Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Russia's Nuclear Energy Investment

Russia-NuclearThe English-language news site Russia Today is reporting that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will invest $40 billion (US) in the country's nuclear energy industry over the next seven years.

After that he [Putin] expects the industry will become self-financing.

...Prime minister Vladimir Putin says Russia's budget, boosted by high oil revenues, has enough cash to finance expansion of the country's nuclear power sector.

A terrific amount of money - more than 40 billion dollars - is to be allocated from the state budget for development of the nuclear energy sector and the nuclear industry by 2015. We’ll have to build 26 major generating units in Russia in the next 12 years - about as many as were built in the entire Soviet period.
Some financial context:
At today's exchange rate, $40B (US) = 937 billion Rubles.
937B Rubles / 7 = 134B Rubles invested per year.

According to the IMF, Russia's GDP in 2007 was $1.3 trillion (US) or 30.2 trillion Rubles. Based on 2007 GDP numbers, the Russian government's annual investment in the nuclear industry translates to .44% of the country's GDP.

And what does .44% of the 2007 US GDP look like? $61 billion.

[Edit: That $61 billion outlay would be per year, though GDP is obviously a volatile variable. The point of the number crunching was to establish a benchmark comparison: what would a like capital investment mean in the U.S.]

8 comments:

Finnerty said...

Note to the next administration and congress: you may want to keep up with the Joneses, er, Putins.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, that's $61B/year in the US, or $427B for the seven year period (compared to the $40B in Russia).

Soylent said...

Anonymous, per year.

I'd rather the US goverment didn't meddle too much in which energy source is adopted and just provided a level playing field for the energy sources to compete on, but there's just no chance in hell of that happening.

KevinM said...

Yes, please use that tax money for something else. More effective would be:
1)Less regulation.
2)Maybe tax advantage for being carbonless.
3)Some form of post- project approval that locals with pitchforks and lawyers can't shut a plant built to spec down.

Sovietologist said...

I've written a blog post about some other aspects of Putin's nuclear energy announcement. It sounds like they're determined to build a "commercial" LMFBR.

Anonymous said...

Russia is an energy superpower.. it seems fitting to me they are taking the lead on advanced nuclear reactor technology.

From the cold war days the Russians must also have great expertise in all things nuclear.

--aa2

robert merkel said...

Frankly, in the context of the US economy, $61 billion per year is chicken feed - roughly $20 per person, per year.

Joe Thank You said...

I think at least the readers of this blog can identify with the sentiment that we in the US should invest more in technologies which can lead us to our energy independence.

However, it's important to note that Russia and the US have completely different economies. There are more differences in the state of each nation's energy industry than just the magnitude of real wealth per capita (of which the GNP is really a metric). However, GNP is still probably the simplest and most appropriate yardstick to use here.

It's still tough to try to figure out what this means for the everyday person in a more tangible sense.

Actually, in the calc above you missed an order of magnitude there, for ~300M people in the US, it'd be closer to $200 per person to come up with $60B. That's a new laptop for every American every few years.

However, it's still not a horrible number if you compare it with how much we're spending on gasoline, corporate bailouts, and college educations. Oh, I forgot to mention this little 7 year military action that I like to call "The War on Dirty Tactics".

Also, I'm not sure history would suggest that we follow the Russians when it comes to nuclear energy policy. It's kind of difficult to ignore the single most consequential event in nuclear energy's operating history.