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Kyrgyzstan mulls building nuclear plant with Russian help

Kyrgyzstan blasts US 'interference' over controversial bill
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Kyrgyzstan announced on Wednesday it is studying the possibility of building its first nuclear power plant, with Russian help, to tackle frequent energy shortages.

Kyrgyzstan’s energy ministry and a subsidiary of Russian nuclear giant Rosatom “signed a cooperation document”, the ministry said in a statement, raising the prospect Moscow will grow its influence in the region.

According to the energy ministry, the document concerns the “preparation of a feasibility study on the construction of a low power nuclear power plant in Kyrgyzstan”.

The former Soviet republic has remained economically and militarily close to Russia, which accounts for more than a third of the mountainous and landlocked country’s imports.

Moscow is seeking to maintain its influence in Central Asia in the face of the rise of China, Turkey and Western countries.

The conflict in Ukraine has raised increasing concerns in the region.

Earlier this month Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged post-Soviet countries in resource-rich Central Asia to ramp up ties with Ankara as he sought to take advantage of a weakening Moscow bogged down in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Rosatom said Russia and Kyrgyzstan had agreed to “develop their cooperation” in the construction of this plant, based on the “RITM-200N reactor” which was developed by another subsidiary of┬áRosatom.

Kyrgyzstan faces regular power cuts, with a network that is antiquated in parts, and relies almost exclusively on hydroelectric power plants, plus a handful of coal-fired power stations.

But due to a growing shortage of water to run the turbines, the country of six million people has made agreements with its neighbours.

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have also indicated their willingness to build nuclear power plants in recent months.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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