative technology including embrittlement by crystallization, and simultaneous gas, thermo and mechanical spent fuel assembly shredding. Initially it will deal with VVER-1000 fuel, later with fuel from fast reactors. It will effectively be the first stage of the large redesigned RT-2 plant at the MCC/GHK site to be operational about 2024. The cost of RepU product is expected to be some €500/kg. The PDC “can be used for demonstration of the closed nuclear fuel cycle of thermal neutron reactors running on REMIX-fuel” as well as producing MOX fuel.

The RT-2 reprocessing plant at Zheleznogorsk is now on track for completion with 700 t/yr capacity by 2025 (in addition to the 250 t/yr at PDC). Another 800 t/yr is planned by 2028. Originally it was planned to have two 1500 t/yr lines, but for some time the project was under review. Construction started in 1984 but halted in 1989 when 30-40% complete due to public opposition and lack of funds (though in 1993 it was officially reported as "under construction"). It has now been redesigned and is expected to operate from around 2025 with advanced Purex process, for both VVER-1000 and RBMK fuel, and also BN fuel. Its cost is about $2 billion, with no federal funds. The facility could form part of the new Global Nuclear Infrastructure Initiative and foreign equity in a joint stock company is being considered. (See also International Collaboration section below.)

Zheleznogorsk MCC: RBMK and VVER used fuel storage

VVER-1000 used fuel is sent to the Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC) (Gorno-Khimichesky Kombinat – GHK) at Zheleznogorsk (Krasnoyarsk-26) in Siberia for pool storage. The site is about 60 km north of Krasnoyarsk. This fuel comes from three Russian, three Ukrainian and one Bulgarian plants. A large pool storage facility was built by MCC at Zheleznogorsk in 1985 for VVER-1000 used fuel, though its 6000 tonne capacity would have been filled in 2010. The facility was fully refurbished over 2009-10, and some dry storage capacity was commissioned in 2011. In December 2009 Rostechnadzor approved pool storage expansion to 7200 tonnes and MCC sought approval to expand it to 8400 tonnes capacity to allow another 6 years input. It is now planned to expand wet storage for VVER-1000 fuel to 11,000 tonnes.

In 2012 the first stage of an 8600 tonne dry storage facility for used fuel (INF DSF-2) was commissioned at Zheleznogorsk. It was built by the E4 Group at a cost of about $500 million for the MCC/GHK. It is the largest dry storage facility in the world, holding 8129 tonnes of RBMK fuel, initially from Leningrad and Kursk power plants, followed by Smolensk. At Leningrad the fuel is cut up and put into the large containers before being shipped to MCC. RBMK fuel is not presently economic to reprocess so has been stored at reactor sites, and when transferred to MCC it is stored in hermetically sealed capsules filled with nitrogen and helium, inside a building but air-cooled.

The second stage of MCC dry storage will take VVER-1000 fuel currently in wet storage there and increase capacity to over 37,000 tonnes (26,510 t RBMK, 11,275 t VVER). MCC expects to commission it about the end of 2016. It is expected to be commissioned about the end of 2015. The original wet storage facility is to be decommissioned in 2026. Used fuel will be stored for up to 50 years, pending reprocessing. MCC has flagged the possibility of storing foreign VVER-1000 used fuel, such as that from fuel take-back arrangements linked to foreign reactor sales (initially Iran). This can be reprocessed in Russia, but the waste must be repatriated.

Bilibino's LWGR used fuel is stored at Bilibino site.

(Three decommissioned graphite-moderated reactors which principally produced military plutonium, with associated underground reprocessing plant, are also at MCC Zheleznogorsk. The huge underground complex, 200-250 m deep, was originally established in 1950 for plutonium and weapons production.)

Other reprocessing plants

At SCC Seversk a reprocessing plant for nitride fuel from BREST fast reactors is envisaged to operate from 2024, closing that fuel cycle. See above under SCC nitride fuel plant KEU-2 .

In  2016 it was announced that decommissioning of the HEU downblending and mixing plant at SCC would be completed by 2022. The plant was built in 1996 at the conversion plant in order to implement the Russia-US program for blending down high-enriched uranium from Russian nuclear weapons into low-enriched uranium for export and use in US nuclear power plants. This program concluded in 2013.

Some kind of radioactive waste processing plant is under construction at the Kursk nuclear power station, according to Nikimt-Atomstroy. A completed section, fully operational by the end of 2014, would process liquid radioactive waste. The two remaining sections of the project include a processing facility for solid radioactive waste and a storage facility.

Legacy materials

Russia has a significant amount of legacy materials, some as a result of military materials production ( e.g. slightly irradiated uranium), others from the civil fuel cycle ( e.g. reprocessed uranium), and as a result of reviews over 2006-08 these are now recognised as potentially having significant value. The total quantity is not such as to impact the civil market; there are some technical challenges ( e.g. limiting U-232 to 5 ppb in enriched RepU), and in any case Russia’s preference is to use the material domestically while making resultant expertise available internationally.

The main material not found in the civil nuclear fuel cycle is slightly irradiated uranium (SIU, 0.65% U-235) from military plutonium production with low burn-up of natural uranium, after reprocessing to separate that plutonium. If SIU is enriched, the product can readily be used in nuclear plants and the tails become DSIU, with lower content of even uranium isotopes (232, 234, 236) than normal RepU, hence more valuable.

Historically, Russian used fuel from all but VVER-1000 civil reactors has been reprocessed at Mayak to yield RepU with about 0.9% U-235. This has mostly been enriched to provide fuel for RBMK reactors, with the tails as DRepU.

Also historically, to 2000, foreign used fuel was reprocessed and the RepU blended with LEU to yield reactor fuel which was returned as if the RepU had been enriched.

In the centrifuge enrichment process, different ways of feeding cascades with both U nat and RepU and blending the product can control U-232 levels and also U-236 levels (which if over 0.1% can be compensated by higher enrichment levels). Russian enrichment plants have provision for this flexible cascading. Then blending the enriched uranium product (from SIU, DSIU or RepU) with U nat or SIU can further reduce both of these even isotopes according to customer requirements, and below the pending Russian limit of 5 ppb U-232 (now 2 ppb).

This will enable use of RepU in VVER-1000 reactors from 2021 and increase the value of Russian RepU for domestic needs. It will also mean that production and use of RepU are balanced, especially as RBMK units are decommissioned and the Mayak RT-1 plant capacity is increased to 250 t/yr and the PDC at MCC Zheleznogorsk reaches 250 t/yr.

Russia expects to have spare capacity to process foreign RepU from about 2020.

Radioactive waste

Russia's Duma passed a new Federal Law on Radioactive Waste Management in June 2011, after 19 months consideration and many amendments. It was passed by the state Council in July and then signed into law. It establishes a legal framework for radioactive waste management, provides for a national radwaste management system meeting the requirements of the Joint Convention on the Safe Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel and on the Safe Management of Radioactive Waste ratified by Russia in 2006.

In November 2015 the government approved Rosatom’s second federal target programme (FTP NRS-2) for nuclear and radiation safety for 2016 to 2030. "The key issue is the deferred liabilities accumulated during the 70 years of the nuclear industry, particularly during the time of the Soviet Union.” In the first FTP since 2008 Rosatom has completed more than was set out then, against a budget of RUR 123 billion. About 73% of the new FTP budget of RUR 562 billion will be for decommissioning commercial reactors, and the withdrawal of buildings and facilities at Mayak Production Association, Siberian Chemical Combine, Angarsk Electrolysis and Chemical Complex and Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant – facilities once involved in state defence programmes. Nearly 20% of the funding will go on creating the infrastructure required for the processing and final disposal of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste; 5% on monitoring and ensuring nuclear and radiation safety; and 2% on scientific and technological support. About 70% of the budget is from federal funds, much of the rest from Rosatom. It will be implemented in three 5-year stages, and involves the transition to new used fuel recycling technologies to close the fuel cycle, establishing a final HLW repository, decommissioning of 82 nuclear & radiation hazardous facilities, two nuclear icebreakers and other tasks.

Rosatom and the National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management – FSUE NO RAO – is responsible for coordination and execution of works associated with radwaste management, notably its disposal. This includes military waste. The law establishes time limits for interim radwaste storage and volume limits for waste generators, and defines how they should bring waste in condition suitable for disposal and transfer it to the national operator along with payment of disposal charges. Import and export of radwaste is banned. All newly-generated waste is the responsibility of its generators who will pay for its disposal and storage, with funds accumulated in the SC Rosatom’s bank account as a special fund. However, the 2011 law did not address how to resolve property disputes in siting, nor local authority responsibilities, nor financing mechanisms for affected municipalities. In October 2014 NO RAO submitted to Rosatom proposals for changes in legislation on these matters so that it could proceed with its mandate. In 2015 RUR 6.5 billion will be paid over by various enterprises to Rosatom’s reserved fund for radioactive waste disposal, at rates set in 2013 for the period to 2017.

Rosatom plans to draft two more laws: on decommissioning and used fuel management.

FSUE RosRAO is a Moscow-based Rosatom company providing commercial back-end radwaste and decommissioning services for intermediate- and low-level waste as well as handling non-nuclear radwaste and nuclear decommissioning. It commenced operation in 2009 under a temporary arrangement pending finalisation of regulations under the new legislation, and became part of Rosatom’s Life Cycle Back-End Division (LC BED) in 2013. It incorporates Radon, and now has branches in each of seven federal districts. The Kirovo-Chepetsk branch is responsible for decommissioning that conversion plant with 440,000 tonnes of waste by 2025 at a cost of RUR 2.1 billion.

Naval waste

RosRAO’s Far East Centre for Radioactive Waste Management is DalRAO , near Vladivostok in the Maritime Territory. It has Fokino and Viluchinsk divisions or regions, and operates a long-term open-air storage facility in Razboinik Bay for reactor compartments* from dismantled submarines. The long-term storage facility was under construction from 2006 with Japanese assistance and was commissioned in 2012. It has three nuclear service ships, and the Japanese government donated a floating dock and other equipment to move the reactor compartments. RosRAO plans to have the Regional Center for Conditioning and Long-term Storage of Radioactive Waste (RAW Regional Center) here, mainly for naval waste pending handover to NO RAO. In October 2014 the last spent fuel from dismantled nuclear submarines in the Maritime Territory was dispatched to the Mayak reprocessing plant.

* In 2014 the first three were brought ashore, in 2015 RosRAO planned to move five and then raise the number to ten per year, with a total of 54 three-compartment units to be placed. 

RosRAO's Northwest Centre for Radioactive Waste Management is SevRAO , in the Murmansk region, which is engaged in remediation of the sites which were Navy Northern Fleet bases, and dismantling of retired nuclear-powered naval ships and submarines as well as nuclear service ships at several sites. Andreeva Bay is the main centre of attention today, and international funding is applied to removing its stock of used naval fuel under the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership ( NDEP ), which was established in 2002 and is supported by many countries and the EU through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Its Nuclear Window funds work at Andreeva Bay, dismantling Lepse and the Papa -class submarine at Severodvinsk, with €165 million pledged to mid-2017.

Sayda Bay west of Murmansk was a low-level waste storage site for the navy and has become a regional radioactive waste storage centre as well as a major ship and submarine dismantling centre. After being docked for 24 years at Atomflot’s base near Murmansk, the nuclear service ship Lepse was towed to the Nerpa shipyard in Sayda Bay in 2012 and cut up on a slipway over 2013-16, leaving two problematical sections of the hull. It had served as a floating receptacle for used fuel from Russian icebreakers from 1961 to 1988, and stored damaged fuel from the Lenin . An aft section contained radioactive waste that was sent to the nearby Sayda Bay facility, and a fore section contained 639 used fuel assemblies from icebreakers, many of them badly damaged, were removed over 2019-21 inside a special structure and sent to Mayak. All this is funded internationally under the NDEP.

The old Volodarsky, used as a nuclear service ship from 1966 to 1991 and laden with a lot of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste, anchored near Murmansk until 2013, was also towed to Sayda Bay, unloaded and then dismantled by the end of 2014. This was funded by the Russian government. Other solid radioactive waste was collected at Andreeva Bay for transport to Sayda Bay for long-term storage. A lot of submarine dismantling was undertaken at Sayda Bay, with many three-compartment reactor units now stored there on land. In August 2021 Rosatom reported that 120 out of 123 decommissioned submarines in the Arctic region had been dismantled.

Gremikha is a current naval base between Murmansk and Archangel where SevRAO is undertaking the defuelling and dismantling of 11 highly-radioactive liquid metal-cooled naval reactors from Alfa -class submarines from 2014 to 2023. After the 50-tonne reactors are removed from the hull segments shipped apparently from Sayda Bay, they are put into a hot cell and then defuelled, with the fuel loaded into containers for transport to Mayak for reprocessing. This work takes about a year for each core. Raising the scuttled K-27 submarine with similar reactors and dismantling it is pending there (see below). 

