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    Russia technological regulator approves Nord Stream land section

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    MOSCOW, January 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's technological regulator has said the land section of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, set to run directly from Russia to Germany across the Baltic seafloor, poses no environmental risks.

    "The commission concluded that the project materials comply with Russia's legal environmental requirements, and its ecological impact, as outlined in the pipeline construction and exploitation project papers, has been found acceptable," the Federal Service for the Oversight of the Environment, Technology and Nuclear Management said in a news release, adding that the approval would remain effective for 10 years.

    The land section of the pipeline in Russia will link Russia's Gryazovets district on the Volga to the Portovaya bay on the Gulf of Finland, near St. Petersburg.

    The entire pipeline project, which will come on stream in 2010, is designed to minimize transit risks associated with Russian gas supplies to Western Europe, mainly via Ukraine and Belarus.

    Russia's gas pricing row with Ukraine last January and the energy dispute with Belarus early this year have alarmed European customers and undermined Russia's reputation as a reliable energy supplier.

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