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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Mongolian PM reaffirms interest in Russian-built nuclear plant

RIA Novosti

27/05/2008 12:49 KRASNOKAMENSK, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - Mongolia wants to cooperate with Russia in uranium production and enrichment, as well as the construction of small nuclear power plants, the country's prime minister said on Tuesday.

"We can say that Russia has no rivals in this sphere," Sanjaa Bayar told reporters after visiting Russia's largest uranium ore mining site in Krasnokamensk, Siberia.

The head of Russia's Rosatom state nuclear corporation, Sergei Kiriyenko, said at a meeting with Bayar in Moscow in April that Russia was ready to start working on a feasibility study for a small- or medium-capacity nuclear power plant in Mongolia.

However, Bayar said on Tuesday that a final deal cannot be signed until the country sets out a clear nuclear energy policy and passes a law on uranium production. He said the law was being drafted and could be approved after parliament reopens in fall.

Russia, which is stepping up uranium production at home and seeks mining contracts abroad as part of its strategy to build more nuclear plants and ensure nuclear energy security, is also interested in joint uranium production in Mongolia.

Mongolia estimates its uranium reserves at 60,000 metric tons. Russian experts have assessed the country's reserves at 120,000-150,000 tons.

In April, the two countries agreed to start training Mongolian personnel for a nuclear power plant in advance. Russia agreed to start courses in September.

In Krasnokamensk on Tuesday, Kiriyenko and Bayar went 700 meters (2,297 feet) below ground into a mine to see uranium ore production.

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