Russia: aluminum producers to finance nuclear power plants for smelters

ZAO Rusal and SUAL Group both said they had signed memorandums of understanding with the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy, including agreements on shared research, the creation of new nuclear power stations and the modernization of existing ones.

A Rusal spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswires that it was not yet clear whether Rusal would seek co-ownership of a nuclear power plant, or whether it would just want long-term supply contracts in return for help in financing new generation capacity.

President Vladimir Putin has pledged to dramatically increase the amount of electricity generated by nuclear power to help meet spiraling electricity demand and the growing strain being put on Russia's Soviet-era power infrastructure.

Russia's aluminum industry accounts for over 10 percent of the nation's electricity demand. Aluminum production consumes high levels of energy, which accounts for about 30 percent to 40 percent of production costs, the AP reports.