“Nuclear energy is on the rise. There’s a rebirth, a renaissance, of the nuclear sphere taking place right now,” said Putin, who was making his first public appearance after massive protests against election fraud on Saturday that challenged his rule. He avoided any mention of the rallies.
Over 70 billion rubles ($2.2 billion) has been spent on the construction of the plant, but only about 100 new jobs were created. The regional budget will additionally receive 433 million rubles ($13.8 million) in taxes.
The new 1,000 megawatt reactor is the fourth unit at the Kalininskaya nuclear power plant in Udomlya, some 300 kilometers (about 180 miles) north of Moscow. Construction began before the Soviet Union‘s collapse in 1991 and was restarted in 2007.
The Kalininskaya NPP is one of the largest energy producing facilities in central Russia. It provides electric power to eight regions.
The first and second power units were launched in the 1980s. The construction of the third and fourth units was frozen in early 1990s. The third unit was ultimately launched in 2004.
Putin, who served as president in 2000-2008 and is running to reclaim presidency in next March’s election, has approved an ambitious plan to expand the nation’s nuclear energy industry over the next 20 years.
Speaking alongside Putin, Sergei Kiriyenko, the chief of the state-controlled Rosatom nuclear power corporation, said that by 2030 it wants to build 38 reactors in Russia and 28 abroad, mainly in Europe and Asia.
In recent years, Russia has overcome a public backlash against nuclear power that followed the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine, and the government has strongly supported efforts to revive the nuclear sector.
Source: AP News
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