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    State Duma passes bill on nuclear power sector reform

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    The State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, passed in the first reading Wednesday a presidential bill to reform the country's nuclear power sector and facilitate its development.

    MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) - The State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, passed in the first reading Wednesday a presidential bill to reform the country's nuclear power sector and facilitate its development.

    The document aims to establish a state-controlled holding company, Atomenergoprom, using the sector's civilian assets, and to subsequently allow other Russian corporate entities to possess non-weapons-grade nuclear materials, nuclear installations and nuclear storage facilities.

    Exclusive federal ownership of nuclear materials, nuclear installations and nuclear storage facilities is currently a major impediment to the development of the nuclear power sector.

    The bill was supported by 368 deputies, with 226 votes required for passage. Fifty-eight MPs voted against, with one abstention.

    Atomenergoprom, which will be wholly controlled by the government, is expected to be a large full-cycle corporation engaged in activities ranging from uranium extraction, fuel fabrication and electric power generation, to the construction of nuclear power plants, both domestically and abroad.

    The new corporation will also include nuclear engineering units, design and research institutes.

    The new government corporation will be established in two stages.

    In the initial stage, Russia's nuclear fuel producer and supplier TVEL will become a subsidiary of Atomenergoprom, with 100% of its shares to be assigned to the charter capital of the new corporation, while nuclear enriching entities will join the parent company of the new nuclear holding, as requested by the defense ministry.

    Russia's nuclear chief Sergei Kiriyenko said there was no need at the current stage to include spent nuclear fuel processing and disposal facilities into the new corporation.

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