Putin and Mirziyoyev Announce $500M Investment in Uzbek Nuclear Energy

Putin and Mirziyoyev Announce $500M Investment in Uzbek Nuclear Energy

Putin and Mirziyoyev Announce $500M Investment in Uzbek Nuclear Energy

By Boniface Ihiasota, USA

Russia will build a small nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan, marking the first such project in post-Soviet Central Asia, according to Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The announcement was made during a meeting with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Monday, Putin revealed that Russia would contribute $400 million to a joint investment fund of $500 million to finance projects in Uzbekistan.

Mirziyoyev expressed Tashkent’s interest in increasing its oil and gas imports from Russia, reversing a long-standing practice where Moscow imported hydrocarbons from Central Asia.

Hehailed Putin’s visit as “historic,” stating, “It heralds the beginning of a new age in the comprehensive strategic partnership and alliance relations between our countries.” Putin reciprocated, describing Tashkent as a “strategic partner and reliable ally.”

According to documents published by the Kremlin, Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom will construct up to six nuclear reactors in Uzbekistan, each with a capacity of 55 megawatts. This project is smaller in scale compared to the previously agreed 2.4-gigawatt project in 2018, which remains unfinalized.

If implemented, this agreement will highlight Russia’s capacity to export not only energy but also high-tech products to new Asian markets, amidst increasing Western sanctions pressure.

Currently, there are no nuclear power plants in any of the five ex-Soviet Central Asian republics. However, Uzbekistan and its neighbor Kazakhstan, both uranium producers, have long considered nuclear energy essential for their growing economies.

Kazakhstan’s nuclear project can only proceed following a national referendum, which has yet to be scheduled.

“Nearly all the leading countries of the world ensure their energy security and sustainable development with the help of nuclear energy,” Mirziyoyev stated.

Putin also announced a significant increase in gas deliveries to Uzbekistan. Despite being a major fossil fuel producer, Russia continues to collaborate on crucial energy projects with regional neighbors facing energy shortfalls.

Last October, Uzbekistan began importing Russian natural gas via a pipeline that previously operated in the opposite direction. Despite substantial domestic gas production of approximately 50 billion cubic meters per year, Uzbekistan struggles to meet domestic demand. Russian supplies have been instrumental in preventing an energy crisis.

Additionally, the two leaders indicated their governments are working on large-scale projects in mining, metals, and chemicals.

Uzbekistan’s economy heavily relies on remittances from migrant laborers in Russia. The country has maintained close ties with Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

However, Mirziyoyev and other regional leaders have not publicly supported what the Kremlin terms its “special military operation” in Ukraine. These nations are also engaging with Western countries on projects, such as developing cargo shipping routes designed to bypass Russia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *