Kazakhstan to build nuclear plant within 15 years

Kazakhstan plans to build a nuclear power plant within 15 years on the shores of Lake Balkhash (in Karaganda region, central Kazakhstan).

We plan to construct two-three power-producing units at Lake Balkhash within 15 years, Kazakh Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Vladimir Shkolnik said at a news conference in Calgary after a visit by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Canada on June 23-28.

Shkolnik also said that within 15 years it is planned to build and launch two units at Ekibastuz State Regional Power Plant-2, which operates on coal, an Interfax correspondent reported from Calgary.

By the time construction of these objects is completed, the minister said that production and consumption of electricity in Kazakhstan will increase by about 50% - from 60 billion kilowatts at the moment to 90 million kilowatts.

Having noted that Kazakhstan recently started exporting electricity to Russia, Shkolnik said, "as reforms are carried out in the Russian energy system we (Kazakhstan) will receive additional access to the Russian energy market." "I think that the volume of electricity exported will increase sharply," he added.

He also called on the Canadian business community to play a more active role on the Kazakh energy market.

Over 40% of coal and 100% of uranium produced in Kazakhstan is exported, Shkolnik said. This should interest Canadian business, he said.

Kazakhstan plans to produce over 63 billion kWh of electricity in 2003. According to the Kazakh Statistics Agency, Kazakhstan produced 58.5 billion kWh in 2002, up 5.6% from 2001.

Kazakhstan produced 27.97 billion kWh of electricity in January- May 2003, which is 11% more than in the same period last year.

Zdroj: Interfax

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