Georgia Hopes For France’s Help In Building Its First N-Plant

GEORGIA HOPES FOR FRANCE’S HELP IN BUILDING ITS FIRST N-PLANT

ITAR-TASS News Agency, Russia
June 15, 2007 Friday 08:24 AM EST

Georgia hopes for France’s assistance in building its first-ever
nuclear power plant and begins expert consultations, Georgian
Ambassador to France Mamuka Kudava told the Tbilisi-based Rustavi-2
TV company on Friday.

During his visit to France Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
discussed the issue with the director-general of France’s leading
nuclear services provider Areva, Anne Lauvergeon.

"Saakashvili said the issue meets Georgia’s interests," Kudava said.

Georgian parliamentary speaker Nino Burdzhanadze, who is accompanying
Saakashvili, pointed out that "cooperation with Areva is very important
for Georgia."

"It concerns Georgia’s peaceful use of nuclear energy and cooperation
in this area. Georgia has no plans to develop or use nuclear weapons,"
she said on Rustavi-2.

Burdzhanadze said during her visit to Berlin last September the
Georgian authorities do not rule out that Georgia will build its
first-ever nuclear power plant, if technical security guarantees
are provided.

Georgian presidential economic advisor Mart Laar pointed out that
Georgia, if builds a nuclear power plant should do this "with
assistance of European countries and at a high technological level."

Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli told journalists in Tbilisi
on Friday that the issue of the nuclear plant construction remains
open until the situation with installment of a new power-generating
unit at Armenia’s nuclear power plant is resolved.

"The issue of the nuclear power reactor construction in Georgia has
been discussed for a long while, but it has not been finalized yet.

We speak about the replacement of the old reactor for a new one, but
it is still early to say, whether this new reactor will be built in
Armenia or Georgia and whether the old reactor will be replaced for
a new one at all," he said.

The EU and Armenia have repeatedly discussed Armenia’s nuclear power
plant. The EU urged Yerevan to shut down the plant, as it is located
in a seismic zone and its rector does not meet the European standards.

European officials even expressed readiness to allocate 100 million
euros to mothball the plant, while Armenia insists it needs almost
1 billion euros to create alternative energy capacities.

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