Russian atomic power chief hails new plant in China

Monday, December 17, 2007

MOSCOW (Thomson Financial) - Russia and China will inaugurate an atomic power station in Jiangsu province on December 20, as Moscow steps up construction of such stations worldwide, a top Russian official has said.

The head of Russian atomic power station contractor Atomstroiexport, Sergei Shmatko, told journalists Russia was shaking off the stigma attached to its nuclear industry after the Soviet-era Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 and was in talks with European and Asian countries.

'From 1986 after Chernobyl, Russia had not built a new station from scratch.... For us the Tianwan station that has been launched this year gives a clear signal to the world that Russia is capable of building a major, complex power station,' Shmatko said at a briefing.

'This is one of the most modern power stations in the world, meeting all international safety demands, with many unique technological solutions that will be used on other projects,' he said.

He said Russia was participating in a tender to build a power station in Morocco and also hoped to attract orders from several Asian countries considering nuclear power, including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

He also hailed a decision earlier this month by the executive arm of the European Union, the European Commission, to approve a plan for Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Bulgaria at Belene.

'This means Europe has approved our standards. It's key, not only for cooperation with this fraternal country but also for entry to the European market,' Shmatko said.

The first of the two light-water reactor power units Russia has built at Tianwan in eastern China was commissioned in June and the second in September.

Shmatko said Russia had charged 1.34 bln usd for its services over the decade-long Tianwan project, although China had spent more fulfilling its side of the contract.

He insisted that delays encountered along the way were not Russia's fault and that the Russian company had fulfilled its obligations.

China plans a big increase in the number of its nuclear power stations partly due to concerns about global warming but also to reduce its dependence on coal.

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