Andreeva Bay, in Litsa Fjord 55 km from the Norway border, was set up in the 1960s as a naval base for nuclear submarine refuelling. In 1982 a major leak from a used fuel pool caused the contents to be transferred to temporary and poorly engineered dry storage. Most of the used fuel from dismantled Northern Fleet submarines was stored at Andreeva Bay – some 22,000 fuel assemblies from 100 naval reactors. In 1992 Norway signed an agreement to address the nuclear legacy issues of the former Northern Fleet and the decommissioning of the nuclear submarines. Andreeva Bay was transferred to civil management in 1993 as Branch #1 of SevRAO. The strategy for removing used fuel from the original dry storage units was developed from 2002, with funding from the UK. The removal procedure included building an enclosure of the dry storage units, some of which are damaged and leaking, then transferring the fuel to new canisters, which are then put into 40-tonne casks for storage or transport. In May 2014 SevRAO signed a RUR100 million contract with Norway’s Finnmark to upgrade the Andreeva Bay dry storage facility, and this was commissioned in 2017. From 2017 to 2020 about 10,000 fuel assemblies were removed from Andreeva Bay to a storage site outside the Murmansk region for disposal.

Submarine fuel is shipped to Andreeva Bay in the 1620 dwt Rossita . This is a dedicated ship to transport up to 720 tonnes of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, and was built for Atomflot in Italy in 2011. The Rossita is primarily for naval waste and fuel from decommissioned submarines, and is used on the Northern Sea Route cruising between Gremikha, Andreeva Bay, Sayda Bay, Severodvinsk and other Russian facilities which dismantle nuclear submarines.  Rossita also moves casks of used submarine fuel from Andreeva Bay to the railhead at the Atomflot base at Murmansk, for transport to Mayak.

A new vessel built in Italy under a 2013 contract, the semi-submersible pontoon dock Itarus , designed to transport three-compartment units of dismantled Russian nuclear submarines for SevRAO in Sayda Bay, was delivered in 2016.

As SevRAO has made good progress, there are plans costed at €123 million to recover seven items of radioactive debris from Arctic waters, where most were dumped in Soviet times, by 2032. This includes submarine reactor compartments and two entire submarines with fuel still in their reactors – K-27 which was scuttled in 1982 in shallow water after major failure in one of its lead-bismuth cooled reactors, and K-159 which sank while under tow to decommissioning in 2003. The majority of the debris is in the eastern bays of the Novaya Zemlya, in the Kara Sea. Some is in the Barents Sea. The total radioactivity of nuclear submarines in both seas is estimated at 37 PBq.

Civil waste

RosRAO is envisaged as an international operator, providing back-end fuel cycle services globally.

The National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management ( NO RAO ) is a federal-state unitary enterprise set up in March 2012 as the national manager of Russia's used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, including its disposal. It is the national operator for handling all nuclear waste materials and the single organisation authorised to carry out final disposal of radioactive waste, and also other related functions. Its functions and tariffs are set by government, notably the Ministry of Natural Resources. Its branches are at Zheleznogorsk in Krasnoyarsk, Seversk in Tomsk, Dimitrovgrad in Ulyanovsk and (from late 2013) Novouralsk in Sverdlovsk.

NO RAO is planning an underground research laboratory in Nizhnekansky granitoid massif near Krasnoyarsk for study into the feasibility of disposal of solid HLW and solid medium-level long-lived waste. It has called for tenders, with stage 1 to be completed by the end of 2019, and the whole project completed in 2024. See section below on High-level waste disposal, geological repositories .

The System of State Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials and Radioactive Waste (SSAC RM&RAW) is intended to perform physical inventory testing of nuclear materials and radioactive waste at their locations, and carry out accounting and control of them at the federal, regional and departmental levels. In February 2015 Rosatom introduced an automated system for accounting and control of radwaste from more than 2000 organisations, which is to be fully implemented by the end of the year.

About 32 million cubic metres of radioactive waste is to be disposed of within the framework of NO RAO’s program at a cost of about RUR 307 billion, according to Rosatom. NO RAO’s investment program runs to 2035 and includes capital investment in infrastructure of RUR 158 billion ($4.77 billion). Owners of the radioactive waste needing disposal are to provide 80% of that money, while the remaining 20% is to come from the federal budget. In 2013, 24,000 tonnes of used fuel was reported to be awaiting reprocessing or disposal. Rosatom’s Social Council plays a major role in achieving public acceptance.

Plant 20 at PA Mayak, Ozersk, is understood to be a military plutonium processing facility employing 1900 people. There was a plan to close it down and transfer operations to the Siberian Chemical Combine at Seversk as part of restructuring the nuclear weapons complex, but this was cancelled in March 2010. In 2011 Rostechnadzor said that urgent attention was needed “to the 20 open liquid radioactive waste pools, including decommissioning those at FGUP PA Mayak as containing the highest concentration and amount of liquid radioactive waste.”

Used fuel from Russian-built foreign power and research reactors is repatriated, much of it through the port of Murmansk. Some 70 containers were unloaded and moved south by rail over 2008-2014.

High-level waste disposal, geological repositories

No repository is yet available for high-level waste. Earlier, site selection was proceeding in granite on the Kola Peninsula, and 30 potential disposal sites have been identified in 18 regions, including Siberia, the Urals, the Volga region and the Northwest federal district in order of priority. In 2003 Krasnokamensk in the Chita region 7000 km east of Moscow was suggested as the site for a major spent fuel repository.

Then in 2008 the Nizhnekansky Rock Massif at Zheleznogorsk in Krasnoyarsk Territory was put forward as a site for a national deep geological repository. Rosatom said the terms of reference for the facility construction would be tabled by 2015 to start design activities and set up an underground rock laboratory. Public hearings on the Nizhnekansky Granite Massif were held in July 2012 and in November 2013 it was identified in the Regional Energy Planning Scheme as the planned repository site. In August 2016 the Territorial Planning Scheme to 2030 confirmed the site and approved construction of repository facilities here for 4500 m 3 net of class 1 waste and 155,000 m 3 net of class 2 waste.

The National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management (NO RAO) envisages the establishment of an underground laboratory in the Yeniseysky area near Krasnoyarsk for this waste and then no less than nine years' research. It completed the design documentation for the underground laboratory in March 2015 and expects to begin construction in 2017. A decision on repository construction is due by 2025, and the facility itself is to be completed by 2035. Phase 1 of the facility is to be designed to hold 20,000 tonnes of intermediate- and high-level waste, which will be retrievable.

Low- and intermediate-level waste

These are mostly handled similarly to those in other countries. Radon has been the organisation responsible for medical and industrial radioactive waste. It has had 16 storage sites for waste up to intermediate level. Not far outside Moscow, the major Radon facility has both laboratories and disposal sites. Other near-surface storage facilities were in 2008 planned for Sosnovy Bor, Glazov, Gatchina, Novovoronezh, Kirovo-chepetsky, Murmansk, Sarov, Saratov, Bilibino, Kransokamensk, Zelenogorsk, Seversk, Dimitrovgrad, Angarsk, and Udomlya.

NO RAO is planning to establish repositories for at least 300,000 m 3 of low- and intermediate-level waste (LILW, class 3&4 radioactive waste), and these plans are to be in place by 2018. One facility would be built in each of Russia’s seven federal districts to dispose of these three waste streams. In August 2016 the Territorial Planning Scheme to 2030 approved construction of the following near-surface repository facilities:

  • 100,000 m 3 LILW at Ozersk in Chelyabinsk region for Mayak.
  • 200,000 m 3 LILW at Tomsk/ Seversk for SCC.
  • 48,000 m 3 LILW from Urals Electrochemical Combine at Novouralsk.
  • 50,000 m 3 LILW at Sosnovy Bor in the Leningrad oblast.

In December 2015 NO RAO received a licence to operate the first stage of a repository at Novouralsk. The licence permits the near-surface disposal of solid radioactive waste by its Seversk branch on behalf of the Urals Electrochemical Combine, and the first stage of 15,000 m 3 was opened in December 2016. Construction of the second stage is to start in 2017, taking capacity to 54,000 m 3 . The facility with a total final capacity of 150,000 m 3 is planned to operate until 2035. “The investments in design, operation and care & maintenance of the facility, as well as subsequent monitoring of the environment will be RUR 6 billion (US$820 million), as per preliminary estimates,” according to NO RAO.

NO RAO has received local government approval in the Chelyabinsk and Tomsk regions respectively for the final disposal of low- and intermediate-level waste (LILW) at the sites of Mayak Production Association in Ozersk, and Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC), based in Tomsk. In 2017 NO RAO said it planned a 214,000 m 3 repository near Ozersk, and 150,000 m 3 at Seversk near Tomsk, both to be built by 2021.

However, Russia has also for many years used deep-well injection for low- and intermediate-level waste from some facilities, notably Seversk, Zheleznogorsk and Dimitrovgrad. This is mainly waste from reprocessing. A Central Europe review report in 1999 said that the wells ranged from 300 up to 1500 metres deep, and that Seversk was the main site utilising the method, with 30 million cubic metres injected. This practice has delayed Russian acceptance of an IAEA standard for radioactive waste disposal, since it has no packaging or engineered barriers and relies on the geology alone for safe isolation. The new 2011 Radioactive Waste Management law said: “Underground disposal of liquid radioactive waste may be executed, in accordance with the requirements of federal regulations and rules, inside geological formations (‘collector horizons’) as limited by the bounds of the area allotted, within which liquid radioactive waste must remain localised.”

In July 2013 Rostechnadzor issued five-year licences to the three regional branches of NO RAO, for “activities associated with final disposal of liquid radioactive waste.” In the November 2013 Regional Energy Planning Scheme two active sites for deep geological disposal of liquid radioactive waste (LRW) are identified: Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk oblast, on the NIIAR site 1300 km SE of Moscow, and a northern one: Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk territory in Siberia, on the MCC site. A preliminary finding of the 2013 IRRS mission from IAEA was that “License conditions related to the safety assessment and safety case of liquid radioactive waste disposal facilities should be revised.” In August 2016 the Territorial Planning Scheme to 2030 approved deep well repository for 50 million m 3 of liquid radioactive waste.

Energospetsmontazh announced in March 2015 that the trial operation of plasma-based processing of radioactive waste had started at Novovoronezh. The system is designed for plasma pyrolysis processing of solid radioactive waste of medium and low activity containing both combustible and non-combustible components.

Kyshtym accident and related pollution

There was a major chemical accident at Mayak Chemical Combine (then known as Chelyabinsk-40) near Kyshtym in Russia in 1957. This plant had been built in haste in the late 1940s for military purposes. The failure of the cooling system for a tank storing many tonnes of dissolved nuclear waste resulted in an explosion due to ammonium nitrate having a force estimated at about 75 tonnes of TNT (310 GJ). Most of the 740-800 PBq of radioactive contamination settled out nearby and contributed to the pollution of the Techa River, but a plume containing 80 PBq of radionuclides spread hundreds of kilometres northeast. The affected area was already very polluted – the Techa River had previously received about 100 PBq of deliberately dumped waste, and Lake Karachay had received some 4000 PBq. This ‘Kyshtym accident’ killed perhaps 200 people and the radioactive plume affected thousands more as it deposited particularly Cs-127 and Sr-90. It is rated as a level 6 ‘serious accident’ on the International Nuclear Event Scale, only surpassed by Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents.

Up to 1951 the Mayak plant had dumped its waste into the Techa River, whose waters ultimately flow into the Ob River and Arctic Ocean. Then they were disposed of into Lake Karachay until at least 1953, when a storage facility for high-level waste was built – the source of the 1957 accident. Finally, a 1967 duststorm picked up a lot of radioactive material from the dry bed of Lake Karachay and deposited it on to the surrounding province. It appears that some radioactive discharges into the Techa River continued, and that in particular between 2001 and 2004, some 30-40 million cubic metres of radioactive effluent was discharged near the reprocessing facility, which “caused radioactive contamination of the environment with the isotope strontium-90.” There is no radiological quantification.

The outcome of these three events made some 26,000 square kilometres the most radioactively-polluted area on Earth by some estimates, comparable with Chernobyl.

Decommissioning

Rostechnadzor oversees a major programme of decommissioning old fuel cycle facilities, financed under the Federal target program on Nuclear and Radiation Safety. The government said it planned to spend some $5 billion to 2015 on decommissioning and waste management. Since 1995 nuclear power plants have contributed to a decommissioning fund.

