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Russia to increase nuclear power use, boost oil sales to Asia

Russia plans to generate a quarter of its electricity from nuclear power within 20 years, from 16% now, and export 30% of its oil to Asia, from 3% now, President Vladimir Putin said. „We have prepared and started to implement a program of support and development of nuclear energy,” he told a group of academics near Moscow. „In the next 15-20 years, we plan to have 20-25% of nuclear energy in our general energy balance.” Putin's remarks, made Sept. 9, were posted on the presidential Web site yesterday. Russia is the world's largest gas producer and second largest oil producer, but years of under-funding and delayed reforms have left its power industry struggling to meet demand. Anatoly Chubais, CEO of OAO Unified Energy System, warned Sept. 1 of power shortages in dozens of regions this winter because of an „extraordinarily acute” situation in the world's largest power grid. Putin said Russia plans to step up oil sales to Asia at the same time. Russian oil is exported largely through Soviet-era pipelines headed west, either by land to Central and Eastern Europe, or to ports in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, from where most is shipped to Europe. „In all, 3% of our exports go to Asian countries,” Putin said. „Over the next 10 to 15 years, about 30% of oil exports will go to Asian countries.” (Bloomberg)