Venezuela pushes for nuclear power

Chavez looks to Russia for help in starting a nuclear energy club.

    Chavev (L) is likely to look to Russia for help in getting his nation's nuclear programme started [AFP]

    'Good resources'

    Chavez confirmed he had discussed the issue with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

    "Putin himself has said it: 'We're going to support Venezuela so that it has nuclear energy'," Chavez said.

    Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom, said Venezuela had mineral deposits but needed to decide whether it wanted Russian help to exploit them.

    Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for the Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom, said: "We already have satellite information that indicates there are good mineral resources, different minerals that are very important for the country's development."

    US misgivings

    A framework agreement had been signed, he added, but pledges for co-operation were "all there is for the moment".

    US state department spokesman Ian Kelly expressed misgivings about Venezuela's nuclear ambitions.

    Responding to a reporter's question about whether the United States would be worried about nuclear transfers between Iran and Venezuela on Monday, Kelly said: "The short answer is, to that, yes, we do have concerns."

    Caracas is a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which would restrict any nuclear programme to nonmilitary purposes.

    The country also has a small, experimental reactor, built in 1960 at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Studies near Caracas.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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