In an interview with RIA News, the minister claimed that he managed to persuade the Chinese side to begin preparations of the contract on construction of a Russian designed nuclear power plant in China. The plant, named Liaoning, will comprise two VVER-1000 reactor units. Once the contract has been undersigned, it will take 5-6 years to launch the first reactor unit of the plant.
On May 21 Russia and China reached a priliminary agreement on the construction of this nuclear power plant in North China. The reactor type VVER-1000 to be used at the plant has been strongly critisised for lacking security by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), its being the safest among Russian pressurised water-cooled reactors nonwithstanding. At present, China has three operating reactors, with an additional two under construction, but Chinese plans are to increase this number to several tens over the next ten years. It is expected that Russian President Boris Yeltsin will discuss the further progress of the Liaoning project during his visit in China November 9-11.
According to Michailov, Minatom sales of equipment and modern technologies in the field of nuclear engineering to China, will reach 150 million USD this year, while Russian nuclear exports in total are expected to surpass 3 billion USD before the end of the century.
Last week also brought the news that Russia is going to help Libya reconstruct a research reactor at Tajura centre of science. The science centre was originally put up in co-operation with Russian nuclear scientists. According to Gennady Tarasov, a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry, this nuclear agreement will not violate the UN sanctions against Libya. On several occasions, the US has protested against Russian nuclear aid to Iran. Both Libya and Iran are at the top of the US boicott-list for international trade.