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    President Putin promises support for national hydrogen power engineering

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    MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin has promised state support for a project to develop national hydrogen power engineering.

    "I believe, it is very important, interesting, and promising," Putin said at a meeting with Vladimir Potanin, the chief executive of Interros, one of Russia's largest private investment companies.

    "We are continuing to work with the Russian Academy of Sciences to create national power engineering. We are positive it is the technology of the future," said Potanin.

    Potanin said they had achieved some "modest results" already and added over $100 million would have to be invested in the project.

    "The main objective is to introduce the product on promising markets. Creating a product is not enough, we must be able to launch sales, above all, in developed countries," said Potanin.

    Potanin added the developed markets were "closed" for Russian technology and asked the president for assistance. "We would appreciate your support and the government's support," he said.

    "You can count on it," the president replied.

    Russia's Academy of Sciences and Norilsk Nickel, a metallurgic plant whose controlling share block is owned by Interros, signed an unprecedented agreement on cooperation in hydrogen power engineering in late 2003. Norisk Nickel was the first private company in Russia to invest up to $40 million a year in the state program on hydrogen power and fuel elements for ten years. The program is designed, above all, to establish a series of hydrogen power units, including for cars.

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