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Rosatom to Sow New Field

Rosatom to Sow New Field

04.03.2013 — Analysis

Rosatom Corporation has offered to build an industrial park in the Novouralsk Urban Okrug together with the government of the Sverdlovsk region. Space in an open field was needed so that foreign companies could work with subsidiaries of the Ural Electromechanical Integrated Plant (UEIP), which is closed to foreigners. The atomic corporation is not yet looking for foreigners, but this is rather immaterial as explains a correspondent from RusBusinessNews: the future of the industrial park will mainly depend on the development of the production market planned there.

The 250-hectare park is located 15 kilometers from the Ekaterinburg – Serov highway not far from the secured fence surrounding the closed city of Novouralsk. Its key residents will be Rosatom enterprises: "Electrochemical Converter Plant" LLC and "Ecoalliance" LLC. They plan to produce autonomous current systems on solid oxide fuel cells, catalytic exhaust gas neutralizers and hydrocarbon-fiber-based composite materials. According to preliminary estimates, production volume will reach 4.3 billion rubles by 2020 and 1,000 people will be employed.

Vladimir Mashkov, head of Novouralsk Urban Okrug, currently reports that project estimate documentation has been prepared and survey work has been performed. After residents have been identified, preparation of the grounds and construction infrastructure will begin in 2014, which are estimated to cost around 345 million rubles.

City authorities say that Novouralsk enterprises have reduced approximately 15,000 employees in the past few years, one-third of which now travel to other cities for work. Thus, city government is very interested in creating new jobs. Rosatom is also thinking about job placement for specialists whose positions were terminated during the reorganization of the Ural Electromechanical Integrated Plant. Deputy prime minister of the Sverdlovsk regional government, Aleksandr Petrov, confirms that the corporation is ready to help finance not just the building of factories but also the formation of engineering networks to the new industrial area.

According to information provided by the executive director of the Novouralsk Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Denis Skomorokhov, Ecoalliance is prepared to expand production of its gas neutralization system for the industrial park, in turn drawing foreign companies, the names of which are being kept secret. Foreigners are prepared to build a factory in Russia but they need an area with a finished infrastructure.

Head of the catalyst lab at Ecoalliance LLC, Sergei Denisov, told RusBusinessNews that the company has been successfully creating catalytic gas neutralizers without foreigners for quite some time and thus linking the arrival of foreign companies with the development of production is not entirely correct. In general, we can do without them, although there is value in cooperation: investment in expanding production never hurt anyone and it would be difficult to secure a position in the difficult western market without help from foreign companies. The sole Russian manufacturer of catalytic neutralizers has such plans: long-term cooperation with leading automobile companies allowed the company to arrange for the production of neutralizers for both motorcycles and heavy-load dump trucks for quarries.

There is lack of clarity with foreigners and the electrochemical converter plant. Employees of the company indicate that they themselves have not yet determined who will be called to work on the project and why. They say that development of the industrial park is not associated with availability amongst foreign residents. It is mainly needed by Russian fuel cell producers because legislation on closed territorial entity has their hands bound tightly. There will be more options for conducting new projects in the technopark. And the general director of the "Electrochemical Converter Plant" LLC, Aleksandr Stikhin, believes that a foreign participant is needed to improve technology and take advantage of world experience.

Fundamentally, there are many new potential current sources. The Ural Electromechanical Integrated Plant at one time decided on a generator running on alkaline fuel cells. It was almost 20% cheaper than polymers and allowed the use of catalysts without precious metals. But it had one fundamental disadvantage: one kilowatt of produced energy cost 10 thousand Euro, which of course did not meet the needs of users having a different understanding about cost and fuel cell properties.

Aleksandr Stikhin confirms that foreigners came closer to creating a current source with more nonexpendable resources and basically the same efficacy. It was thus decided in Novouralsk to develop a fundamentally different current source. The use of foreign technology may significantly speed up production: according to Stikhin, residents from different countries will definitely come to the industrial park if they are interested in the Russian market.

First deputy head of the electrochemical converter plant, Vladimir Matrenin, stresses that prior work will not be ignored just because the direction is changing. The company is just expanding its options. At the moment, specialists have a hard time imaging in which direction they'll be headed in the future and that worries them much more than the number of residents in the industrial park.

Governor of Sverdlovsk region, Evgeny Kuyvashev, feels that there should be no fewer than three residents per 100 hectares for projects like "green fields". For Novouralsk, this means that there should be seven of them. It is not yet known where to find five more investors. But, there is a fear that if the market for new current sources does not develop then the electrochemical converter plant will also have nothing to do in the industrial park. It's not for nothing that managers at the converter plant are referring to themselves as potential residents.

Vladimir Terletsky

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