Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during his visit to the west Siberian city of Tomsk in freezing temperatures on Thursday said nuclear energy development was a national priority, in particular as an instrument for combating global warming.
"This is an absolute priority for our power grid development, power generation development and the development of energy potential," Medvedev said at a meeting with local students.
He said nuclear energy development also followed the goal of switching to green technology in the fight against global warming. However, he said temperatures in Tomsk which were under 20 below zero Centigrade (-4 Fahrenheit) during his visit, contested the global fear.
"When I visit here, I wonder if all that talk about global warming is an intricate campaign designed by a number of large businesses to promote some commercial projects," the president said jokingly.
Tomsk Region Governor Viktor Kress, who attended the meeting, recalled government plans to build a nuclear power plant in Tomsk in 2015-2017, but said the project had been delayed.
"Anyway, once it is mentioned in our program, we will certainly build it, because our power sector has no future without nuclear energy," Medvedev said.
Soon after his appointment as head of Russia's state-run nuclear power corporation Rosatom in 2005, Sergei Kiriyenko announced an ambitious program to increase the country's share of nuclear energy generation to 25% by 2030 from the then 16%-17%. He also said Rosatom planned to build up to 40 new reactors at a cost of $60 billion to achieve the goal.
Kiriyenko said last spring that Rosatom's subsidiary, Atomstroyexport, was building 14 NPPs in various countries around the world with plans to sign a number of new contracts in the near future.
TOMSK, February 11 (RIA Novosti)
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.