Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with workers of the Kalininskaya nuclear power plant
12 december 2011
Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
Remarks: Good afternoon.
Vladimir Putin: Congratulations to all of you.
Remarks: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: We have awaited this happy occasion for a long time. Congratulations! We began construction of the plant back in the late 1980s, if I remember correctly. Construction was suspended in 1991. In 2007 we decided to resume the project. But as I understand it, the project was not exactly resumed but rather…
Remark: …started anew.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, exactly. I looked at the documents, according to which 20% of the project was ready, but the actual figure was 10%. Besides, everything fell apart over the years, so this was essentially a new project. We have completed it in just over four years, and have done very well in terms of time, quality and money, saving 7 billion roubles, as I was told. In general, I’d like to point out that our nuclear industry is growing and has experienced a rebirth of sorts. As you know, no doubt better than anyone else, we are building ten lager units at six sites. In the past year alone, the importance of nuclear energy in the country’s total energy balance has grown considerably, which will make our energy system even more reliable. The Kalininskaya power plant will account for 70% of the energy requirement in the Tver Region. It will also generate a huge amount of tax revenue! Mr Kiriyenko (Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Rosatom state nuclear energy corporation) and I were unable to reach an agreement on the exact figure. I predicted it would reach 1.6 billion roubles, but he says the tax revenues will be even higher.
Sergei Kiriyenko: Yes, Mr Putin, we will pay 2.5 billion roubles (in taxes) next year.
Vladimir Putin: This is a considerable amount of money for the region. You also have a solid portfolio of foreign contracts, which grew from 12 to 21 units in 2011. This means the power engineering industry will be kept busy for the next ten years under contracts worth more than $80 billion. You have built up some good momentum for growth. This is, in effect, a renaissance of the Russian nuclear industry.
This project was not an easy one. I remember visiting here, and your director saying, “We promise to deliver on time.” You have completed the project even ahead of schedule. This is great, well done! Furthermore, this is not your standard power engineering, but rather, that of an innovative nature. A lot has been done to de-monopolise the markets and expand the list of suppliers, which has allowed us to cut prices. This is certainly a good result.
Congratulations. I wish you continued success!
Remarks: Thank you.
Igor Kruuz (director of the Udomlya branch of the Nizhni Novgorod Engineering Company Atomenergoproekt): Mr Putin, may we take this opportunity to pose some questions to you?
Vladimir Putin: Yes, certainly.
Igor Kruuz: I have a question that concerns not only construction workers, but all residents of the city. Many people had been dispatched to the city’s projects by the Komsomol long ago. They have married and have children here.
Vladimir Putin: My congratulations.
Igor Kruuz: Thank you. Here is my question: I have lived here since 1985, and, along with my colleagues, have seen new construction projects emerging in the city. Unfortunately, Rosatom no longer finances social projects – it is not permitted to spend the government’s money on anything other than industrial facilities. You have noted correctly that we have managed to save considerable funds when building the fourth unit. Perhaps a proper decision (regarding this money) can be made at the government level? We are all residents of these cities, and we all use its preschool childcare facilities, schools and hospitals. So maybe part of the funds the builders have saved could be invested in social projects?
Vladimir Putin: What is your name?
Igor Kruuz: Igor Kruuz.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Kruuz, we made a proper decision in 2002, when we were short of funds for the development of the nuclear industry, and the government decided that all funds saved during construction should be primarily reinvested in the (nuclear) industry. I have said today that more than 1.6 billion roubles that were saved during the station’s construction and launching will be channelled into the budgets at different levels. As much as 1.3 billion will be transferred to the budgets of Tver and the Tver Region – yes, Mr Kiriyenko has confirmed this figure, 1.3 billion. This is the amount that the city and the region will receive additionally. Can they invest some of it in childcare centres or outpatient clinics?
Igor Kruuz: Yes, I think this would be a sound decision.
Vladimir Putin: At the same time, we also need to encourage the industries to do the best they can. Here is a resolution – I believe it was the 62nd resolution, adopted back in 2002 – which stipulates that all money saved during the project will be transferred to Rosatom’s development fund. Let’s consider making an exception in this case to give the builders some extra money, in order to reward and provide an incentive for their efforts.
Remark: That would be great!
Vladimir Putin: But on the whole they will still have to be channeled into the development of the industry itself… You see, if we look at… We are proud of our nuclear industry but it accounts only for 16% of the total power output. The relevant figure for France is 80%.
Igor Kruuz: We have much room for improvement.
Vladimir Putin: We don’t even plan such targets. By 2030 we want to reach 25% of the total energy production but this is also a serious challenge for us – we must almost double it, and this is why we will have to look for more and more funds for construction. In this context, let’s provide for some funds from our savings.
