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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 1, 2009
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Russia Invests in Nuclear Energy
July 1, 2009 By L.¯.    
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Despite the economic crisis, Russia is not giving up plans to build 26 new nuclear power units. "By 2030, nuclear power should account for 25-30 percent of all the energy produced in Russia, just like in many developed countries," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at a recent conference to discuss the future of Russia's nuclear power sector. "Let me remind you it is a mere 16 percent today."

Nuclear energy is seen as a remedy for the ailments of the Russian economy. By 2015, Russia is planning to invest around $56 billion in nuclear energy; $26 billion of that will come from the state budget. "We will need good funding, modernized industrial systems and timely completion of orders by industries," Putin said.

Russia first will need to deal with shrinking domestic supplies of uranium. Last August, the state corporation Rosatom announced that by 2025, it would build three new uranium mines in Zabaykalsky Krai where 88 percent of Russian uranium is mined. The mines will cost around $2.1 billion and construction has begun on the first one. The domestic uranium deposits will suffice for another 40 years. Besides Russia, most uranium is extracted in Canada (12,500 tonnes) and Australia.

Russia now has 10 nuclear power plants with 31 power units. Last year, Rosatom announced plans to build a new plant in the Kaliningrad region which borders Poland. The plant will cost 5 billion euros and is scheduled for completion in 2015. Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Rosatom, said the project has been discussed with the European Commission.
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