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Putin Meets Morocco's King

President Vladimir Putin pictured on September 5 during the South African leg of his African tour (epa) September 7, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today met King Mohammed of Morocco for talks expected to focus on expanding political and economic cooperation.

Putin's visit to Morocco -- which is part of an African tour -- was the first by a Russian head of state.

Russia's nuclear power monopoly, Atomstroiexport, today said it would bid for a contract to build Morocco's first nuclear power plant.

(ITAR-TASS, Interfax)

Russia's Nuclear Power Sector

Russia's Nuclear Power Sector

Click on the map to view the locations of Russia's civilian nuclear power plants.

POWER OF THE ATOM: As Russia's economy recovers from the collapse of the 1990s, the government is moving forward with plans to expand its nuclear-energy sector. Russia currently has 31 civilian nuclear-power reactors in operation, with the newest being Kalinin-3, which came on line in 2004. Nuclear power accounts for 16 percent of Russia's total power generation. Three additional reactors are currently under construction.

Many of Russia's reactors are quite old. In 2000, the government announced plans to extend the working lifetime of 12 first-generation reactors. So far, seven of these reactors have been upgraded for 15-year extensions and all 12 of them are expected to be replaced by 2020.

Russia controls about 4 percent of the world's known uranium deposits, producing some 2,900 tons of uranium in 2002. Russia has four operating uranium-enrichment plants, the largest of which is located at Novouralsk near Yekaterinburg.

The government has not yet approved a proposal for a permanent nuclear-waste storage facility on the Kola Peninsula.