By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The cost of the first nuclear power plant on the Tudakul reservoir was estimated at $ 11 billion.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev approved an agreement with Russia on construction of the nuclear power plant (NPP) on October 16. The plant will be similar to NPP, which is being built in the Belarusian Ostrovets.
As expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Uzbekistan on October 18-19 and personally take part in the opening ceremony of the NPP construction site.
The nuclear power plant will be located not far from the artificial reservoir Tudakul, 25 km north-east of Bukhara. There are large industrial zones of Bukhara and Navoi close to the NPP.
The Russian Rosatom plans to build a complex of two power units, with the launch of the first power unit being planned in 2028. The capacity of the nuclear power plant according to the plan will be 2,300 megawatts, which should cover up to 20 percent of Uzbekistan’s electricity needs. The project is expensive: Kremlin estimates the cost atthe level of $ 11 billion.
However, the calculations of the Uzbek authorities show, the nuclear power plant will save up to 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas, which today produces electricity.
Environmentalists have concerns about the use of nuclear energy in Uzbekistan and recommend the country's authorities to use a safe alternative to NPPs - a solar power plant. The republic is located in the subtropics, and it has vast territories on which to install panels.
In other countries of Central Asia, nuclear power plants were used only in Kazakhstan. In 1973–1999, a 350 MW fast-neutron reactor operated in Aktau. Now there are no nuclear power plants in Kazakhstan, but there are agreements on the construction of at least two nuclear power plants between Astana and Moscow: in Kurchatov in the East Kazakhstan region and in Ulken in the Almaty region on the shores of Lake Balkhash.
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