14 Sep 2020 20:35

Rosatom chief to visit Uzbekistan amid talks on nuclear plant construction

MOSCOW. Sept 14 (Interfax) - Alexei Likhachev head of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, will visit Uzbekistan amid talks on the construction of two nuclear power plant units there.

"Plus there is Uzbekistan [among the countries where Rosatom intends to build nuclear plants], where I'm flying to [once I've finished the interview]," Likhachev said on the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

"We're discussing two units there very actively," he said.

The contract for building a nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan is not ready yet, and relevant negotiations with Russia are continuing, Uzbek Deputy Energy Minister Sherzod Khodjayev said in August.

"I can say that we have reached the final lap in discussing every detail of the contract, but we aren't ready to sign just yet," Khodjayev said in an interview with the online media outlet podrobno.uz, in response to a question when the contract might be signed.

The deputy minister said that the parties are discussing technical and financial nuances in order to sign the contract on mutually advantageous terms "without different interpretations."

The leaderships of Russia and Uzbekistan are not setting any strict deadlines for signing the contract, Khodjayev said.

"Sometimes it's better to wait to get more advantageous terms. This is one such case," he said.

Rosatom's Likhachev said in late February that the state corporation was expecting to sign an EPC contract for building a nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan in June.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry said in the middle of February that the NPP contract might be signed during a visit by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Moscow. The Uzbek president visited the Russian capital in late June to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.

The governments of Russia and Uzbekistan signed an agreement on cooperation in peaceful uses of atomic energy in December 2017.

An intergovernmental agreement was signed in September 2018 to ensure the construction of a nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan on the basis of Russian blueprints. Rosatom is set to build the power plant with two VVER-1200 reactors in Uzbekistan.

An area near Lake Tuzkan in the Jizzakh district has been chosen as the principal location for the power plant. There were plans to sign the NPP construction contract by the end of 2019, but signing was postponed until 2020.