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Russia, US likely to sign nuclear power deal

world Updated: Aug 28, 2007 19:50 IST

A senior Russian nuclear official said on Tuesday that a deal is likely to be signed with the United States this fall on the civilian use of nuclear power.

The document, initiated two months ago, envisages the transfer of fissile materials and relevant installations and equipment.

"We hope the document will be signed during the coming fall," said Nikolai Spassky, deputy head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power.

He said the agency aimed to increase the share of nuclear energy in Russia's power generation to 21-25 per cent from the current 16.5 by 2020. Russia plans to put 10 new nuclear power units into operation by 2015.

Agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko said last September that Russia was planning to build 42-58 nuclear reactors for its own needs by 2030, and 40-50 units abroad in the next 30 years.

Russia currently has 10 operational nuclear power plants with 31 reactors, but Kiriyenko said the country would need another 300 gigawatts from new plants to cover a projected energy deficit in the next three decades.

"We will have to commission new energy-generating facilities capable of producing 300 GW by 2030," he said at the time, adding that from 2015 the industry would commission at least two power-generating units annually without governmental subsidies.

Russia's reserves of coal and natural gas could be depleted in fifty years. With around 8 per cent of the world's uranium output, Russia plans to mine 60-70 per cent of its uranium needs domestically by 2015, with the remainder coming from joint ventures in the republics of the erstwhile Soviet Union, particularly Kazakhstan, which holds 25-30 per cent of the world's uranium reserves.