Sunday, 10 May 2020

Rosatom fears that Covid-19 could spread to 3 nuclear cities

Rosatom, (Russian: Росатом) is a Russian state corporation headquartered in Moscow. It specializes in nuclear energy. Established in 2007, the organization comprises more than 360 enterprises. These include scientific research organizations, the nuclear weapons complex, and the world's only nuclear icebreaker fleet. The company was founded in December 1, 2007. The number of employees in 2015 was 256,600.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia continues to exist. Russia has so-called "nuclear cities." They are home to about 600,000 residents and workers. These 10 cities are secret and highly restricted areas. They were used to produce the nuclear weapons stockpiles. They were once generously funded by the Soviet state. However, the nuclear cities may have had funding problems over the past decade.

In the days of the Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic, the spreading of the virus in Russia must be stopped. There are some concerns about the possible spread of the virus to three of the nuclear cities. Russia’s nuclear industry is now managed by the state-controled Rosatom corporation. Most of these cities are closed to foreigners and even most Russians require special permission to enter them because of some of their secret facilities.

Special deliveries of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) have been sent to certain closed towns where dozens of cases have been reported. This Pandemic creates a direct threat to the nuclear towns.

At this time, Russia has 209,688 confirmed cases of Coronavirus infections and 1,915 deaths. The spread of the virus has created greater challenges to the worldwide nuclear industry. Rosatom has moved to sequester (isolate or hide away) its nuclear technicians onsite at the plants and facilities where they work to minimize their exposure to the virus.

Russia’s 11 commercial nuclear power plants operate a total of 38 nuclear reactors. Rosatom also has 36 power units at different stages of implementation in 12 countries worldwide. It is currently constructing 7 reactors overseas: two each in Bangladesh, Belarus and India, plus one unit in Turkey.

Unfortunately, some Rosatom employees have been infected with Covid-19. Efforts are being made to isolate all workers as much as possible to reduce the risk of getting the virus.

The history of Rosatom is interesting. It is linked to the history of the nuclear industry in the Soviet Union and Russia. In 1954, the world's 1st grid-connected powerful nuclear power plant, Obninsk, was opened and put under operation in Obninsk, Kaluga Oblast. The Soviet nuclear industry continued to grow. On December 1, 2007, the newly created creation was "State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom." In 2017, Rosatom decided to invest in wind power. The belief was that rapid cost reductions in the renewable industry will become a competitive threat to nuclear power. It started to build wind turbines. Rosatom was also concerned that nuclear export opportunities were decreasing.

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