RUSSIA's nuclear industry faces a battle
for survival in the coming years. Last
year, the industry produced 97.8 billion
kilowatts (kw) of electricity, 18 per cent
less than in 1993 - the decline apparently caused by fuel shortages, transmission problems and reduced demand.
The main problem is finance. At present, the nuclear plants are receiving only 45 per cent of w 'hat they are owed for the electricity supplied by them. Two of the biggest production associations - Mayak in the Urals which. reprocesses spent fuel and stores waste, and Atom-Mash in the Volga region which used to make reactors - have become insolvent.
The minister of atomic energy, Victor Mikhailov, does not believe that the industry is dying. He has drawn up a plan for nuclear power development which focuses on modernising existing plants, replacing old reactors and boosting nuclear trade.
The industry had requested, in vain, a budgetary allocation of 1,000 billion roubles as long-term credit. Promised international funds to help improve plant safety have also not been forthcoming.
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