Several civil reactors are being decommissioned: an experimental 50 MWt LWGR type at Obninsk which started up in 1954 (5 MWe) and was the forerunner of RBMKs, two early and small prototype LWGR (AMB-100 & 200) units – Beloyarsk 1&2 – the Melekess VK-50 prototype BWR, and three larger prototype VVER-440 units at Novovoronezh, a V-210 and V-365 and a V-179. Five were shut down 1981-90 and await dismantling. The fuel has been removed from these and that from Novovoronezh has been shipped to centralised storage in Zheleznogorsk and will be stored there for about ten years before reprocessing. The Beloyarsk fuel is still onsite since reprocessing technology for it is not yet available. The plant is being dismantled, and the site is due to be clear by 2032.

Shutdown Civil Power Reactors

At Novovoronezh 1&2 a decommissioning project with partial dismantling of equipment was largely completed in 2020. The work will take several years, and buildings are likely to be re-used. In particular that portion of the site houses the district heating pumps and equipment, which provides 75% of the heat for the city, and a spare parts store for Rosenergoatom. Novovoronezh 3 was shut down in December 2016 and it will be cannibalised to keep unit 4 (also V-179) operating for up to 60 years.

In 2010 Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) in collaboration with Rosatom set up the JSC Pilot Demonstration Center for Decommissioning of Uranium-Graphite Reactors (PDC UGR) at SCC site to implement a decommissioning concept for 13 shut-down uranium-graphite production reactors (PUGR) for military plutonium. These are at Mayak Chemical Combine at Ozersk (5), near Kyshtym, at Siberian Chemical Combine, Seversk (5), and at Mining & Chemical Combine, Zheleznogorsk (3). The last plutonium production reactor, ADE-2 at Zheleznogorsk, finally closed for decommissioning in April 2010.* The fuel has been removed from the shut-down reactors and nearly all of it has been reprocessed at Mayak and Seversk. The concept provides for building multiple safety barriers and sealing of shut-down reactors rather than their dismantling, at a cost estimated to be RUR 2 billion (US$ 67 million) each. Entombment is the option selected for EI-2, ADE-4 and ADE-5 reactors. All 13 are expected o be decommissioned by 2030. EI-2, also described as Russia’s first industrial nuclear power station since it produced power as well as military plutonium, operated to the end of 1990 and was decommissioned in 2015. In 2009 SCC won a tender to prepare for decommissioning of the four Bilibino reactors (due to close 2019-21) and two closed ones at Beloyarsk (all LWGRs).

*Russia's plutonium was produced by 13 reactors at three sites: PO Mayak in Ozersk, also known as Chelyabinsk-65 (A, AV-1-3, AI-IR); SKhK – the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk, also known as Tomsk-7 (ADE-3,4&5, EI-1, EI-2); and GKhK – the Mining and Chemical Combine in Zheleznogorsk, also known as Krasnoyarsk-26 (AD, ADE-1&2). The five Mayak reactors produced an estimated 31t of weapons-grade plutonium between 1948 and 1990, the five SKhK reactors produced 68t between 1955 and 2008, and the three GKhK reactors produced 46t between 1958 and 2010. Ten of these reactors were shut down between 1987 and 1992, leaving only ADE-2, 4 and 5 until 2008 & 2010. Of four heavy water reactors at Mayak (OK-180, OK-190, OK-190M and LF-2) the first was intended for plutonium production but in fact all were used for producing isotopes and tritium. LF-2 remains in operation.

In January 2014 Rosatom announced that the PDC UGR, having established its credibility and expertise, would cease to be part of SCC and become part of its new End-of-Life (EOL) Management Division, under the Federal Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (FC NRS).

Three nuclear-powered icebreakers have been decommissioned: Lenin , Sibir and Arktika, also the support vessel: Lepse which held some used nuclear fuel from the Arctic fleet. Lepse was taken out of the water in October 2014 for further dismantling at the Nerpa Shipyard in Murmansk. Lenin is being turned into a museum. SevRAO, the northern branch of RosRAO, dismantles nuclear-powered naval vessels at its Sayda Bay site in Murmansk, and Atomflot is considering using it for retired icebreakers.

In 2014 the Angarsk Electrolysis & Chemical Complex (AECC) said that decommissioning of its conversion plant and diffusion enrichment plants would require RUR 20 billion ($500 million). Decommissioning the conversion capacity at Kirovo-Chepetsky Chemical Combine which was shut down in the 1990s is expected to cost RUR 2.1 billion.

Organisation

The State Corporation (SC) Rosatom is a vertically-integrated holding company which took over Russia's nuclear industry in 2007, from the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAEA, also known as Rosatom). This had been formed from the Ministry for Atomic Energy (Minatom) in 2004, which had succeeded a Soviet ministry in 1992. The civil parts of the industry, with a history of over 60 years, are consolidated under JSC AtomEnergoProm (AEP).

During 2008 there was a major reorganisation or "privatisation" of nuclear industry entities involving change from Federal State Unitary Enterprises (FSUE) to Joint Stock Companies (JSC), with most or all of the shares held by AtomEnergoProm. By mid August 2008, 38 of 55 civil nuclear FSUEs had been reformed. Some renaming occurred due to new restrictions on the use of "Russia" or derivatives (eg "Ros") in JSC names. In mid 2014 eight of the remaining FSUEs were designated ‘federal nuclear organisation’, including Mayak PA and MCC.

The State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom (as distinct from the earlier Rosatom agency) is a non-profit company set up in 2007 to hold all nuclear assets, including more than 350 companies and organisations, on behalf of the state. In particular, it holds all the shares in the civil holding company AtomEnergoProm (AEP). It took over the functions of the Rosatom agency and works with the Ministries of Industry and Energy (MIE) and of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) but does not report to any particular ministry. Early in 2012 the government announced that its civil divisions might be privatized, at least to a 49% share in individual entities. The total workforce is over 250,000.

SC Rosatom divisions are:

  • Nuclear weapons complex.
  • Nuclear & radiation safety and waste.
  • Nuclear power – Atomenergoprom, Rosenergoatom.
  • Applied and fundamental science, composite materials.
  • Atomflot – Arctic fleet of seven nuclear icebreakers and one nuclear merchant ship.

AtomEnergoProm (Atomic Energy Power Corporation, AEP) is the single vertically-integrated state holding company for Russia's nuclear power sector, separate from the military complex. It was set up at the end of 2007 to consolidate the civil activities of Rosatom including uranium production, engineering, design, reactor construction, power generation, isotope production and research institutes in its several branches, but not used fuel reprocessing or disposal facilities. It incorporates more than 80 enterprises operating in all areas of the nuclear fuel cycle. The April 2007 Presidential decree establishing it specifies nuclear materials, which may be owned exclusively by the state, lists Russian legal entities allowed to possess nuclear materials and facilities, existing joint stock companies to be incorporated into Atomenergoprom, and lists federal state unitary enterprises to be corporatized first and incorporated into Atomenergoprom at a later stage. Exclusive state ownership of nuclear materials had been seen as a barrier to competitiveness and other Russian corporate entities will now be allowed to hold civil-grade nuclear materials, under state control.

Entities from Atomenergoprom itself down to various third-level subsidiaries will be joint stock companies eventually. Public investment in the bottom level operations is envisaged – the joint venture between Alstom and Atomenergomash to provide large turbines and generators is cited as an example.

JSC AtomEnergoProm's many entities include the following (most are JSCs):

- ARMZ Uranium Holding Co (JSC AtomRedMetZoloto) – uranium production – owns Russian mine assets. - Uranium One Group (U1 Group) – responsible for all foreign uranium mining, 78.4% owned. - Techsnabexport (TENEX) – foreign trade in uranium products and services, with North American subsidiary TENAM. - JSC Enrichment & Conversion Complex. - TVEL – conversion, enrichment and nuclear fuel fabrication. The BREST-300 reactor is being built by TVEL at SCC Seversk, apparently due to the integration of fuel cycle facilities in the project. - ASE Group is Rosatom’s engineering division, accounting for 30% of the global nuclear power plant construction market according to Rosatom. Most foreign projects are ASE's reponsibility. It now incorporates the following entities: - Atomproekt, the new name for VNIPIET (All-Russia Science Research and Design Institute of Power Engineering Technology) which since 2013 incorporates St Petersburg Atomenergoproekt (SPbAEP) – design of nuclear power projects, radiochemical plants and waste facilities. From 2015 this is part of the ASE Group. - Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (NN AEP or NIAEP) – power plant design, from 2012: holding company for ASE. Sometimes then known as NIAEP-ASE, but re-named Atomstroyexport in December 2016. From October 2014 this is the parent company of Moscow JSC Atomenergoproekt (AEP), so the whole entity became the ASE Group (united company NIAEP-ASE-AEP). Then in 2015 Atomproekt was added to it. - Atomstroyexport (ASE) – construction of nuclear plants abroad, merged with NIAEP in 2012. Sometimes known as NIAEP-ASE until re-named Atomstroyexport in December 2016. From the end of 2014, ASE owns all the shares in JSC Atomenergoproekt and 49% of those in NIAEP, taking them over from Atomenergoprom. - Moscow Atomenergoproekt (AEP) – power plant design, became part of NIAEP-ASE. - Energospetsmontazh – construction and assembly, also repair of nuclear plants. - Atomenergomash (AEM) – a group of companies building reactors. - OKBM Afrikantov (formerly just OKBM – Experimental Design Bureau of Machine-building – Mashinostroyeniya) at Nizhny Novgorod- reactor design and construction. - OKB Gidropress (Experimental Design Bureau pressurised water – Hydropress) at Podolsk near Moscow – PWR reactor design. - JSC Rosenergoatom (briefly Energoatom) – responsible for construction and operation of nuclear power generation. - Rusatom Overseas was established in 2011 to promote Russian nuclear technologies in world markets. After restructuring in May 2015, it is divided into two companies served by Rusatom International Network which runs Rosatom's regional offices around the world, supporting the activities of Rosatom's divisions in foreign markets, seeking new business opportunities and promoting Rosatom's products and services abroad. The two companies are:  • JSC Rusatom Energy International , 44% owned by Rosatom and 56% by Atomenergoprom. It manages foreign construction projects and operation of those nuclear power plants as a shareholder in project companies. It is a major shareholder in JSC Akkuyu Nuclear in Turkey and a 34% shareholder in Fennovoima Oy in Finland. The functions of the company include financing, construction on budget and on time, safe and efficient operation of nuclear power plants, and sale of electricity on foreign markets. • JSC Rusatom Overseas Inc , based in Moscow and responsible for promotion of the integrated offer of nuclear power plant construction projects in international markets. Its key tasks are growth of the overseas orders portfolio of Rosatom companies and retaining the leading positions of Russia in global nuclear market. It is to ensure full back-up of the customer nuclear power programmes at all stages of implementation, including financing, training, localisation of supply chain, fuel supply with take-back of used fuel for reprocessing, and decommissioning. - Rusatom Overseas Germany (RAOS Germany) in 2016 will take over the international sales and marketing activities of NUKEM Technologies GmbH in the regions outside of the Western European markets, hence bundling all international marketing activities in the nuclear back-end area and high-temperature reactor fuel with Rusatom Overseas. - Rusatom Service – coordination of servicing nuclear plants abroad, providing “customised solutions for the modernization and operating period extension of VVER-based nuclear power plants”. - Atomenergoremont – maintenance and upgrading of nuclear power plants, - NUKEM Technologies GmbH is active worldwide in management of radioactive waste and spent fuel, and decommissioning of nuclear facilities. NUKEM Technologies Engineering Services GmbH focuses on engineering. Both are wholly-owned subsidiaries of JSC Atomstroyexport, and from 2016 are apparently part of Rusatom Overseas. - Research & Development Institute for Power Engineering (NIKIET) at Moscow – power plant design (originally: submarine power plants) - Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (CDBME) of the Russian Shipbuilding Agency – involved in some reactor design. - JSC State Specialised Design Institute (SSDI or GSPI) was a direct subsidiary of Atomenergoprom set up in 1948 for producing plutonium but now designing SMRs.

Electricity:

JSC Rosenergoatom is the only Russian organization primarily acting as a utility operating nuclear power plants. It was established in 1992 and reorganized in 2001 and then in 2008 as an open JSC. From December 2011 JSC Atomenergoprom holds 96% of the shares, and SC Rosatom (which owns Atomenergoprom) holds 4%. Rosenergoatom owns all nuclear power plants, both operating and under construction.

InterRAO UES was formerly a joint venture of Rosenergoatom and RAO UES, the utility which was broken up in mid 2008. It is now 57.3% owned by Rosatom and focused on electricity generation in areas such as Armenia and the Kaliningrad part of Russia, as the country's exporter and importer of electricity. It has 8 GWe of generating plant of its own and plans to increase this to 30 GWe by 2015, with the Baltic nuclear plant at Kaliningrad as an early priority. It heads a group of over 20 companies located in 14 countries, involving 18 GWe of capacity. Inter RAO-WorleyParsons (IRWP, with Inter RAO 51%) was set up in mid 2010 to work on the transfer of power engineering technology into Inter RAO's market and to promote Inter RAO's projects oversees.

