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Uzbekistan: Nuclear deal with Russia still on the table despite sanctions

Uzbekistan: Nuclear deal with Russia still on the table despite sanctions, eurasianet, Even if Rosatom is not targeted by sanctions, its future projects could still be affected. Apr 6, 2022  When Uzbekistan fired the starting pistol four years ago on plans to go nuclear as a way to address the chronic energy shortages that plague it every winter, the world was a different place.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not an international pariah. And Shavkat Mirziyoyev, his Uzbek counterpart, was courting him as a guest of honor in Tashkent.

The high point of Putin’s visit was when he and Mirziyoyev symbolically inaugurated the start to a project to build an $11 billion nuclear power plant in an area just east of Bukhara. The work was to be done by Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, a commanding presence in the global nuclear power industry, and to be funded with loans from Moscow………

When Uzbekistan fired the starting pistol four years ago on plans to go nuclear as a way to address the chronic energy shortages that plague it every winter, the world was a different place.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was not an international pariah. And Shavkat Mirziyoyev, his Uzbek counterpart, was courting him as a guest of honor in Tashkent.

The high point of Putin’s visit was when he and Mirziyoyev symbolically inaugurated the start to a project to build an $11 billion nuclear power plant in an area just east of Bukhara. The work was to be done by Russia’s state-owned Rosatom, a commanding presence in the global nuclear power industry, and to be funded with loans from Moscow.

……………………   “It is absolutely the case that projects that have not yet been completed or that still are in the design stages are extremely vulnerable to sanctions difficulties and interference, even if Rosatom is not itself presently subject to such sanctions,” Richard Nephew, the director of the International Security Initiative at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, told Eurasianet by email. “Sanctions targeting financial transactions, technology transfers and the like will all undermine efforts to engage in and complete such projects.”

While there are clear risks to proceeding with the project, there are risks to scrapping it, too.

Aside from the certainty that cancellation would antagonize a belligerent Russia, finding a new partner to build a plant that Mirziyoyev said in 2018 would be completed within a decade would take time.

So is building the Russo-Uzbek nuclear power station still viable?

“Possibly, though given the long lead times required to develop and implement nuclear reactor projects, by the time such a project were to begin, it could be covered by sanctions,” said Nephew. “In general, it would not be advisable to start development of such projects now, given this risk.”  https://eurasianet.org/uzbekistan-nuclear-deal-with-russia-still-on-the-table-despite-sanctions

April 7, 2022 - Posted by | EUROPE, politics international

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