Russia’s nuclear energy offer now in the courts of Sri Lanka
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Sri Lankan government has to decide if it wants to collaborate with the Russian state-owned nuclear giant Rosatom, Ambassador of Russia in Sri Lanka, Levan Dzhagaryan said.
This decision is now up to the Sri Lankan authorities to set up a nuclear power plant in the island.
The possibility of nuclear power joining Sri Lanka’s energy mix resurfaced, with the Russian Ambassador, Levan S. Dzhagaryan, advocating for small-scale plant during a press conference on Thursday (21).
Dzhagaryan’s proposal centers around a 110-megawatt “floating or land-based” nuclear power plant, presenting it as a valuable alternative to Sri Lanka’s current reliance on coal and renewable energy sources susceptible to climate fluctuations.
He highlighted successful nuclear partnerships forged by Sri Lanka’s neighbors, ultimately reiterating that the decision rests solely with the Sri Lankan government.
Responding to a question raised during a media briefing on Thursday (Dec.21), the envoy spoke of the current status of the bilateral talks on nuclear power cooperation between Sri Lanka and Russia.
Ambassador Dzhagaryan mooted the establishment of a 110-megawatt small nuclear power plant, either floating or land-based, in Sri Lanka.
He said Sri Lanka needs alternative sources of power, and to stop relying heavily on coal and renewable energy which is susceptible to climate change.
Speaking further, Ambassador Dzhagaryan emphasized Russia’s fruitful nuclear cooperation with Sri Lanka’s neighbouring countries, such as Bangladesh, India and Myanmar as well as Turkiye and Iran.
When asked about the status of the talks on the joint venture on Mattala International Airport, Ambassador Dzhagaryan mentioned that their proposal is “still under consideration”.
He also highlighted the increasing number of Russians visiting the island nation as a key factor for his country’s interest in the Mattala Airport, and said at least 200,000 Russian tourists are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka by February 2024.
Sri Lanka will call for expressions of interest (EOI) in setting up nuclear power plants, its energy minister said on Friday, as it seeks cheap electricity to support its economic recovery.
The primary source of energy in the island nation is from imported oil and coal, and hydropower. The government aims to produce 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and it sees nuclear power as a low-carbon option for its energy mix. It aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.
The government intends to include the safe use of nuclear energy as a part of the long-term generation plans,” Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said in a post on the X social media platform, after meeting officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Colombo.