Engineering and general designers:

In July 2008 the St Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhny-Novgorod divisions of Atomernergoproekt were converted to joint stock companies, with all shares held by Atomenergoprom. The first two are engineering companies and general designers of nuclear power plants mainly using VVER reactors developed by Gidropress. By the end of 2015 all the following engineering companies had been consolidated into the ASE Group as Rosatom's engineering division.

Atomproekt at St Petersburg was formed from the 2013 merger of St Petersburg Atomenergoproekt (SPbAEP) with the All-Russia Science Research and Design Institute of Integrated Power Engineering Technology – VNIPIET (established in 1933) to create the country’s largest nuclear power plant design and development company. It has a particular focus on fast reactors as well as VVER. The company supports all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle, from a decision to start a nuclear power plant construction project to decommissioning. On completion of the merger in mid-2014 it became Atomproekt. Earlier, SPbAEP worked closely with Atomstroyexport (ASE) on exported plants. Atomproekt is responsible for Leningrad II plant, Beloyarsk, Baltic, and also the Belarus, Tianwan, Hanhikivi and Paks II plants as export projects.

Atomproekt is also much involved in fuel fabrication and radioactive waste management. It is Russia's sole design company for used nuclear fuel storage facilities. It is closely involved with the Proryv project for closed fuel cycle with fast reactors.

Atomenergoproekt (formerly Moscow AEP) established in 1986 is a major general design and engineering company for nuclear power plants. It may also function as general contractor. In October 2014 it became a subsidiary of NIAEP-ASE.

Its version of the AES-2006 evolved to the VVER-TOI, which Rosatom says is planned to be standard for new projects in Russia and worldwide. It is general designer of Novovoronezh II, being built by NIAEP-ASE, Kursk II, Smolensk II as well as Kudankulam in India and Akkuyu in Turkey. It has been responsible for Kursk and Smolensk RBMK plants, Novovoronezh I, Balakovo, and the Zaporozhe, Temelin and Bushehr plants.

NIAEP-ASE:  Nizhny-Novgorod Engineering Company Atomenergoproekt (NIAEP) set up in 1951 is building plants at Rostov (Volgodonsk) and Kalinin. NIAEP in March 2012 was merged with Atomstroyexport (ASE) to bolster the latter's engineering capability. (Earlier it had linked with ASE to utilize some 1980s VVER equipment not required for Bulgaria's proposed Belene plant, and built it at Kalinin.)  NIAEP  became a holding company for JSC ASE, but NIAEP-ASE was being used as acronym to late 2014.

Atomstroyexport  (ASE), established by merger in 1998, emerged from the reorganisation as a closed joint stock company owned by Atomenergoprom (50.2%) and Gazprombank (49.8%, it is 69% owned by Gazprom). Early in 2009 the Atomenergoprom and related equity was increased to 89.3% by additional share issue, leaving Gazprombank with 10.7%. It was responsible for export of nuclear plants to China, Iran, India and Bulgaria. In 2009 German-based Nukem Technologies GmbH, which specialises in decommissioning, waste management and engineering services, became a 100% subsidiary of Atomstroyexport. In 2012 ASE merged with Nizhny-Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (NN AEP or NIAEP) to form NIAEP-ASE.

Rosatom, through NIAEP-ASE, offers both EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) and BOO (build, own, operate) contracts for overseas nuclear power plant projects, the latter involving at least 25% Rosatom equity. Rosatom offers various kinds of project financing, including attraction of strategic and institutional investors and debt financing. Some project finance is covered by international agreements involving either export credits, Russian government credit or the participation of Russian state banks. It says that lending rates can be optimized for nuclear power plant projects, and up to 85% of the finance may be provided by government credit from Russia.

In November 2014 the projects in hand on the company website were: Rostov 3&4, Baltic 1&2, Nizhny Novgorod 1&2, Kursk II, all in Russia, and Kudankulam 1&2, Tianwan 3&4, Akkuyu 1-4, Ostrovets 1&2, Bushehr 1, Ninh Thuan 1&2. In mid-2013 Rooppur in Bangladesh was added (but then removed). It is also building a large (3x400 MWe) gas combined-cycle plant: South Ural/Yuzhnouralskaya GRES-2 units 1&2.

NIAEP (post 2012 merger) has a design institute in Nizhny-Novgorod, project management offices in Nizhny-Novgorod, Moscow and St Petersburg, and 11 representative offices in Europe and Asia to oversee projects.

Titan-2 was a major subcontractor for the Leningrad II construction, and in 2015 it took over as general contractor for units 1&2. It will also be general contractor for Hanhikivi in Finland.

Rusatom Service was set up in October 2011 by Rosenergoatom (51%), Atomenergomash (16%), Gidropress (16%) and Atomtekhenergo (16%). It will undertake maintenance and repair as well as modernization of Russian-design nuclear power plants abroad, applying Russian domestic experience. The company is also to work in the area of technical consultancy, training and retraining of plant personnel. The market is estimated at €1.5 billion per year, rising to €2.5 billion by 2020, including western-design reactors by then.

OTsKS – Rosatom Branch Centre for Capital Construction – was set up in August 2012 to manage its capital investment program in Russia and internationally. It oversees regulatory, technical and legal aspects of capital construction projects, as well as estimating costs and developing schedules. It also provides training for customer-contractors and general contractors such as NIAEP-ASE as well as the personnel of construction companies. Rosatom subsidiary companies had to complete their transition to new rules on planning capital construction projects developed by OTsKS, by the end of 2013. Its main customer is Rosenergoatom which is building about ten units in Russia, with 12 more planned by 2025.

AKME-engineering was established in 2009 to implement the SVBR-100 project at Dimitrovgrad, including design, construction and commercial operation. It is a JV of Rosatom and JSC Irkutskenergo, and is licensed for construction and operation of nuclear plants by Rostechnadzor.

Uralenergostroy in Yekaterinburg is a civil works general contractor responsible for BN-800, BN-1200 and MBIR plants.

The Federal Centre of Nuclear and Radiation Safety ( FC NRS ) is a federal-state unitary enterprise set up in 2007 by Rosatom as part of its End-of-Life (EOL) Management Division. The Pilot Demonstration Center for Decommissioning of Uranium-Graphite Reactors (PDC UGR) is to become part of it, rather than staying with SCC.

The National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management ( NO RAO ) is a federal-state unitary enterprise set up in 2012 responsible for waste management and disposal. It is the National Operator for handling all nuclear waste materials, with functions and tariffs set by government.

FSUE RosRAO provides commercial back-end radwaste and decommissioning services for intermediate- and low-level waste as well as handling non-nuclear radwaste. It commenced operation in 2009 under a temporary arrangement pending finalisation of regulations under the new legislation. It incorporates Radon, which was the organisation responsible for medical and industrial radioactive waste, and now has branches in each of seven federal districts. RosRAO’s Far East Centre (DalRAO) operates long-term storage for over 70 submarine reactor compartments, pending their recycling. Its northern centre is SevRAO, in the Murmansk region, is engaged in remediation of the sites of Navy Northern Fleet bases, and dismantling of retired nuclear-powered naval ships and submarines. RosRAO is envisaged as an international operator. RosRAO became part of Rosatom’s Life Cycle Back-End Division (LC BED) in 2013.

In 2013 Rosatom’s Life Cycle Back-End Division (LC BED) was set up to incorporate entities hitherto the responsibility of FC NRS: the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC), RosRAO, SPA V.G.Khlopin Radium Institute and Radon. FC NRS will continue involvement with the new division.

FSUE Atomflot is a Rosatom division operating the nuclear powered icebreakers and merchant ship in Arctic waters.

Situation and Crisis Centre of Rosatom was established in 1998 acts as the Operator of the Nuclear Industry System for Prevention and Management of Emergencies. It keeps track of nuclear enterprises and transport of nuclear materials.

SNIIP Systematom is an engineering company for nuclear and radiation safety systems. It will supply the equipment for automated radiation monitoring systems (ARMS) at the Kalinin 1 nuclear unit in Russia and Tianwan 4 in China.

The VI Lenin All-Russian Electrotechnical Institute and its affiliated Experimental Plant were made FSUEs by presidential decree in March 2015, and removed from the Ministry of Education & Science.

Supply chain entities

Atomenergomash (AEM) was set up in 2006 to control the supply chain for major reactor components. After an equity issue in 2009 it was 63.6% owned by AEP, 14.7% by TVEL and 7.6% by Tenex, and 7% by AEM-finance. In 2009 AEM had sales of RUR 16 billion. AEM companies claim to have provided equipment in 13% of nuclear plants worldwide. Rosatom has one of the largest procurement budgets in the Russian economy, with the annual value of its orders totaling more than RUR 1000 billion ($17.8 billion) in recent years. Almost 85,000 companies are registered as suppliers to Rosatom and 70,000 contracts are signed each year by the group.

Supply chain reliability for nuclear procurement is a significant concern for Rosatom, and it is seeking reform from the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), in particular to ensure a credible ability to deliver high quality goods and services on time rather than just accepting the lowest price. Rosatom wants to conduct audit checks of suppliers prior to their participation in competitive bidding procedures, in order to verify that they would actually be able to fulfil the orders on which they bid. Rosatom cited as an example of the need for procurement reform the purchase of circulation pumps and combined valves for the Novovoronezh power plant. The supplier agreed to a schedule, but this stretched to 80 months and the equipment eventually delivered failed safety tests at the plant. A similar situation occurred at the Beloyarsk plant. The costs of such delays to Rosatom far exceed any compensation it can claim from delinquent suppliers.

The former main nuclear fabrication company, Atommash, was established in 1973 at Volgodonsk and went bankrupt in 1995. It was then profoundly restructured and resurrected as EMK-Atommash before becoming part of JSC Energomash, a major diversified engineering company apparently independent of Rosatom/AEP. Atommash largely moved away from nuclear equipment, though Atomenergomash (subsidiary of AEP) was keen to resuscitate it as an alternative heavy equipment supplier to OMZ. In 2009 Atomenergomash was doing due diligence on the Energomash group, with a view to taking a half share in it, "to create competition in the segment of monopoly suppliers of long-lead nuclear equipment.” In October 2014 AEM-Assets, a subsidiary of Rosatom, acquired the production assets and a 100% interest in Energomash LLC (Volgodonsk)-Atommash, the forging company, and Energomash JSC (Volgodonsk)-Atommash, which provides services related to the lease of equipment and immovable property. Atommash was integrated into Rosatom as part of AEM-Technology, and can now produce four complete sets of nuclear island equipment per year. The reactor pressure vessel supplied to Belarus in 2015 was the first it had produced in 30 years. Two reactor pressure vessels for the RITM-200 reactors for Russia’s new icebreaker were also produced in 2015. In 2017 it was building the reactor pressure vessel for the MBIR fast research reactor.

Objedinennye Mashinostroitelnye Zavody (OMZ – Uralmash-Izhora Group) itself is the largest heavy industry company in Russia, and has a wide shareholding. Izhorskiye Zavody, the country's main reactor component supplier, became part of the company in 1999, and Skoda Steel and Skoda JS in Czech Republic joined in 2003. OMZ is expected to produce the forgings for all new domestic AES-2006 model VVER-1200 nuclear reactors (four per year from 2016), plus exports. At present Izhora can produce the heavy forgings required for Russia's VVER-1000 reactors at the rate of two per year, and it is manufacturing components for the first two Leningrad II VVER-1200 units.

The Power Machines Company (JSC Silovye Mashiny Concern, or Silmash) was established in 2000 and brought together a number of older enterprises including Leningradsky Metallichesky Zavod (LMZ), Elektrosila, Turbine Blades Factory, etc. Siemens holds 26% of the stock. Silmash makes steam turbines up to 1200 MWe, including the 1000 MWe turbines for Atomstroyexport projects in China, India and Iran, and has supplied equipment to 57 countries worldwide. It is making 1200 MWe turbine generators for the Leningrad and Novovoronezh II nuclear plants. A significant amount of Power Machines' business is in Asia.

The Russian EnergyMachineBuilding Company (REMCO) was established as a closed joint stock company in Russia in 2008, amalgamating some smaller firms, with half the shares owned by Atomenergomash. It is one of the largest manufacturers of complex heat-exchange equipment for nuclear and thermal power plants, oil and gas industry. Its subsidiaries include JSC Machine-Building Plant ZiO-Podolsk and JSC Engineering Company ZIOMAR.

JSC Machine Building Plant ZiO-Podolsk is one of the largest manufacturers designing and producing equipment for nuclear power and other plants. It has made equipment, including steam generators and heat exchangers, for all nuclear plants in the former USSR. It is increasing capacity to four nuclear equipment sets per year. It appears to be 51% owned by REMCO. It is making the reactor pressure vessel and other main equipment for the BN-800 fast reactor at Beloyarsk as well as steam generators for Novovoronezh, Kalinin 4, Leningrad and Belene.

