Russia, Mongolia confirm nuclear cooperation

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Moscow, May 27 (UNI) Mongolian Prime Minister Sanjaa Bayar, currently on a visit to Russia, today said Mongolia wanted to cooperate with Russia in uranium production and enrichment, as well as the construction of small nuclear power plants.

''We can say that Russia has no rivals in this sphere,'' Mr Bayar told RIA Novosti news agency after visiting Russia's largest uranium ore mining site in Krasnokamensk, Siberia.

He was referring to a statement last April by the head of Russian state nuclear corporation (Rosatom), Sergei Kiriyenko that Russia was ready to start working on a feasibility study for a small or medium-capacity nuclear power plant in Mongolia.

However, the Mongolian Prime Minister said a final deal could not be signed until the country set out a clear nuclear energy policy and passed a law on uranium production.

He added the law was being drafted and could be approved after the Parliament reopens in fall.

In Krasnokamensk today, Mr Kiriyenko and Mr Bayar went 700 meters below ground into a mine to see uranium ore production.

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.

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

UNI XC RJ AS1716

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