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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Gazprom eyes nuclear power sector

UPI: Russian gas giant Gazprom plans to expand its business to nuclear power, Alexei Miller, chairman, said last week.

Gazprom wants to become one of the world's largest energy groups, but the move may also create some concern among its international investors and customers because it is increasing its risks.

Miller said he had already commissioned experts to assess the potential of Gazprom expanding into the nuclear sector.

"Nuclear power is one of the potential directions of our work in the near future," Miller at a recent conference on global energy.

Russian media reports said Moscow is planning to increase the number of nuclear reactors in Russia from 29 to 59 and upgrade old power stations to extend their lifespan. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to provide more details of about Russia's nuclear program at the upcoming Group of 8 summit in St. Petersburg next month.

Although Gazprom wants to take part in Russia's nuclear expansion, European consumers may be concerned Gazprom could become too involved in the sector. European trust in Gazprom dropped after Russia shut off the supply of gas to Ukraine on January 1.

Alexei Kudrin, Russian finance minister, has sought to alleviate European fears, promising that Russia would be a stable supplier of energy in the future.
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