In April 2007 a joint venture company to manufacture the turbine and generator portions of new nuclear power plants was announced by French engineering group Alstom and JSC Atomenergomash. The 49:51 Alstom-Atomenergomash LLC (AAEM) joint venture, in which both parties would invest EUR 200 million, was established at Podolsk, near Moscow. It includes the technology transfer of Alstom's state of the art Arabelle steam turbine and generator (available up to 1800 MWe) tailored to Russian VVER technology. In 2010 AAEM signed an agreement with Inter RAO-Worley Parsons (IRWP) to establish an engineering consortium to design turbine islands for Russia's VVER reactor-based nuclear power plants. At the same time Alstom signed strategic agreements with major Russian energy companies to jointly provide power generation products and services for Russia's power industry in hydro, nuclear and thermal power generation and electricity transmission. Another agreement, between Alstom Power and Rosatom, details plans to set up a local facility to manufacture Alstom's Arabelle steam turbines for nuclear plants. In 2011 Petrozavodskmash joined the group, and its site is more suitable for shipping large components, so in 2011 the company decided to build its factory for Arabelle manufacture at Petrozavodsk, in Karelia, by 2015 instead of continuing with ZiO-Podolsk near Moscow. First production was expected in 2013 with output reaching three 1200 MWe turbine and generator sets per year in 2016. The Baltic plant will be the first customer, in a RUB 35 billion order, with Russian content about 50%. This will increase to over 70% for subsequent projects.

In September 2007 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) signed an agreement with Russia's Ural Turbine Works (UTZ) to manufacture, supply and service gas and steam turbines in the Russian market. Under the agreement, MHI, Japan's biggest machinery maker, will license its manufacturing technologies for large gas turbines and steam turbines to UTZ – part of the Renova Group. The agreement also calls for a joint venture to be established in Russia to provide after-sales service.

Russia has developed several generations of centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Ninth-generation machines are now being deployed, 10th generation ones re being developed, and 11th generation are being designed. The 9th generation units are said to be 1.5 times as efficient as 8th. Overall since 1960, the machine weight, size and power characteristics have remained practically unchanged, but their efficiency was raised more than six-fold, design service life was increased from 3 to 30 years, and the SWU cost was reduced “several times”. Centrifuges for China under a US$ 1 billion contract are manufactured at both Tocmash and Kovrov Mechanical plant, both of which will become part of the Fuel Company being established by TVEL. Russia intends to export its centrifuges to the USA and SE Asia.

For more up to date information on heavy engineering, see paper on Heavy Manufacturing of Power Plants .

Early in 2006 Rosenergoatom set up a subsidiary to supply floating nuclear power plants (BNPPs) ranging in size from 70 to 600 MWe. The plants are designed by OKBM in collaboration with others. The pilot plant, now under construction, is 70 MWe plus heat output and incorporates two KLT-40S reactors based on those in icebreakers.

Regulation and safety

Two main laws govern the use of nuclear power: the Federal Law on the Use of Atomic Energy (November 1995 and Federal Law on Radiation Safety of Populations (January 1996). These are supported by federal laws including those on environmental protection (2002) and the Federal Law on Radioactive Waste Management (2011). The 1996 Federal Law on Radiation Safety of Populations is administered by the Federal Ministry of Health.

Rostekhnadzor   is the regulator, set up (as GAN) in 1992, reporting direct to the President. Because of the links with military programs, a culture of secrecy pervaded the old Soviet nuclear power industry. After the 1986 Chernobyl accident, changes were made and a nuclear safety committee established. The State Committee for Nuclear and Radiation Safety – Gosatomnadzor (GAN) succeeded this in 1992, being responsible for licensing, regulation and operational safety of all facilities, for safety in transport of nuclear materials, and for nuclear materials accounting. Its inspections can result in legal charges against operators. However, on some occasions when it suspended operating licences in the 1990s, Minatom successfully overrode this. In 2004 GAN was incorporated into the Federal Ecological, Technological & Atomic Supervisory Service, Rostechnadzor, which has a very wide environmental and safety mandate. It has executive authority for development and implementation of public policy and legal regulation in the environmental field, as well as in the field of technological and nuclear supervision. It controls and supervises natural resources development, industrial safety, nuclear safety (except for weapons), safety of electrical networks, hydraulic structures and industrial explosives. It licences nuclear energy facilities, and supervises nuclear and radiation safety of nuclear and radiologically hazardous installations, including supervision of nuclear materials accounting, control and physical protection.  A 2011 overview is on IAEA website.

Safety has evidently been improving at Russian nuclear power plants. In 1993 there were 29 incidents rating level 1 and higher on the INES scale, in 1994 there were nine, and since then to 2003, no more than four. Also, up until 2001 many employees received annual radiation doses of over 20 mSv, but since 2002 very few have done so.

In 2008 Rostechnadzor was transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, but this was reversed in mid 2010 and it was brought back under direct control of the government and focused on civil nuclear energy. Following other changes in federal legislation, an IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission in 2013 said that Rostechnadzor had made "significant progress" in its development since 2009 and had “become an effective independent regulator with a professional staff”. Rostechnadzor undertook to make the final IRRS report early in 2014 public.

Glavgosexpertiza , the Russian State Expert Examination Board, is the authority responsible for appraising design documentation and engineering services on behalf of the Ministry of Construction of Russia. Glavgosexpertiza ensures compliance of all major infrastructure construction projects with national technical regulations and statutory requirements. 

Rosprirodnadzor , the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources needs to give environmental approval to new projects, through its State Environmental Commission.

Exports: fuel cycle

Soviet exports of enrichment services began in 1973, and Russia has strongly continued this, along with exports of radioisotopes. After 1990, uranium exports began, through Techsnabexport (Tenex). At 2015 Atomexpo it was announced that at the start of the year Rosatom’s foreign portfolio totaled US$ 101.4 billion, of which $66 billion was reactors, $21.8 billion was the contracted sales of EUP and SWU, and the remaining $13.6 billion was attributable to the sales of fabricated fuel assemblies and uranium. Rosatom’s goal is to gain half its revenue from exported goods and services.

Tenex expects to increase its share in the global market for front-end fuel cycle services to 40% by 2030, assisted by offering an ‘integrated product’ covering the entire nuclear fuel cycle, and to contribute up to half of Rosatom’s foreign currency revenue. Tenex revenue in 2014 was over $2.2 billion, and forward orders totalled almost $23 billion, including almost $6 billion in over 20 contracts with US utilities for enriched uranium product. Tenex sees the Asia-Pacific market as a growth area, using a new transport route through Vostochny Seaport, Primorye Territory.

In 2009 Tenex signed long-term enrichment services contacts with three US utilities – AmerenUE, Luminant and Pacific Gas & Electric – and one in Japan – Chubu. The contracts cover supply from 2014 to 2020. Then it contracted to supply enriched uranium product over the same period with Exelon, the largest US nuclear utility. By the end of 2010, the value of contracts with US companies rose to about $4 billion, beyond the diluted ex-military uranium already being supplied to 2013 from Russian weapons stockpiles. In 2012, Tenex supplied about 45% of world demand for enrichment services and 17% of that for fabricated fuel. It exported fuel for 34 reactors as well as supplying 33 Russian ones.

This US-Russian "Megatonnes to Megawatts" program supplies about 15% of world reactor requirements for enriched uranum and is part of a US$ 12 billion deal in 1994 between US and Russian governments, with a non-proliferation as well as commercial rationale. USEC and Tenex are the executive agents for the program. However, Rosatom confirmed in mid 2006 that no follow-on program of selling Russian high-enriched uranium from military stockpiles was anticipated once this program concludes in 2013. The 20-year program is equivalent to about 140,000 to 150,000 tonnes of natural uranium, and has supplied about half of US needs. By September 2010 it was 80% complete.

TVEL in 2010 won a tender to construct a fuel manufacturing plant in Ukraine, against competition from US company Westinghouse. Russia's long-term contract to supply fuel to the Ukrainian market is set to run until the end of the useful life of existing Ukrainian reactors, perhaps up to 35 years.

TVEL in 2014 secured contracts with foreign partners that exceeded $3 billion, keeping its ten-year order book at more than $10 billion. Contracts were signed with Finland, Hungary and Slovakia, as well as for research reactors in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Uzbekistan. TVEL said it has 17% of the global nuclear fuel supply market.

Rosatom has claimed to be able to undercut world prices for nuclear fuel and services by some 30%.

It was also pushing ahead with plans to store and probably reprocess foreign spent fuel, and earlier the Russian parliament overwhelmingly supported a change in legislation to allow this. The proposal involved some 10% of the world's spent fuel over ten years, or perhaps up to 20,000 tonnes of spent fuel, to raise US$ 20 billion, two thirds of which would be invested in expanding civil nuclear power. In July 2001 President Putin signed into effect three laws including one to allow this import of spent nuclear fuel (essentially an export of services, since Russia would be paid for it).

The President also set up a special commission to approve and oversee any spent fuel accepted, with five members each from the Duma, the Council, the government and presidential nominees, chaired by Dr Zhores Alferov, a parliamentarian, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Nobel Prize physicist. This scheme was progressed in 2005 when the Duma ratified the Vienna Convention on civil liability for nuclear damage. However in July 2006 Rosatom announced it would not proceed with taking any foreign-origin used fuel, and the whole scheme lapsed.

Exports: general, plants and projects

Russia is engaged with international markets in nuclear technology, well beyond its traditional eastern European client states. An important step up in this activity was in August 2011 when Rosatom established Rusatom Overseas company, with authorized capital of RUR 1 billion. In mid-2015 it was split into JSC Rusatom Overseas Inc. and JSC Rusatom Energy International .

Rusatom Overseas Inc  is responsible for implementing non fuel-cycle projects in foreign markets, though apparently it also promotes products, services and technologies of the Russian nuclear industry generally to the world markets. According to Rosatom, "Rusatom Overseas acts as an integrator of Rosatom's complex solutions in nuclear energy, manages the promotion of the integrated offer and the development of Russian nuclear business abroad, as well as working to create a worldwide network of Rosatom marketing offices." Rusatom Overseas planned to open some 20 offices around the world by 2015, as a market research front and shop window for all Rosatom products and services.

Rusatom Energy International acts "as a developer of Rosatom's foreign projects, which are implemented with the build-own-operate (BOO) structure" and is a shareholder in those project companies. One of the first projects that Rosatom is implementing using the BOO structure is the Akkuyu plant in Turkey. A second project is Hanhikivi in Finland.

At 2015 Atomexpo it was announced that at the start of the year Rosatom’s foreign portfolio totaled US$ 101.4 billion, of which $66 billion was reactors, $21.8 billion was the contracted sales of EUP and SWU, and the remaining $13.6 billion was attributable to the sales of fabricated fuel assemblies and uranium. The total at the end of 2015 was over $110 billion, and export revenues in 2015 were $6.4 billion, up 20% from 2014. Rosatom’s goal is to gain half its revenue from exported goods and services. Its long-term strategy, approved by its board in late 2011, calls for foreign operations to account for half of its business by 2030. It aims to hold at least one-third of the global enrichment services market by then, as well as 5% of the market for pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel. The corporation said that it is "actively strengthening its position abroad for the construction of nuclear power plants." In April 2015 Rosatom said that it had contracts for 19 nuclear plants in nine countries, including those under construction (5). In September 2015 it said it had orders for 30 nuclear power reactors in 12 countries, at about $5 billion each to construct, and it was negotiating for 10 more. It said that the total value of all export orders was $300 billion. It aims to have orders for the construction of some 30 power reactors outside of Russia by 2030.

Atomstroyexport (ASE, now NIAEP-ASE) has had three reactor construction projects abroad, all involving VVER-1000 units. It is embarking upon and seeking more, as detailed in Nuclear Power in Russia companion paper, final section on Exports of Nuclear Reactors.

Since 2006 Rosatom has actively pursued nuclear cooperation deals in South Africa, Namibia, Chile and Morocco as well as with Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Kuwait. In 2012 an agreement with Japan was concluded.

Tenex has also entered agreements (now taken over by ARMZ) to mine and explore for uranium in South Africa (with local companies) and Canada (with Cameco).

In September 2008 ARMZ signed a MOU with a South Korean consortium headed by Kepco on strategic cooperation in developing uranium projects. This included joint exploration, mining and sales of natural uranium in the Russian Federation and possibly beyond, but no more has been heard of it.

International collaboration

Russia is engaged with international markets in nuclear energy, well beyond its traditional eastern European client states. In June 2011 Rosatom announced that it was establishing Rusatom Overseas company, a new structure to be responsible for implementing non fuel-cycle projects in foreign markets. It could act as principal contractor and also owner of foreign nuclear capacity under build-own-operate (BOO) arrangements. It is vigorously pursing markets in developing countries and is establishing eight offices abroad.

