Dear friends and colleagues!
I congratulate you on our common holiday - the 75th anniversary of the nuclear industry!
Exactly 75 years ago, on August 20, 1945, the State Defense Committee of the USSR decided to organize a Special Committee and the First Main Directorate to carry out the work on atomic project. The latter became a platform for the creation of the Ministry of Medium Machine Building in 1953.
The idea of using nuclear power for power plants, ships and aircraft was proposed in April 1947. Already in 1954, the first nuclear power plant in Obninsk was launched.
The civil nuclear power developed rapidly. Just 10 years after Obninsk, in 1964, the first pressurized water (PWR) VVER reactor was launched at the Novovoronezh NPP. It was quite low-powered by modern standards, only 210 MW, but its importance for the nuclear power industry is enormous. Currently, there are six models of power units with reactors of different capacity within the VVER family, including VVER-1200. It is a Gen 3+ reactor and the main Rosatom export product.
In 1973, the world's first fast breeder reactor BN-350 was commissioned in Kazakhstan. In 1974, RBMK reactor was launched at the Leningrad NPP. By the mid-1980s, the total capacity of Soviet nuclear power plants reached a record of 37 gigawatts.
At the same time, Russia began promoting its nuclear technologies abroad. The USSR generously shared its achievements with friends and partners. Less than three years have passed since the launch of the main power unit with the VVER-440 reactor at the Novovoronezh NPP in 1971 until the construction of the same reactor in Hungary at the Paks NPP began. In total, during the Soviet era, 31 power units were built abroad, including Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany and Finland.
The experience of creating the first Soviet nuclear submarine was helpful in the construction of nuclear icebreakers. They extended the navigation and increased the volume of cargo transported along the Northern Sea Route. This opened a new stage in the development of the Arctic.
Our history is not without dramatic pages. The worst was the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. Chernobyl became a huge test for the country, and above all, for the nuclear scientists, but at the same time it was a symbol of courage. In order to eliminate the consequences of the accident, a huge construction base was created at the power plant in the shortest possible time, and up to 10,000 cubic meters of concrete were laid on certain days. A protective sarcophagus was erected in a record seven months.
The main lesson of Chernobyl is the realization that safety is the absolute priority for nuclear. We learned this lesson well.
Within the next 20 years, our scientists, designers, engineers have created safety systems that exclude human factor. Today, Russian nuclear power units with a unique combination of active and passive safety systems are the most demanded in the world, as evidenced by the batch of agreements for the construction of 36 power units in 12 countries.
The 1990s were another test of strength and professionalism for our industry. However, despite the difficulties, it survived. During these years, Armenian NPP Unit 2 shut down after the Spitak earthquake was restarted, Mochovce NPP in Slovakia was put into operation, the first unit at the Rostov NPP was completed, the first stage of the Tianwan NPP in China was successfully implemented. We were able to preserve the unique scientific, technological and human potential of the nuclear industry.