Russia will build a nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan | energy news

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev says Uzbekistan is also interested in buying more oil and gas from Russia.

Russia will build a small nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan, the first such project in post-Soviet Central Asia, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said during his meeting with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin said on Monday that Russia would put $400 million into a $500 million joint investment fund to finance projects in Uzbekistan.

Mirziyoyev also said Tashkent was interested in buying more oil and gas from Russia, a change from decades-old practice in which Moscow imported hydrocarbons from Central Asia.

The Uzbek president described Putin's visit as “historic.”

“It heralds the beginning of a new era in comprehensive strategic partnership and alliance relations between our countries,” Mirziyoyev said.

Putin described Tashkent as a “strategic partner and reliable ally.”

According to documents published by the Kremlin, the Russian state nuclear company Rosatom will build up to six nuclear reactors in Uzbekistan with a capacity of 55 megawatts each, a project on a much smaller scale than the 2.4 gigawatts agreed in 2018, which is still to be completed. be concretized. finalized.

The deal, if implemented, will showcase Russia's ability to export not only energy but also high-tech products to new Asian markets, at a time when the West is increasing pressure on it through sanctions.

There are no nuclear power plants in any of Central Asia's five former Soviet republics, although Uzbekistan and its neighbor Kazakhstan, both uranium producers, have long said their growing economies need them.

The Kazakh project, however, can only move forward after a national referendum that has not yet been scheduled.

“Almost all the world's leading countries ensure their energy security and sustainable development with the help of nuclear energy,” Mirziyoyev said.

gas deliveries

Putin also announced that Moscow would dramatically increase gas supplies to Uzbekistan.

Russia, a major producer of fossil fuels, has major energy projects with its neighbors in the region, which face energy deficits despite having their own oil and gas resources.

Last October, Uzbekistan began importing Russian natural gas through the same pipeline that previously pumped it in the opposite direction.

Although its own gas production remains substantial, around 50 billion cubic meters a year, Uzbekistan is struggling to fully meet domestic demand, and Russian supplies have allowed it to avoid an energy crisis.

The two leaders also said their governments were working on big projects in mining, metals and chemicals.

Uzbekistan, whose economy relies heavily on remittances from migrant workers working in Russia, has maintained close ties with Moscow after it invaded Ukraine in 2022.

However, Mirziyoyev and other leaders in the region have not spoken publicly in support of what the Kremlin calls its special military operation in Ukraine, and countries in the region are also working with the West on projects such as cargo transport routes designed to avoid Russia. .

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