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19 Mar, 2010 10:10

Russia to boost nuclear energy role

Russia is targeting a quarter of the world's nuclear power construction and maintenance station market.

Russia is planning to build 26 new nuclear power units, said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Volgodonsk, which focused on the development of the nuclear energy sector.

"The plan is to build approximately the same number of nuclear power units that was built throughout the entire history of Soviet mechanical engineering. But whereas the USSR had been building them for decades, around 30 large units were built then, now we are planning to build 26 in the nearest future."

Putin also added that the aim was to boost the share of nuclear power generation in the total Russian energy balance from today’s 16% to 20%, going up later to 30%.

"We have formed a solid package of orders. But we must move on. I think we are strong enough to win at least 25% of the world market of services to build and operate nuclear power plants.”

"This segment is only 16% today. We must not stop at this figure, neither in terms of the balance of domestic energy, nor in terms of our share on the world market," Putin said.

The country has allocated over $2 billion to build 26 nuclear power plants to generate electricity for domestic consumption, with about $5.8 billion in spending planned this year on nuclear power development according to the investment program of RosenergoAtom.

And according to Vladimir Putin, private investors are also being invited to chip in.

“We are not only ready to invest in countries whose legislation allows foreign investment like Turkey and Armenia – where talks are ongoing – but also to invite private investors. For example at the Baltic nuclear power plant they are able to finance up to 50 percent of the project. And have 49 percent of the shares.”

This comes after Russia agreed on its plans with India to build 12 nuclear energy blocks during Putin’s official visit to the country earlier last week, with Belene power plant in Bulgaria also under construction at the moment.