Russia's nuclear agency chief said Wednesday that the nation needs to build dozens of nuclear reactors in a massive effort that would require restoring production links with nuclear-related industrial facilities in other ex-Soviet nations. Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said that Russia needs to built about 40 new nuclear reactors in order to bring the share of nuclear energy in the nation's energy balance to 25 percent, Russian news agencies reported. Nuclear power plants now account for 16-17 percent of Russia's energy generation.
"We need to build two nuclear reactors a year beginning in 2011-2012" to achieve the goal, Kiriyenko said in the Siberian city of Zheleznogorsk, home to a major nuclear waste storage facility. Russia currently has 31 nuclear reactors and plans to launch three new commercial nuclear reactors over the next five years and upgrade existing ones to higher standards.
Kiriyenko said that Russia would need to restore production ties with nuclear-related industries in other ex-Soviet nations, which were run by the obliquely-named Soviet Medium Machine-Building Ministry. "We need to use the resources of the Medium Machine-Building Ministry left in other ex-Soviet nations to the maximum extent possible," he said.
While major nuclear-related industrial facilities are located in Russia, Kazakhstan is home to key uranium mining facilities and Ukraine manufactures turbines for nuclear power plants. Kiriyenko also said Wednesday that his agency, known as Rosenergoatom, will be transformed into a joint stock company within a year, but will remain fully state-owned, reports the AP. I.L.