Russia sees China role in floating nuke plant
Updated: 2005-10-13 08:18
Russia plans to start building floating nuclear power stations next year, possibly with participation by China if domestic financing for the project is insufficient, a senior Russian atomic energy official said.
A Russian employee polishes the interior of a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power reactor, in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2004. [AFP]
"We signed a contract with China on terms" for a potential loan to help finance the project if needed, Alexander Polushkin, head of development at Russia's Rosenergoatom nuclear agency, was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying.
The agency has plans to invest 35 million dollars next year to start building the floating nuclear power stations, around 14 million dollars of which could consist of loans from a Chinese bank, he said.
Rosenergoatom has lobbied for the project, which has been on the drawing board for years, to be financed in full by the Russian government budget. If that money is allocated in next year's Russian budget, "we will drop the Chinese loan and build the floating stations ourselves," he said.
If Russia does not allocate enough money to finance the project however, Chinese shipyards could build the main power plant housing, which would then be transported to Russia to be outfitted with nuclear reactors, Polushkin said.
Russia wants to build the floating, mobile nuclear power stations, an unprecedented engineering undertaking, to resolve difficulties in supplying power to hard-to-reach parts of Russia's northern and Far East regions.
The project was originally planned to begin in 2003 but has been on hold due to lack of funding.