Russia to Build Nuclear Power Plant in Uzbekistan

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In a significant move to strengthen bilateral relations, Russia has announced plans to construct a small nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan. This project marks the first of its kind in post-Soviet Central Asia. The agreement was signed during a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Uzbekistan’s leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who have both expressed their commitment to deepening the partnership between the two nations. 

President Mirziyoyev also indicated Uzbekistan’s interest in increasing its purchase of oil and gas from Russia, signifying a shift in the energy dynamics of the region. This development comes as a reversal of the long-standing practice where Moscow was the importer of hydrocarbons from Central Asia. 

The construction of the nuclear power plant is a part of a broader cooperation that includes a joint investment fund, with Russia contributing $400 million to the $500 million fund aimed at financing various projects in Uzbekistan2. The nuclear deal, if implemented, will not only enhance Russia’s role as an energy exporter but also as a provider of high-tech products to new Asian markets, especially at a time when Western sanctions are intensifying. 

The planned nuclear reactors, to be built by Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom, will have a capacity of 55 megawatts each. This is a scaled-down version of a previously agreed 2.4-gigawatt project that is yet to be finalized. The initiative underscores the growing need for sustainable energy solutions in the region, with both Uzbekistan and neighboring Kazakhstan, both uranium producers, having expressed the necessity for nuclear energy to support their expanding economies. 

In addition to the nuclear power plant, Russia has also pledged to significantly increase gas deliveries to Uzbekistan. This move is expected to bolster Uzbekistan’s energy security and help it manage domestic demand, which has been challenging despite its substantial gas production. 

The agreement has been described as “historic” by President Mirziyoyev, heralding a new era in the comprehensive strategic partnership and alliance relations between Russia and Uzbekistan. President Putin echoed this sentiment, labeling Tashkent as a “strategic partner and reliable ally” in the region. 

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