Russia, Venezuela agree on nuclear plant project

Friday, October 15, 2010

MOSCOW - Russia and Venezuela agreed Friday to jointly build what would be the South American country’s first nuclear power plant.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his visiting Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez were on hand while representatives of the two countries signed the agreement.

Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Russian nuclear company Rosatom, said that the power plant could go on stream in ten years’ time at the latest, according to the Interfax agency.

Chavez had earlier briefed the Russian side about his country’s plans to develop a civilian nuclear program.

Medvedev, according to Interfax, commented that “a nuclear power plant creates independence, particularly when oil prices plunge”.

The Kremlin boss asked “why should Venezuela, a country with whom we maintain especially good relations, not operate a nuclear power plant”?

At the start of this year, Venezuelan authorities had to introduce energy conservation measures following the drop in the country’s electricity production, particularly from its giant Guri dam.

The nuclear plant accord comes amid Chavez’ visit to Russia, part of a ten-day through Europe and Asia. In addition to Russia, he is to visit Belarus, the Ukraine, Iran, Syria and Portugal, with the possibility of a stop in China as well.

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