President Putin's Global Nuclear Infrastructure Initiative was announced early in 2006. This is in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 2005 proposal for Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (MNA) and with the US Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). The head of Rosatom said that he envisages Russia hosting four types of international nuclear fuel cycle service centres (INFCCs) as joint ventures financed by other countries. These would be secure and maybe under IAEA control. The first is an International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC) – one of four or five proposed worldwide (see separate section). The second would be for reprocessing and storage of used nuclear fuel. The third would deal with training and certification of personnel, especially for emerging nuclear states. In this context there is a need for harmonized international standards, uniform safeguards and joint international centers. The fourth would be for R&D and to integrate new scientific achievements.

In March 2008 AtomEnergoProm signed a general framework agreement with Japan's Toshiba Corporation to explore collaboration in the civil nuclear power business. The Toshiba partnership is expected to include cooperation in areas including design and engineering for new nuclear power plants, manufacturing and maintenance of large equipment, and "front-end civilian nuclear fuel cycle business". In particular the construction of an advanced Russian centrifuge enrichment plant in Japan is envisaged, also possibly one in the USA. The companies say that the "complementary relations" could lead to the establishment of a strategic partnership. Toshiba owns 77% of US reactor builder Westinghouse and is also involved with other reactor technology.

Regarding reactor design, Rosatom has said it is keen to be involved in international projects for Generation IV reactor development and is keen to have international participation in fast neutron reactor development, as well as joint proposals for MOX fuel fabrication.

In April 2007 Red Star, a government-owned design bureau, and US company Thorium Power (now Lightbridge Corporation) agreed to collaborate on testing Lightbridge's seed and blanket fuel assemblies at the Kurchatov Institute with a view to using thorium-plutonium fuel in VVER-1000 reactors, partly in order to dispose of surplus military plutonium (see information papers on Fuel Fabrication and Military Warheads as a Source of Nuclear Fuel for details).

In 2006 the former working relationship with Kazakhstan in nuclear fuel supplies was rebuilt. Kazatomprom has agreed to a major long-term program of strategic cooperation with Russia in uranium and nuclear fuel supply, as well as development of small reactors, effectively reuniting the two countries' interests in future exports of nuclear fuel to China, Japan, Korea, the USA and Western Europe.

In June 2010 Rosatom signed a major framework agreement with the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) covering "nuclear energy development strategy, nuclear fuel cycle, development of next-generation reactors, future gas coolant reactor systems, radiation safety and nuclear material safety, prevention and emergency measures." Much of the collaboration will be focused on reprocessing and waste, also sodium-cooled fast reactors. Subsequently EdF and Rosatom signed a further cooperation agreement covering R&D, nuclear fuel, and nuclear power plants - both existing and under construction.

In March 2007 Russia signed a cooperation declaration with the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), so that Russia became a regular observer in all NEA standing technical committees, bringing it much more into the mainstream of world nuclear industry development. Russia had been participating for some years in the NEA's work on reactor safety and nuclear regulation and is hosting an NEA project on reactor vessel melt-through. This agreement was expected to assist Russia's integration into the OECD, and in October 2011 Russia made an official request to join the NEA. It was accepted as the 31st member of the OECD NEA in May 2012, effective from January 2013. Russia will be represented by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rosatom, and nuclear regulator Rostechnadzor.

Over two decades to about 2010 a Russian-US coordinating committee* was discussing building a GT-MHR prototype at Seversk, primarily for weapons plutonium disposition. Today OKBM is responsible to collaboration with China on HTR development, though NIIAR and Kurchatov Institute are also involved.

* involving SC Rosatom, NIIAR, OKBM, RRC Kurchatov Institute and VNIINM on the Russian side and NNSA, General Atomics, Oak Ridge National Laboratory on the US side.

Research & development

In mid-2009 the Russian government said that it would provide more than RUR 120 billion (about US$3.89 billion) over 2010 to 2012 for a new program devoted to R&D on the next generation of nuclear power plants. It identified three priorities for the nuclear industry: improving the performance of light water reactors over the next two or three years, developing a closed fuel cycle based on deployment of fast reactors in the medium term, and developing nuclear fusion over the long term. Rosatom said that its 2014 spending on R&D would amount to RUR 27-28 billion (US$ 528 million), about 4.5% of its revenue. In 2013 it spent RUR 24 billion, and in 2012 RUR 22.7 billion on R&D. In 2015 Rosatom said that it invested 5% of its revenues in R&D “to reinforce our technological leadership.”

Many research reactors were constructed in the 1950s and 60s. In 2015, 52 non-military research and test reactors were operational in Russia, plus about three in former Soviet republics and eight Russian ones elsewhere. Most of these use ceramic fuel enriched to 36% or 90% U-235. Overall over 130 research reactors have been built based on Russian technology. MBIR is now under construction at Dimitrovgrad.

Kurchatov Institute

Russia has had substantial R&D on nuclear power for seven decades. The premier establishment for this is the Russian Research Centre Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, set up 1943 as the Laboratory No. 2 of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In 2010 it joined the Skolkovo project, an R&D centre set up to rival Silicon Valley in the USA, and became a Federal State Unitary Enterprise. It has run twelve research reactors there, six of which are now shut down. The 24 kW F-1 research reactor was started up in December 1946 and has passed its 70th anniversary in operation. The largest reactor is IR-8, of 8 MWt, a high-flux unit used for isotope production.

The Kurchatov Institute has designed nuclear reactors for marine and space applications, and continues research on HTRs. Since 1995 it has been involved internationally with accounting, control and physical protection of nuclear materials. US Lightbridge Corporation's seed and blanket fuel assemblies are being tested there with a view to using thorium-based fuel in VVER-1000 reactors.

Kurchatov’s Molten Salt Actinide Recycler and Transmuter (MOSART) is fuelled only by transuranic fluorides from uranium and MOX LWR used fuel, without U or Th support. The 2400 MWt reactor has a homogeneous core of Li-Na-Be or Li-Be fluorides without graphite moderator and has reduced reprocessing compared with the original US design. Thorium may also be used, though MOSART is described as a burner-converter rather than a breeder.

Since 1955 the Institute has hosted the main experimental work on plasma physics and nuclear fusion, and the first tokamak systems were developed there. Since 1990, much of its funding comes from international cooperation and commercial projects.

Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (PNPI)

The Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute ( PNPI ) is near St Petersburg but part of the Kurchatov Institute. It was formerly the B.P. Konstantinov Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (PIYaF). In 1959 the 18 MWt WWR-M high-flux research reactor was put into operation, and in 1970 the 1 GeV proton synchrocyclotron SC-1000 started up, these continue in operation.

A 100 MWt high-flux reactor with 25 associated research facilities, PIK , achieved criticality in 2011 at Gatchina but further major work led to its launch at 100 kW in 2019. It uses 27 kg of 90% enriched uranium fuel, tenders for which were called in 2020. PIK is the most powerful high-flux research beam reactor in Russia and is planned to be the basis for the International Centre for Neutron Research. In October 2020 Glavgosexpertiza approved a project for the modernisation of the PIK reactor, and a further launch was announced in February 2021.

The Institute for High Energy Physics and the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics are also part of the Kurchatov Institute, as are the 'Prometheus' Central Research Institute of Structural Materials and the Research Institute of Chemical Reagents and High Purity Chemicals, which were previously part of the Ministry of Education and Science.

Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR/NIIAR)

Russia's State Scientific Centre – Research Institute of Atomic Reactors ( RIAR , or NIIAR) – said to be the biggest nuclear research centre in Russia, is in Dimitrovgrad (Melekess), in Ulyanovsk county 1300 km SE of Moscow. It was founded in 1956 to host both research and experimental reactors, and it researches fuel cycle, radiochemicals and radioactive waste management, as well as producing radionuclides for medicine and industry. It hosts the main R&D on electrometallurgical pyroprocessing, especially for fast reactors, and associated vibropacked fuel technology for these.

RIAR/NIIAR has the largest materials study laboratory in Eurasia, used particularly for irradiated fuel.* The complex's major future role will be in fuel reprocessing. The initial fuel for MBIR is likely to be from reprocessed BOR-60 fuel, as also intended for SVBR-100. In 2014 construction of a new multifunctional radiochemical research centre for closed fuel cycles for fast reactors commenced as part of the revised federal target programme for 2010-2015 and until 2020. Fuel research at RIAR already includes integration of minor actinides into FNR closed fuel cycle, nitride fuel (both mononitride and U-Pu nitride), metallic fuel (U-Pu-Zr, U-Al, U-Be) and RBMK spent fuel conditioning. It also is working on molten salt fuel – reprocessing and minor actinide behaviour, though Kurchatov Institute seems to be the main locus of MSR research.

* In 2010 TerraPower from the USA proposed that RIAR should carry out in-pile tests and post-irradiation examinations of structural materials and fuel specimens planned for its travelling-wave reactor. A final agreement was expected in November, but apparently did not eventuate.

RIAR's first research reactor – SM – has been running since 1961 and now produces radioisotopes and does materials testing. It is a 100 MWt very high-flux water-cooled pressure vessel-type reactor originally using 90% enriched fuel with a neutron trap that operates in the intermediate neutron spectrum. It has been modernised several times and as SM-3 it was recommissioned in 1993. In 2020 it again had a new core. It is expected to operate until 2040. 

The MIR-MR  loop-type reactor commissioned in 1967 is used for testing fuels in runs up to 40 days at up to 100 MWt. It has been important in developing fuel rod designs for power and naval reactors. It is testing the first batch of REMIX fuel and also accident-tolerant fuel (ATF). It has a beryllium moderator and uses 90% enriched fuel. It was due to be retired in 2020.

The small pool-type reactors RBT-6 & RBT-10/2 commissioned in 1975 and 1984 are used for long-term experiments and use the spent fuel assemblies from SM. They are 6 & 7 MWt respectively. 

As well as three other research reactors, the BOR-60 * experimental fast reactor is operated here by RIAR – the world’s only operating fast research reactor. It started up in 1969 and is to be replaced with the  MBIR , with four times the irradiation capacity.

* BOR = bystry opytniy reaktor. BOR-60 was licensed to 2015 but was extended to December 2020.

The multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor – MBIR* – will be a 150 MWt multi-loop reactor capable of testing lead or lead-bismuth and gas coolants as well as sodium, simultaneously in three parallel outside loops. Initially it will have sodium coolant. It will run on vibropacked MOX fuel with plutonium content of 38%, produced at RIAR in existing facilities. A 24% Pu fuel may also be used. RIAR intends to set up an on-site closed fuel cycle for it, using pyrochemical reprocessing it has developed at pilot scale. MBIR’s cost was estimated at RUR 40 billion in 2015. Rostechnadzor granted a site licence to RIAR in August 2014, and a construction licence in May 2015. Construction started in September 2015. Completion was expected in 2020, but the project was paused after starting construction. In November 2020 Rosatom appointed a new contractor, AO Institut Orgenergostroy, and construction resumed, with commissioning expected in 2028. The reactor pressure vessel is being made by Atommash at Volgodonsk.

* MBIR = mnogotselevoy issledovatilskiy reaktor na bystrych neytronach.

Russia's only boiling water reactor, the prototype VK-50 of 200 MWt was commissioned in 1964 and was due to be retired in 2020.

Rosatom is setting up an International Research Centre (IRC) based on MBIR and is inviting international participation in connection with the IAEA INPRO programme. In June 2013 an agreement with France and the USA was signed to this end. In April 2017 Rosatom was soliciting Japanese involvement. The full MBIR research complex is now budgeted at $1 billion, with the Russian budget already having provided $300 million from the federal target programme. Pre-construction shares of 1% were being offered for $10 million, allowing involvement in detailed design of irradiation facilities. From 2020 the fee would rise to $36 million per 1% share. RIAR will be the legal owner of MBIR, performing operational and administrative functions, while the International Research Centre will be the legal entity responsible for marketing and research management. In May 2017 Rosatom announced that the multifunctional radiochemical research facility under construction at RIAR would be included in the IRC, to be used for testing technologies to close the fast reactor fuel cycle.

The first 100 MWe Lead-Bismuth Fast Reactor (SVBR) from Gidropress was to be built at RIAR, but the project was dropped in 2018. It was designed to use a wide variety of fuels, though the demonstration unit would initially have used uranium enriched to 16.3%. With U-Pu MOX fuel it would operate in closed cycle. It was described by Gidropress as a multi-function reactor, for power, heat or desalination.

RIAR has established a joint venture with JSC Izotop – Izotop-NIIAR – to produce Mo-99 at Dimitrovgrad from 2010, using newly-installed German equipment. This aimed to capture 20% of the world market for Mo-99 by 2012, and 40% subsequently. In September 2010 JSC Isotop signed a framework agreement with Canada-based MDS Nordion to explore commercial opportunities outside Russia on the basis of this JV, initially over ten years.

Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (FEI/IPPE)

In 1954 the world's first nuclear powered electricity generator began operation in the then closed city of Obninsk at the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (FEI or IPPE). The AM-1* reactor is water-cooled and graphite-moderated, with a design capacity of 30 MWt or 5 MWe. It was similar in principle to the plutonium production reactors in the closed military cities and served as a prototype for other graphite channel reactor designs including the Chernobyl-type RBMK** reactors. AM-1 produced electricity until 1959 and was used until 2000 as a research facility and for the production of isotopes. FEI also bid to host the MBIR project.

* AM = atom mirny – peaceful atom

** RBMK = reaktor bolshoi moshchnosty kanalny – high power channel reactor

In the 1950s the FEI at Obninsk was also developing fast breeder reactors (FBRs), and in 1955 the BR-1* fast neutron reactor began operating. It produced no power but led directly to the BR-5 which started up in 1959 with a capacity of 5 MWt which was used to do the basic research necessary for designing sodium-cooled FBRs. It was upgraded and modernised in 1973 and then underwent major reconstruction in 1983 to become the BR-10 with a capacity of 8 MWt which is now used to investigate fuel endurance, to study materials and to produce radioisotopes.

* BN = bystry reaktor – fast reactor

Research & Development Institute for Power Engineering (NIKIET)

NIKIET in Moscow is one of Russia’s major nuclear design and research centres with a primary focus on advanced reactor technologies including those for regional power supplies, research and isotope production reactors, and neutronic systems for the international fusion reactor (ITER). 

NIKIET is at concept development stage with a seabed reactor module – SHELF – a 6 MWe, 28 MWt remotely-operated PWR with low-enriched fuel of UO 2 in aluminium alloy matrix. Fuel cycle is 56 months. The SHELF module uses an integral reactor with forced and natural circulation in the primary circuit, in which the core, steam generator, motor-driven circulation pump and control and protection system drive are housed in a cylindrical pressure vessel. The reactor and turbogenerator are in a cylindrical pod about 15 m long and 8 m diameter, sitting on the sea bed. It is intended as electricity supply for oil and gas developments in Arctic seas. In 2018 NIKIET also proposed its use for the RUR 100 billion Pavlovsky lead-zinc mine project in northern Novaya Zemlya.

In 2010 the government was to allocate RUR 500 million (about US$ 170 million) of federal funds to design a space nuclear propulsion and generation installation in the megawatt power range. In particular, SC Rosatom was to get RUR 430 million and Roskosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency) RUR 70 million to develop it. The work would be undertaken by (NIKIET) in Moscow, based on previous developments including those of nuclear rocket engines. A conceptual design was expected in 2011, with the basic design documentation and engineering design to follow in 2012. Tests were planned for 2018.

Since 2010 NIKIET is also involved with Luch Scientific Production Association (SPA Luch) and a Belarus organization, the Joint Institute for Power Engineering and Nuclear Research (Sosny), to design a small transportable nuclear reactor. The project draws on Sosny’s experience in designing the Pamir-630D truck-mounted small nuclear reactor, two of which were built in Belarus from 1976 during the Soviet era. This was a 5000 kWt/630 kWe HTR reactor using 45% enriched fuel in rods with zirconium hydride moderator and driving a gas turbine with dinitrogen tetroxide (N 2 O 4 ) through the Brayton cycle. After some operational experience in 1985-86 the Pamir project was scrapped. The new design will be a similar HTR concept but about 2 MWe.

Joint Institute for Nuclear Research

The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, at Dubna near Moscow, is an international physics research centre with 18 member states and six associate members. It has the IBR-2M fast periodic pulsed reactor of 2 MWt, commissioned in 1984 and modernised in 2010 with higher neutron flux. It uses plutonium oxide fuel. 

Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC)

At the Mining & Chemical Combine (MCC), Zheleznogorsk the ADE2 reactor was the third nuclear reactor of its kind built in Russia and came on line in 1964, primarily as a plutonium production unit. However, from 1995 heat and electricity production became its main purposes. The ADE-2 operating experience contributed to technological measures to justify and extend service lives of RBMK reactors at nuclear power plants, with considerable economic benefit and safety improvement. This work was given a governmental science and technology award in 2009. ADE2 was closed for final decommissioning in April 2010 after "46 years of nearly faultless operation".

MCC Zheleznogorsk also produces granulated MOX for vibropacked FNR fuel, using both military and civil plutonium.

Other R&D establishments

PA Mayak  at Ozersk is the main production centre for radioisotopes.

The Institute for Reactor Materials  (IRM) is at Zarechny, near Beloyarsk, Penza oblast.

TVEL's A.A. Bochvar High Technology Research Institute of Inorganic Materials ( VNIINM ) at Mayak supplies components for fast reactor fuel assemblies. It earlier developed the technology for reprocessing spent uranium-beryllium fuel from liquid metal-cooled fast reactors in dismantled Alpha-class nuclear submarines.

The All-Russian Scientific and Research Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operation ( VNIIAES ) in Moscow was founded in 1979 to provide scientific and technical support for operation of nuclear power plants aimed at improving their safety, reliability and efficiency as well as scientific coordination of the setup of mass-constructed nuclear power facilities.

In 2009 the Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute (MEPhI) was renamed the National Research Nuclear University and reformed to incorporate a number of other educational establishments. While partly funded by Rosatom, it is the responsibility of the Federal Education Agency (Rosobrazovaniye).

Public opinion

An April 2008 survey carried out by the Levada Centre found that 72% of Russians were in favour of at least preserving the country's nuclear power capacity and 41% thought that nuclear was the only alternative to oil and gas as they deplete. Over half said that they were indignant about Soviet attempts to cover up news of the Chernobyl accident in 1986.

In April 2010 the Levada Centre polled 1600 adults and found that 37% supported current levels of nuclear power, 37% favoured its active development (making 74% positive), while 10% would like a phase-out and 4.3% would prefer to abandon it completely. 42.6% saw no alternative to nuclear power for replacing depleting oil and gas.

Immediately after the Fukushima accident in 2011 Levada had only 22% for active development, 30% maintaining current level (ie 52% positive), 27% wanting a phase-out and 12% wanting to abandon it.

In February 2012 a Levada Centre poll showed that 29% of respondents favoured active development of nuclear power, while 37% support retaining it at the current level, so 66% positive. Only 15% of suggested phasing it out, and 7% preferred abandoning nuclear.

The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) took a poll in April 2012 on the anniversary of the Chernobyl accident. It found that 27% of Russians support nuclear power development – up from 16% in 2011, 38 % agree with the present level, and 26% want to reduce it. Nuclear development is supported by young (32%), highly-educated Russians (31%), residents of cities with a population of one million and more, large cities and towns (30-33%). Regarding safety, 35% consider plants of be sufficiently safe, and 57% don’t.

In 2015 a poll commissioned by Rosenergoatom found that a clear majority of citizens living near nuclear power plants were in favour of them, and that support had grown since 2013. Most figures for the local plants were more than 70% favourable, and for nuclear power development they were above 80%.

Non-proliferation

Russia is a nuclear weapons state, and a depository state of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) under which a safeguards agreement has been in force since 1985. The Additional Protocol was ratified in 2007. However, Russia takes the view that voluntary application of IAEA safeguards are not meaningful for a nuclear weapons state and so they are not generally applied. One exception is the BN-600 Beloyarsk-3 reactor which is safeguarded so as to give experience of such units to IAEA inspectors.

However, this policy is modified in respect to some uranium imports. All facilities where imported uranium under certain bilateral treaties goes must be on the list of those eligible and open to international inspection, and this overrides the voluntary aspect of voluntary offer agreements. It includes conversion plants, enrichment, fuel fabrication and nuclear power plants. Also the IUEC at Angarsk will be open to inspection.

Russia undertook nuclear weapons tests from 1949 to 1990.

Russia's last plutonium production reactor which started up in 1964 was finally closed down in April 2010 - delayed because it also provided district heating, and replacement plant for this was ready until then. The reactor may be held in reserve for heating, not dismantled. The other two such production reactors were closed in 2008. All three closures are in accordance with a 2003 US-Russia agreement.

Peaceful Nuclear Explosions

The Soviet Union also used 116 nuclear explosions (81 in Russia) for geological research, creating underground gas storage, boosting oil and gas production and excavating reservoirs and canals. Most were in the 3-10 kiloton range and all occurred 1965-88.

Background: Soviet nuclear culture

In the 1950s and 1960s Russia seemed to be taking impressive steps to contest world leadership in civil development of nuclear energy. It had developed two major reactor designs, one from military plutonium production technology (the light water cooled graphite moderated reactor – RBMK), and one from naval propulsion units, very much as in USA (the VVER series - pressurised, water cooled and moderated). An ambitious plant, Atommash, to mass produce the latter design was taking shape near Volgodonsk, construction of numerous nuclear plants was in hand and the country had many skilled nuclear engineers.

But a technological arrogance developed, in the context of an impatient Soviet establishment. Then Atommash sunk into the Volga sediments, Chernobyl tragically vindicated western reactor design criteria, and the political structure which was not up to the task of safely utilising such technology fell apart. Atommash had been set up to produce eight sets of nuclear plant equipment each year (reactor pressure vessels, steam generators, refueling machines, pressurizers, service machinery – a total of 250 items). In 1981 it manufactured the first VVER-1000 pressure vessel, which was shipped to South Ukraine NPP. Later, its products were supplied to Balakovo, Smolensk (RBMK), and Kalinin in Russia, and Zaporozhe, Rovno and Khmelnitsky plants in Ukraine. By 1986 Atommash had produced 14 pressure vessels (of which five have remained at the factory), instead of the eight per year intended. Then Chernobyl put the whole nuclear industry into a long standby. Russia was disgraced technologically, and this was exacerbated by a series of incidents in its nuclear-propelled navy contrasting with a near-impeccable safety record in the US Navy.

An early indication of the technological carelessness was substantial pollution followed by a major accident at Mayak Chemical Combine (then known as Chelyabinsk-40) near Kyshtym in 1957. The failure of the cooling system for a tank storing many tonnes of dissolved nuclear waste resulted in a non-nuclear explosion having a force estimated at about 75 tonnes of TNT (310 GJ). This killed 200 people and released some 740 PBq of radioactivity, affecting thousands more. Up to 1951 the Mayak plant had dumped its waste into the Techa River, whose waters ultimately flow into the Ob River and Arctic Ocean. Then they were disposed of into Lake Karachay until at least 1953, when a storage facility for high-level waste was built – the source of the 1957 accident. Finally, a 1967 duststorm picked up a lot of radioactive material from the dry bed of Lake Karachay and deposited it on to the surrounding province. The outcome of these three events made some 26,000 square kilometres the most radioactively-polluted area on Earth by some estimates, comparable with Chernobyl.

After Chernobyl there was a significant change of culture in the Russian civil nuclear establishment, at least at the plant level, and this change was even more evident in the countries of eastern Europe who saw the opportunity for technological emancipation from Russia. By the early 1990s a number of western assistance programs were in place which addressed safety issues and helped to alter fundamentally the way things were done in the eastern bloc, including Russia itself. Design and operating deficiencies were tackled, and a safety culture started to emerge. At the same time some R&D programs were suspended.

Both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Association of Nuclear Operators contributed strongly to huge gains in safety and reliability of Soviet-era nuclear plants – WANO having come into existence as a result of Chernobyl. In the first two years of WANO's existence, 1989-91, operating staff from every nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union visited plants in the west on technical exchange, and western personnel visited every FSU plant. A great deal of ongoing plant-to-plant cooperation, and subsequently a voluntary peer review program, grew out of these exchanges.

Notes & references

General references.

Prof V.Ivanov, WNA Symposium 2001, Prof A.Gagarinski and Mr A.Malyshev, WNA Symposium 2002 Josephson, Paul R, 1999, Red Atom - Russia's nuclear power program from Stalin to today Minatom 2000, Strategy of Nuclear Power Development in Russia O. Saraev, paper at WNA mid-term meeting in Moscow, May 2003 Rosenergoatom Bulletin 2002, esp. M.Rogov paper Perera, Judith 2003, Nuclear Power in the Former USSR , McCloskey, UK Kamenskikh, I, 2005, paper at WNA Symposium Kirienko, S. 2006, paper at World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference, April and WNA Symposium, Sept Shchedrovitsky, P. 2007, paper at WNA Symposium, Sept Panov et al 2006, Floating Power Sources Based on Nuclear reactor Plants Rosenergoatom website Rosatom website nuclear.ru OECD NEA & IAEA, 2012, Uranium 2011: Resources, Production and Demand – 'Red Book' Rybachenov, V. 2012, Disposition of Excess Weapons-grade Plutonium – problems and prospects, Centre for Arms Control, Energy & Environmental Studies Status of Small and Medium Sized Reactor Designs – A Supplement to the IAEA Advanced Reactors Information System (ARIS) , International Atomic Energy Agency, September 2012 Diakov, A. & Podvig, P, March 2013, Spent nuclear fuel management in the Russian Federation Gavrilov, P.M. Sept 2015, Establishing the centralised ‘dry’ SNF storage and the MOX-fuel production for fast neutron reactors at MCC site, World Nuclear Association 2015 Symposium presentation. M. Baryshnikov, REMIX Nuclear Fuel Cycle, World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference, Abu Dhabi, April 2016 M. Aboimov, Enriching the Past (legacy nuclear materials), World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference, Abu Dhabi, April 2016 A.V. Boitsov et al , Uranium production and environmental restoration at the Priargunsky Centre, Russian Federation , International Atomic Energy Agency (2002) European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) & Northern Development Environmental Partnership, Overcoming the Legacy of the Soviet Nuclear Fleet , Andreeva Bay 27 June 2017 Anatoli Diakov. The History of Plutonium Production in Russia , Science & Global Security, 19, pp. 28-45 (2011)

Related information

Occidental Petroleum’s net-zero strategy is a ‘license to pollute,’ critics say

The company’s climate strategy could result in more emissions than it prevents..

