Russia will start building small nuclear power station (SNPP) in Uzbekistan’s Jizzakh region this summer. The contract was signed on Monday during the state visit of the president of Russia Vladimir Putin to Tashkent.

In presence of presidents of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Russia Vladimir Putin, a protocol was inked introducing changes to the intergovernmental agreement from September 2018 on construction of nuclear station in Uzbekistan. Then, the Agency for nuclear energy under the Cabinet of ministers of Uzbekistan and Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation, signed the contract to build the SNPP.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev (right) and Vladimir Putin during talks in Tashkent on 25 May 2024. Photo by press service of the president of UzbekistanShavkat Mirziyoyev (right) and Vladimir Putin during talks in Tashkent on 25 May 2024. Photo by press service of the president of Uzbekistan

The station will have a power of 330 meagwatts (six reactors 55 megawatts each). Rosatom, general contractor, will attract companies from Uzbekistan for construction, the official press release said.

“The demand for energy resources in Uzbekistan is expected to double by 2050, and it is obvious that to ensure stable functioning of our energy system and develop the economy our country has to guarantee — in addition to renewable sources — base energy sources,” Azim Ahmedkhadjayev, director of the Agency for nuclear energy, said.

“All over the world, we see growth of interest to creation of new nuclear capacities, both in terms of construction of large NPP and small module reactors. We believe expansion of cooperation with Rosatom will help strengthen our energy complex with advanced technologies in nuclear energy,” he added.

“For Rosatom, this is the first export contract for construction of an SNPP,” Alexey Likhachyov, Rosatom general director, said. “And this is not a preliminary agreement, we are starting construction right away, this summer,” he noted.

President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, commenting the agreement, said: “Virtually all leading states ensure their energy security and stable development through use of nuclear energy. Having large own sources of uranium and exporting it to third countries, we consider this project vital if we think about reaching the new stage of development of Uzbekistan.”

He added that the two countries had been discussing the issue for several years. “The main demand is a safe, reliable and efficient technology,” the president stressed.

The project envisages employing the RITM-200N, a pressurized water reactor based on RITM-200 reactors tested on Russian icebreakers in the Arctic and adapted for land placement.

Since 2012, a total of 10 RITM-200 reactors have been produced for the icebreakers, three of which have been in use in the western Arctic. The first SNPP based on RITM-200N reactor is being constructed in isolated Ust-Kuyga town in Yakutia in the Russian Far East.

In early May, Azim Ahmedkhadjayev, speaking to correspondent, said Uzbekistan and Russia were still holding negotiations on nuclear station: “General words, nothing concrete.”