A Russian delegation led by First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov signed a multi-billion dollar deal in Beijing on December 29 that calls for Russia to provide two 1,000 megawatt pressurized water reactors, as well as other equipment and training, for a nuclear power plant to be constructed in China’s Jiangsu province. The deal, estimated at between $2 and $3 billion, was a major triumph for Russia’s nuclear power industry, which is competing against companies from Japan, the U.S., and other Western countries for a foothold in what is expected to be a burgeoning market for nuclear technology in China. Workers are to start pouring concrete for the plant in June of next year, and the reactors are scheduled to come on line in 2004 and 2005. Chinese prime minister Li Peng and other high-ranking Chinese officials attended the signing, which builds upon a 1992 nuclear cooperation agreement signed by Russia and China. (AP, Reuter, Xinhua, December 29) Russian atomic energy minister Viktor Mikhailov, who has aggressively promoted the export of Russian nuclear technology, called the deal the "contract of the century." (UPI, December 30)
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