Desalination facilities integrated with Russian-designed large capacity nuclear power plants constitute a new product of the Russian nuclear industry. It was announced at the 2nd meeting of the Rusatom Overseas Expert Council on Desalination. Special attention was paid to the business model of such desalination facilities as well as medical and biological assessment of the quality of desalinated water.
Dzhomart Aliev, Rusatom Overseas CEO: “According to our estimates, a desalination facility at a large capacity nuclear power plant with VVER pressurized water reactors has a significant potential in foreign markets. It can be confirmed by the fact that on February 10, in Cairo, Egyptian and Russian parties signed the Project Development Agreement on development of design for a nuclear power plant with desalination complex, as well as by high level of interest shown by our potential customers. Such desalination facilities can produce up to 170,000 m3 of fresh water per day from one nuclear power unit. We pay great attention to expansion of the product range, including desalination facilities integrated with small modular reactor plants and floating nuclear power plants.”
The first meeting of the Rusatom Overseas Expert Council on Desalination was held on September 17, 2014, in Moscow. Among the Expert Council’s participants are Evgeny Velikhov, President of Kurchatov Institute and academician of the Academy of Sciences of Russia, Yuri Rakhmanin, Director of the Research Institute of Human Ecology and Environmental Health, and Evgeny Muralev, Director of the MAEK-Kazatomprom Center for Innovative Technologies (Kazakhstan).
According to the existing statistics about two billion people in the world suffer from lack of fresh water. At the same time, major population growth rate in the coming decades is expected in the regions that are already affected by shortages of fresh water Latin America, Africa, Middle East and South East Asia.
In 2000, the United Nations established its eight Millennium Development Goals one of which is to ensure environmental sustainability. This goal includes reduction of the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water as one of its targets. Desalination technologies can also be used to produce water for agricultural and industrial needs. International cooperation on water issues in the world is implemented in the framework of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Water Council.
State Nuclear Energy Corporation ROSATOM (rosatom.ru) focuses on the technologies of multiple effect distillation (MED technologies) which copy natural processes of evaporation and condensation of sea water. Just like other desalination technologies, MED technologies require significant amount of energy, and stable operation of desalination facilities depends on security of energy supply.
The unique nuclear desalination facility that allows to desalinate water in industrial-scale volumes is located in the city of Aktau, Kazakhstan, on the Caspian sea. The facility operated on the basis of three-circuit reactor BN-350 and produced up to 120 thousand cubic meters of fresh water per day. In accordance with the Russian construction rules and standards, average daily consumption of water in the cities is about 120 liters per person.