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Russia's Nuclear Energy Exports: Status, Prospects and Implications


Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Paper no. 61

February, 2019

Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, has become the world’s leading supplier of nuclear reactors through a combination of flexible business models, attractive financial packages and diplomatic tools. Their long-term nature and crucial role in a country’s economy as an electricity provider make nuclear power plants strategic assets. The prospect of a global surge in Russian-made nuclear reactors has raised concerns among Western observers who equate the rise of Rosatom with an increase in Russian geopolitical power and potentially a weakening of nuclear governance standards.

This paper discusses these claims by asking whether Russia’s increased role in the nuclear export market has adversely affected global nuclear governance norms and whether Russian nuclear power plant projects overseas can be considered effective foreign policy tools for the Russian Government. It also assesses the instruments used by the European Union to address concerns, linked to nuclear governance and energy security, about the rise of Russian nuclear exports.


Névine Schepers <p>Névine Schepers is a Research Associate with the Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. She manages a project on the geopolitics of nuclear energy and contributes to the programme’s work on Iran and North Korea. Before joining the IISS, she worked at VERTIC on nuclear verification issues and at IB Consultancy on Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) preparedness and response.</p>