A pumpjack in an oil field, behind barbed wire fence.

More so than any other fossil fuel company, Occidental Petroleum — known as Oxy — has built its climate strategy around innovations that capture carbon before it can be emitted or pull it directly out of the air. The Texas-based oil giant, which made more than $23 billion in revenue last year, says on its website that these “ visionary technologies ” will help it achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and enable a lower-carbon future.

Scientists agree that such technologies will be necessary to limit global warming. But Oxy’s plans for them appear to be less about sustainability and more about creating a “license to pollute,” according to a new analysis from the nonprofit Carbon Market Watch. The analysis describes Oxy’s focus on carbon capture and removal as a “costly fig leaf for business as usual,” allowing the company to claim emissions reductions while continuing to profit from the sale of fossil fuels — rebranded as “net-zero oil” and “sustainable aviation fuels.”

The company “makes this whole spiel about meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals, but it’s very clearly flying in the face of that,” said Marlène Ramón Hernández, an expert on carbon removal at Carbon Market Watch and a co-author of the report. “What we have to do is phase out fossil fuels, not perpetuate their life.”

Oxy first outlined its net-zero strategy in 2020, making it the first American oil major to do so. Today, Oxy describes that strategy using four R’s : The company says it will “reduce” operational emissions, “revolutionize” carbon management, “remove” carbon from the atmosphere, and “reuse/recycle” it to produce new low-carbon or zero-emissions products. Its overarching goal is to achieve net-zero emissions for its operations and indirect energy use by 2040. 

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However, Oxy does not plan to reduce Scope 3 emissions by phasing down the production of oil and gas, but through investments in carbon removal. Direct air capture, or DAC — a technology that uses large fans and chemical reactions to separate carbon dioxide from the air — is a main focus. An Oxy subsidiary called Oxy Low Carbon Ventures announced in 2022 that it would deploy up to 135 DAC plants by 2035 , and last year Oxy bought a major DAC technology company for $1.1 billion . 

Rectangular direct air capture facility with built-in fans sits on cement with green hills in background.

Some of Oxy’s DAC projects are already in the pipeline. The largest, called Stratos, is under construction in the Permian Basin, a massive oil field, in Texas. If it reaches its nameplate capacity of capturing half a million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year — which Oxy says it will do by mid-2025 — it will be 14 times larger than the biggest DAC facility in the world . (That facility, owned by the Swiss company Climeworks, began operating in Iceland this week with a nominal capacity of 36,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.)

In order for DAC to result in net removal of carbon dioxide, however, captured carbon has to be kept out of the atmosphere for good. This is usually achieved by locking it up in rock formations. Oxy CEO Vicki Hollub, however, has said this would be a “ waste of a valuable product ,” and instead plans to use the captured carbon. In one application, it would be converted into synthetic electrofuels — low-carbon fuels produced from their chemical constituents using electricity — and sold to other companies. 

The other major application is for a process known as enhanced oil recovery, where CO2 is injected into oil and gas wells in order to extract hard-to-reach reserves of fossil fuels. This forms the basis for Oxy’s “net-zero oil” claims. According to the company’s logic, the atmospheric carbon dioxide injected into the ground cancels out any new emissions from the oil and gas it’s used to pull up. In an interview with NPR last December , Hollub said this approach means that “there’s no reason not to produce oil and gas forever.”

Before that, at a conference last March, Hollub told audience members that DAC would be “ the technology that helps to preserve our industry over time ,” extending its social license to operate for “60, 70, 80 years.”

Neither Carbon Market Watch nor the independent experts Grist spoke to look favorably on these approaches. Charles Harvey, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT who was not involved in the report, called it “absurd” to use captured carbon to make so-called sustainable aviation fuels; these fuels will eventually be burned, re-releasing the captured carbon back into the atmosphere. 

In fact, the whole process may result in a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions, since DAC is an energy-intensive process that is often powered by fossil fuels. Oxy has no publicly announced plans to power its carbon capture and removal facilities with renewable energy. “They’ll be releasing more CO2 than they’re capturing,” Harvey said.

As for “net-zero oil,” Carbon Market Watch calls it an “oxymoron and a logical fallacy.” A 2021 analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory suggests that this application would also result in net-positive emissions — both because it takes so much energy (likely supplied by fossil fuels) just to run a DAC plant, and, because every metric ton of carbon dioxide injected into oil fields extracts two to three barrels of oil. Each barrel of oil generates half a metric ton of carbon dioxide when burned, which means each metric ton of carbon dioxide used for Oxy’s net-zero oil may create 1 to 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions.

Closeup of Vicki Hollub, Oxy's CEO, against a blue background.

Hernández said she is also concerned about Oxy’s plans to generate carbon credits from its DAC projects. Even though none of its planned DAC facilities has been built yet, Oxy has already pre-sold or is in negotiations to sell DAC-generated carbon credits representing between 1.63 million and 1.98 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to Carbon Market Watch’s calculations. If the company uses the same captured carbon to offset its own emissions and generate credits, which can be used to offset the emissions of another company, “This is a blatant issue of double-counting,” Hernandez told Grist. 

Oxy did not respond to Grist’s request for comment.

Holly Jean Buck, an assistant professor of environment and sustainability at the University of Buffalo, said it’s possible to pursue DAC responsibly. Even a moonshot project like Stratos could be seen as having an important demonstration or research value. “The point is to figure out if the technology is going to work at a real-world level,” she told Grist. 

That said, she agreed there are ways Oxy could make its DAC agenda more credible. “They could make a commitment to building renewable power to power it,” she offered, or donate the technology to developing countries.

Buck and some other academics say fossil fuel companies should be doing more of this research — or at least footing the bill for it — in order to take responsibility for their role in the climate crisis . Harvey, however, argues there’s an opportunity cost to such research and deployment, which is expensive. He and other researchers have estimated that it will cost Oxy’s Stratos facility $500 to capture each metric ton of carbon dioxide. (The company predicts costs will fall to around $200 per ton by 2030 .)

Every dollar spent on DAC means a dollar not spent on more reliable, immediate emissions reductions. “There’s low-hanging fruit to do before you get there,” he said, like building renewable energy for non-DAC purposes, insulating houses, installing heat pumps, or putting more batteries on the grid with existing renewables.

“Almost anything is better” than DAC, Harvey said. 

As an essential first step toward a more credible net-zero strategy, Hernández suggested that Oxy abandon its aggressive plans to extract more oil and gas, since doing so is misaligned with scientists’ call for a dramatic cut in production in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). “It’s actually planning to increase its oil production, so there is clearly no intention there to transition to net-zero,” she said.

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Microsoft employees spent years fighting the tech giant’s oil ties. Now, they’re speaking out.

Accountability, the surging demand for data is guzzling virginia’s water, the world’s garment workers are on the front lines of climate impacts, new documents show oil executives promoted natural gas as green — but knew it wasn’t, us military bases teem with pfas. there’s still no firm plan to clean them up., behind the ‘butter board’: how the dairy lobby took over your feed, texas flooding brings new urgency to houston home buyout program, grist announces community reporting fellows for georgia project, the gulf coast is home to one of the last healthy coral reefs. it’s surrounded by oil., modal gallery.

Human-sounding AI can plan, help book your travel. But can you trust it?

company future plan

It wasn’t so long ago that travelers planned trips without the internet.

“Back in the day, our parents used to go to these travel agents and really kind of express what they were looking for and what kind of vacation they wanted,” said Saad Saeed, co-founder and CEO of Layla, an AI travel planner whose website launched this year. “Slowly, we kind of acclimatized ourselves to start using these search boxes, clicks, these forms and filters.”

Artificial intelligence-driven tools like Layla can now turn back the clock on that experience, engaging with users almost like humans to customize travel plans with lightning speed plus all the resources of the web. But does AI actually make travel planning easier and can it compare to human expertise? 

Yes and no. Here’s why.

Can AI actually understand us?

It can try. 

“What are you personally looking for in this trip and what do you want out of it?” asked Saeed. “Do you want to reconnect with your partner, for example, or do you want to just feel some adventure and thrill?” 

A human travel agent may ask a series of questions to understand a client’s needs. So can generative AI , which picks up on keywords. Mindtrip, an AI planner launched publicly on May 1, has an actual travel quiz that asks users to rank priorities like “Is your ideal vacation day an exhilarating adventure or a relaxing break?” using sliding scales.

“What we get at the end of that quiz, using the AI, is a really customized description,” explained  Mindtrip Founder and CEO Andy Moss. That then informs what the AI suggests to the traveler. 

Informed suggestions can save users time in narrowing down destinations and experiences, as well as  introduce places users may never have discovered on their own.

AI travel planning is here: How to use it to plan your next vacation and what you should know first

Can AI fully replace humans?

No. Layla may sound human, using conversational phrases like “I've got three cozy nests that won't make your wallet cry.”

“She has a personality. We try to make her funny and so on, where it's really that friend that can get to know you and then recommend you the perfect stuff,” Saeed said.

But part of Layla’s expertise comes from the real-life experiences of some 1,600 travel content creators  the Berlin-based platform has partnered with. Their videos and insights can give users a richer picture of what to expect.

Mindtrip also leans on human expertise, having tapped a limited group of travel influencers for curated content with plans to eventually open it up so anyone can share their travel itineraries and experiences with the public.

Story continues below.

Is AI a threat to privacy?

With all the rapid advancements in AI in just the past year, some users are wary of its safety .

“Data privacy is definitely one of our biggest concerns, and we ensure that none of the personal identifiable information ever reaches basically the model providers. That will all stay with us,” Layla’s Saeed said. “None of their personally identifiable data can ever be basically used to profile them or basically go into any of these systems, which are training these different models.”

Booz Allen Hamilton, the nation’s largest provider of AI to the federal government , focuses heavily on ethical and  secure AI, as well as adhering to the government’s policies on data collection. 

“We collect as little information as we can in order to provide a secure transaction,” said Booz Allen Hamilton Senior Vice President Will Healy, who heads up their recreation work, including Recreaton.gov , the government’s central travel planning site for public lands like national parks. “We don't save your searches. We don't save your credit card data. We're very careful about the data that we store.”

Yoon Kim, an assistant professor in MIT’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory , isn’t too worried about security in the initial brainstorming stages of travel planning with AI.

“I don't see, at this point, how AI-generated advice is spiritually different from travel guide articles that you might read on certain websites,” he said. “Travel planning is one really nice use case of these models, as narrow as it is, because it's a scenario in which you want to be given ideas but you don't actually need to commit to them.” 

What’s next for AI? 

Things could be different, though, if AI is used beyond trip planning. Deloitte sees AI being woven into all parts of travel.

“There is an opportunity for a real engine – I'm going to just use a generic term, engine – that allows you to search and pull it all together and to sort based off of your personal reasons for prioritization and then not stopping at ‘hey give me a list’ or ‘here's what to do,’ but ‘OK, now go create my itinerary, help me book it, track it all the way through that travel process,” said Matt Soderberg, principal, U.S. airlines leader for Deloitte. 

Deloitte’s Facing travel’s future report, released in early April, identifies seven stages where AI can intersect with a trip, from personalized recommendations based on past travel, online purchases and tendencies to day-of issues to a post-travel pulse, where travelers may be asked about their experience and start thinking about future trips. 

“When you solve across all of those, that's going to be the Holy Grail,” Soderberg said. “The difficulty is that doesn't all sit in one place. And so how do you get the right information and the right data to bring all of that together for a single experience for the consumer? And who's going to own that?”

Layla and Mindtrip, among others, already offer booking through partners like Booking.com. “It's all about making things actionable,” Moss said.

But for now, if issues come up mid-trip, AI tools can’t fix them like humans can. Humans still have to get involved.

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