Igor Kruuz: Mr Putin, to continue this subject, let me ask you a question at the request of my colleagues, employees and the majority of the city’s residents. When you made the decision on the construction of a third unit and came to attend the commissioning ceremony, the construction head led you to these windows.
Vladimir Putin: I remember.
Igor Kruuz: He showed you the unit and we pledged to complete its construction. Now you are back here. I can’t show you this but some four kilometers from here there was a site for the construction of the Tverskaya-2 plant. There were many decisions on it – some were resumed and others forgotten. Now I have to admit with deep regret that the final decision on its construction has not been made. Why do I say “with deep regret”? Today around Udomlya and here on the territory of the Udomlya District… Why was our fourth unit a success? It was built on prepared ground and by people who had built the first, second and third units before. There were young people as well but most were experienced workers who could prompt them.
Vladimir Putin: I understand there were more than 5,000 people working here, correct?
Igor Kruuz: More than 6,500 people worked here, can you imagine? They are top-notch specialists, and I think it would be right to take the decision on building the Tverskaya-2 plant. I think this would be the right thing to do. We would save money, that’s for sure…
Vladimir Putin: How would you use these savings – on the fund, development or an outpatient clinic?
Igor Kruuz: I think there are plenty of places in Russia where money can be channeled. The main thing is to save them. Moreover, we could also keep our seasoned workers – there are not many volunteers for a new construction site.
Vladimir Putin: I agree. Part of the workforce will remain. Perhaps they will form a new collective.
Igor Kruuz: And we could develop instead of freezing the facilities that are already on this site. We won’t have to mothball them because the decision will anyway… You were right in saying that the industry is developing and generation must reach 20%-25%. Moreover, a motorway is being built between Moscow and St Petersburg not far from us, and I think additional production lines will be established there.
Vladimir Putin: This is a common problem for all major construction sites, and it must be resolved in a comprehensive manner. Now we are getting ready for the Asia Pacific summit in the Far East, building bridges, roads and an airport. Big construction companies are working there and they are saying the same thing. If we want to keep them going, we must load them with work, all the more so since we have ambitious plans for the Far East and want to develop this region. The same is happening in Sochi – companies are finishing major projects and they have good personnel… You are in the same position. It all amounts to good and timely planning and to steady work. Sergei, what plans do you have for this site?
Sergei Kiriyenko: Mr Putin, we have a so-called central station in our master plan. The Energy Ministryr is setting requirements for us. A central station must be built in the Central Region. There is tough competition for it – it may be in Kostroma or the Tver Region, for one. The final decision has not yet been taken.
Vladimir Putin: What do we have in Kostroma?
Sergei Kiriyenko: There is a site there as well – it was laid in Soviet years.
Vladimir Putin: Just a site?
Sergei Kiriyenko: Yes, just a site but here we have all the facilities.
Vladimir Putin: The facilities and the whole city.
Sergei Kiriyenko: This amounts to energy consumption and power grids. A grid company must be able to produce enough power. It goes without saying it is better for us to build here. This is true.
Vladimir Putin: The Federal Grid Company must also get involved in this. Do you have coordinated plans with it or not yet?
Sergei Kiriyenko: Yes, there are coordinated plans but for the time being the Energy Ministry is studying this issue at the government’s request… It is specifying the master plan for the next year…
Vladimir Putin: I see. Mr Kruuz, what you say makes common sense and there are definite advantages in your proposal. We must make sure that all power plans are evenly distributed in the country. We will look into this by all means and consult your superior.
Igor Kruuz: Mr Putin, we don’t need anything. Just as a bonus. We build well on time and for less money…
Vladimir Putin: We must transfer you from the civilian nuclear industry to the military one.
Remark: Mr Putin, the New Year is approaching. How will you celebrate it?
Vladimir Putin: At home.
Remark: We have a small present for you. Here are two stations under construction (we had the Bushehr nuclear plant) and here are two decorations of the Kalniniskaya nuclear plant. We have made more souvenirs for the unit’s builders – “Thank you” key rings they can put into their pockets. Considering that your decision was the main one and you are one of those people who has determined the future of our construction project, we would like to thank you very much. Here’s one for you.
Vladimir Putin: The decision is important but its implementation means more. If you hadn’t had talented and purposeful people we wouldn’t have been here now and wouldn’t have congratulated each other. So, you deserve a “thank you” more than anyone else. And thank you for the present. Happy New Year!
Igor Kruuz: I have a request, Mr Putin. This may be impudent but perhaps you would take a picture with us?
Vladimir Putin: I feel like we are always having our picture taken. Let’s do it.