Interview of Liudmila Zalimskaya, General Director of TENEX, with the industry publication “Strana ROSATOM”
17.08.2016, 16:55 / “Strana ROSATOM”
NEW FRONTIERS FOR THE NUCLEAR BUSINESS
TENEX has evolved into the Russian nuclear industry’s integration agent for international back-end sales. This SR interview with TENEX’s General Director Liudmila Zalimskaya looks at the primary tasks facing the new ‘integrator’, how it will interact with nuclear enterprises, and whether its structure will change.
- What was the rationale behind TENEX’s decision to venture into this unfamiliar line of business?
- At the end of 2015, Rosatom instructed our company to arrange promotion of high-tech solutions for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and radioactive waste (RW) management and nuclear and radioactive installation decommissioning successfully trialled in Russia in the global market. This is a very promising segment of the global market that, when explored, will not just generate extra revenue, but will also hugely enhance the competitive appeal of the Russian nuclear industry’s export solutions.
How can we make this work given today’s harsh competition and challenging political and economic environment? By supplying our foreign customers with comprehensive solutions that combine products and services from both the front- and back- ends of the nuclear fuel cycle, complementing these, where necessary, with solutions from adjacent fields. Our strategic goal is to achieve a share in this growing segment of the global market that fulfils Rosatom’s potential.
- Why was TENEX selected as the integrator?
- As far as I understand, Rosatom took into account a number of factors, of which I will specifically name the two key ones. First of all, it is TENEX’s ability to quickly mobilise its resources in order to accomplish new tasks, underpinned by a solid portfolio of diverse business competencies and a strong team. Then there are also our years-long, close relations with foreign energy utilities – the main consumers of products and services both in the front- and back- ends. We do not have to start from scratch, i.e. to search for customers and convince them that we are reliable. TENEX already has a reputation as a reliable supplier as well as strong business relations with nuclear enterprises that have proven track records in the back-end.
“TENEX’S APPOINTMENT AS THE INDUSTRY’S INTEGRATOR FOR INTERNATIONAL BACK-END SALES NOT ONLY TESTIFIES TO THE HIGH LEVEL OF TRUST THAT WE MUST LIVE UP TO, BUT IS ALSO A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY”.
- What does your integrator role involve?
- Figuratively speaking, we take on the role of the conductor in an orchestra. Our task here is to get an orchestra together and help them play in unison. By building up a comprehensive offer we match the interests of foreign customers and the capabilities of Russian producers while utilising, where necessary, the potential of the foreign companies that have competencies in the back-end. To undertake large-scale projects, international consortia can be set up in which TENEX could act as a linking agent.
- Will TENEX undergo any structural changes?
- At this stage, the company’s structure is hardly changing at all. We have transformed our small back-end project office – set up about a year ago to investigate the demand in this market segment – into a moderate-sized department, staffed with our own human resource reserves. The question of hiring additional staff will be addressed as particular projects move on.
- Which segment in the back-end is the most promising?
- The global reactor fleet is rather old and is going to see a large-scale decommissioning of nuclear power stations soon. There is going to be enough work for everyone for decades to come. Fighting your way into this market, though, is not easy, as the operators of nuclear stations to be decommissioned tend to, obviously, look to their domestic servicing companies. It is, however, possible to arrange with them for contracting some work or entering an alliance, and we are already working on this. The market segment for SNF management – which has way fewer strong players – looks more approachable for us, even though getting a contract for the provision of this kind of services is only possible subject to a relevant intergovernmental agreement. Most work available is in Germany, the UK, and Japan. We have long-lasting relations with energy utilities from these countries. Also, interesting are the East European countries, where reactors are operated built under Russian designs.
- When should we expect the first results?
- A huge amount of work has been done over the past six months to investigate the demand and give our potential customers a sense of the Russian nuclear industry’s back-end engineering capabilities. We have a good understanding of foreign customers’ needs and are ready to draw up business proposals over many items.
A lot here, however, does not depend on us. With its increased environmental requirements and strict safety standards, the back-end is a very conservative market – the distance from a framework agreement to signing a contract may turn out quite long. I hope that by the end of this year we will be able to finalise the agreements on a number of projects, resulting in an increase in international sales.
Press service of TENEX
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