Russian-backed nuclear plant "more than hypothetical"

Thursday, June 27, 2013

MOSCOW -- The prospects for cooperation between Serbia and Russia are better than ever, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić said ahead of his visit to Russia.

“We created the prerequisites for the closest possible cooperation between our two countries and peoples. Our presidents - Putin and Nikolić - have recently signed the declaration on strategic partnership, Serbia has quite high trade with the Russian Federation, and our economy is linked to the Russian market,” Mrkić told Itar-Tass.

The two countries are bound by excellent spiritual, cultural and historical ties, Mrkić said, underscoring that he sees only good in building the joint future.

Mrkić will speak at a conference on nuclear energy in 21st century which is being held in St. Petersburg.

The conference will address the issues relating to peaceful utilization of nuclear energy, and opinions will be exchanged on energy-related issues, the role and exploitation of nuclear energy in the context of global development, Mrkić said.

The conference will place a special emphasis on the influence that the use of nuclear energy might have on environment, the Serbian foreign minister said.

The conference will also be attended by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Sergei Kirilenko, the managing director of the state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, Mrkić said, adding that he will "certainly meet them."

Asked whether his participation in the conference means that Serbia is interested in building a nuclear power plant with Russia's assistance, Mrkić underscored that the law in Serbia prohibits the construction of such facilities, which means that any talk about a possible building of a plant in the territory of Serbia is "more than hypothetical."

Itar-Tass said that the Serbian minister stated the delegation intended to discuss the use of nuclear energy and exchange views on key issues related to the energy sector and the use of atomic energy in the context of global development.

"Special attention will be paid to the atom’s impact on the environment. Despite all risks and problems related to the use of nuclear energy, many countries count on this source. Thus, Serbia intends to focus on safety of nuclear power plants and the non-proliferation of nuclear materials,” Mrkić stressed.

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