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Russia to build 2 nuclear power units a year from 2007

MOSCOW REGION, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will start constructing two nuclear power units a year inside the country beginning in 2007 to make the country competitive on the world markets, Russia's top nuclear official said Friday.

President Vladimir Putin met top nuclear officials to discuss the nuclear-power industry's development and ways to make it more competitive.

"We must have an adequate system for managing the [nuclear] sector to be competitive on world markets," said Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power.

He also told the conference at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow that four to five nuclear power units would be built a year in 2009-10.

The official continued that plans were in place to develop hydro- and thermo-power sectors, and added that spending on geological prospecting and uranium extraction would be tripled.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov in turn said nuclear energy had been in the focus of a discussion between his ministry and the nuclear power agency for several days.

Ivanov also said the ministry had invited the agency's experts to some facilities and showed them nuclear safety systems and strategic management achievements.

President Vladimir Putin said in January that global infrastructure should be established to give all interested countries access to nuclear energy with reliable guarantees that the nuclear non-proliferation regime would be observed.

Putin also said Russia was ready to build an international center "to offer nuclear fuel cycle services, including [uranium] enrichment under the control of the IAEA."

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