The results of the International Public Dialogue-Forum and Exhibition AtomEco 2017

The International Public Dialogue-Forum and Exhibition AtomEco 2017 was held in Moscow on 21–22 November. The event was organized by the State Corporation Rosatom, the Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision; with the support of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation and the IAEA.

The main topic of AtomEco 2017 is Clean Energy for Future Generations. In two days of work the Dialogue-Forum and Exhibition were attended by more than 1000 delegates and guests. The public and specialists discussed the issues of ecological safety and public acceptance of the nuclear industry, regulation in the field of environmental protection, new environmentally sound technological solutions in the field of waste management and decommissioning.

At the plenary session, experts discussed the role of nuclear energy in providing a global switch to low-carbon generation types and concluded that nuclear energy meets all the requirements for the future energy sector in terms of ecology and economy. However, the nuclear power is not an alternative to renewable energy sources. «We believe that these are complementary components that should form the basis of the future carbonless balance», — emphasized Kirill Komarov, First Deputy CEO for Corporate Development and International Business of Rosatom State Corporation, noticing the need to explain the advantages of nuclear energy. «If we compare the total cost of production throughout the life cycle, then nuclear energy remains one of the most effective sources of electricity», — said the First Deputy CEO of Rosatom.

One of the round tables was dedicated to modern ways of interaction with the public in the construction of the nuclear power plant, where the experience of organizing public consultations in Russia and in Hungary was introduced. Antal Kovac, Director of Information and Public Relations of Paks NPP emphasized the importance of economic, social and cultural relations connection. The issue of specific features for interaction with the public in the territory where Russian nuclear power plants are designed or built was separately raised. In particular, the experience of interaction with the public was introduced in the new country for the AtomEco forum — in India. The round table participants also noted that nuclear technologies can be used in a variety of industries, the main thing is to correctly explain to the population how these technologies can be not only safe, but also useful. Thus Natalia Zhdanova, Director of the Nuclear Society of Kazakhstan told about the production of radiopharmaceuticals on the basis of the VVRK research reactor of the National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan and about the use of nuclear technologies for the sterilization of medical equipment. «Having such a unique experience, we should tell as much as possible about this to our population», — said the expert from Kazakhstan.

The best practices of Rosatom and its enterprises in the creation and development of a two-component nuclear power system in Russia, the advantages of closure of the nuclear fuel cycle in terms of ecological safety and rational use of natural resources were introduced at the round table «Closed Nuclear Fuel Cycle as the Basis of Environmentally Sound Nuclear Power. Modern Russian technologies for radioactive waste handling».

For the first time, the issues of radiation-ecological aspects of the uranium ores mining were raised at the AtomEco for discussion with the public. Representatives of JSC Khiagda, mining uranium in Buryatia; JSC VNIPIpromtechnologii, a developer of uranium mining technologies; Research Institute of Radiation Hygiene, experts from Kyrgyzstan and the IAEA addressed the round table on this topic.

One of the important events of AtomEco 2017 was the discussion of the Fifth National Report of the Russian Federation on the fulfillment of the obligations arising from the Unified Convention on Safe Handling of Waste Fuel (WF) and Safe Handling of Radioactive Waste (RW). The report was published by State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom on November 13, the first time before its submission to the IAEA. Experts and representatives of the public took part in the discussion of the report. Oleg Kryukov, Director for Public Policy on Radioactive Waste, Spent Nuclear Fuel and Nuclear Decommissioning of the Rosatom, Igor Linge, Deputy Director of IBRAE and Yevgeny Kudryavtsev, Head of the Department of Rostekhnadzor delivered explanations.

A great interest of AtomEco 2017 participants was caused by the round table «The Arctic and the Atom: Development and Ecology». It was noted that the integrated development of the Arctic region is one of Russia's strategic priorities and that the development of the Arctic will require the use of modern economically efficient and environmentally sound technologies, including those created by the Russian nuclear industry. In particular, Alexandr Pimenov, Deputy CEO of NIKIET for Innovative Projects, presented a range of reactor unit projects developed in this institute for small nuclear power plants (ACMM), including the ACMM project with the «Shelf» integrated reactor unit.

15 sessions and round tables in total were held on the AtomEco 2017 site in the framework of three topical ways: «Safety, nuclear technologies, ecology», «Control and protection of the environment», «Society and nuclear industry».

Also on the margins of the forum, the cooperation agreement was signed between the State Corporation Rosatom and the French National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ANDRA) in terms of the safe final isolation of radioactive waste.

Exhibition AtomEco 2017 demonstrated advanced technologies and projects in the field of handling radioactive waste, spent nuclear fuel, decommissioning, and treatment of various media. The expositions were presented by divisions and enterprises of Rosatom, including: FSUE «National operator for radioactive waste management», «RosRAO», TVEL JSC, Atomenergomash JSC, ASE Group of companies JSC, Rosenergoatom Concern JSC, Mining and Chemical Combine, Mayak Production Association, FSUE «RADON». Event operators — Atomexpo LLC, ANO NIIPE.