The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) will participate in restoration of Tajikistan’s nuclear research reactor, ARGUS-FTI, Farhod Rahimi, President of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, told reporters in Dushanbe on February 12. 

According to him, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) will also participate in restoration of Tajikistan’s nuclear research rector.   

Built at the Umarov Physical and Technical Institute in Dushanbe, the ARGUS-FTI research reactor is expected to be reintroduced into operation in 2020.

35 million U.S. dollars are reportedly needed for implementation of the government’s program to refurbish and restart this nuclear research rector.  The program is designed for 2016-2020.

Recall, a government-to-government agreement between Tajikistan and Russian for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy was signed here on February 27, 2017 during Russian President Putin’s visit to Tajikistan.

The document, which provides for participation of Russian researchers in refurbishing Tajikistan’s nuclear research reactor in Dushanbe, was inked by Farhod Rahimi, President of Tajikistan’s Academy of Sciences, and Aleksey Likhachev, Director-General of Russia’s Rosatom. 

The agreement regulates issues related to conduct by scientists of the two countries of researches in the field of the peaceful use of nuclear energy. 

The agreement also provides for training personnel for Tajikistan at Russian universities and nuclear research centers.   

Argus is a 20MW homogeneous molten salt reactor which was built at the Umarov Physical and Technical Institute in Dushanbe but was never operated.  A similar reactor was built at Russia's Kurchatov Institute.

The work to restore Argus-FTI will be undertaken with Russian assistance.  The first stage of the program (2016-2017) provides for training of the staff, design and survey activities, and production of the project documentation.  The second stage (2018-2020) will involve the refurbishment of the reactor and construction of facilities to produce radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals.  The reactor equipment has been "mothballed" but preliminary investigations have shown that two thirds of the equipment is useable.  However, complete replacement of the reactor control system is required.

Established in 2007, Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation is a state corporation (non-profit organization) in Russia, the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex.  It is headquartered in Moscow.  Rosatom is the only vendor in the world able to offer the nuclear industry’s entire range of products and services.  It runs all nuclear assets of the Russian Federation, both civil and weapons.  Along with commercial activities which move forward nuclear power and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, it acts as a governmental agent, primarily in the field of national security (nuclear deterrence), nuclear and radiation safety, basic and applied science.  Besides, it has the authority to fulfill on behalf of the Russian Federation the international commitments undertaken by the nation with regard to the peaceful use of atomic energy and non-proliferation. 

Founded in 1955, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is a state-owned entity.  CNNC's president and vice-president are appointed by the Premier of the State Council.  However the CNNC is a self-supporting economic corporation, not a government administrative body. It oversees all aspects of China's civilian and military nuclear programs.  According to its own mission statement, it “is a main part of the national nuclear technology industry and a leading element of national strategic nuclear forces and nuclear energy development.”  CNNC is a nationwide industrial conglomerate integrating science, technology, industry, and international trade.