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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian, Kazakh leaders pledge to continue nuclear cooperation

RIA Novosti

20/12/2007 16:35 MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia and Kazakhstan had pledged to carry on cooperating in the peaceful use of nuclear power.

Speaking after the signing of a crucial Caspian gas pipeline deal by Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, Putin said: "The fuel and energy sector remains a priority area of our cooperation. Serious efforts have been made to deepen cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear power in line with existing agreements."

Russia and Kazakhstan, which holds 15% of the world's uranium reserves, signed an agreement in May to set up the world's first international uranium-enrichment center in east Siberia. The center is designed to be made available for countries seeking to process nuclear fuel for energy generation and should eliminate the need for them to build own enrichment facilities.

Putin said the two countries also plan to set up a series of joint ventures in the sphere, to promote innovation projects and join efforts on the world market.

The ex-Soviet Central Asian state is set to boost uranium production to 15,000 metric tons a year by 2010. Under the Soviet-era system, Russia and Kazakhstan shared a nuclear power infrastructure.

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