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Work to design and construct a uranium production and conversion plant
Work to design and construct a uranium production and conversion plant will start in Yakutia, Russia's Far East in 2009, the head of a local mining company said on Tuesday.

"Pre-design work initiated by Rosatom [Russia's nuclear power corporation], which has a 100% stake in the plant, is being carried out, and investment feasibility study to run until March 2009 has started," said Alexander Morozkin, general director of the Elkon mining plant.

The plant will annually process up to 5,000 tons of uranium ore, priced at within $80 per kg. The average world price of 1 kg of uranium is between $170 and $250. The plant will also produce gold and silver, and molybdenum has also been discovered at the Elkon deposit.

Over 8,000 new jobs will be created, along with infrastructure, including social facilities, which are due to be built, Morozkin said.

Federal and regional funds, as well as private investment will be used to finance the project.

Russia proposed plans in early 2007 for a nuclear center in Angarsk, 5,100 km (3,170 miles) from Moscow, to enable countries, including Iran, to develop civilian nuclear power without having to enrich their own uranium.

The planned network of uranium enrichment centers, which would also be responsible for the disposal of nuclear waste, will work under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

According to state-controlled nuclear power company Atomenergoprom, Russia will see an almost 30% year-on-year-increase in exports of uranium products and uranium-enrichment services in 2008.

Considering the volume of uranium produced by the Zarechnoye Russian-Kazakh joint venture, uranium output could rise to 3,841 metric tons, the company said in a statement earlier this month.


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