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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

French Ink Nuclear Plants Deal

French rail transport and power generation engineer Alstom signed a joint venture deal Monday to build nuclear power plants with Russia's state-controlled Atomenergomash.

Alstom will have a 49 percent share in the venture to build so-called conventional islands --most of a nuclear power plant minus the reactor -- and the partners will invest over $266 million in cash and assets.

"This agreement is of major strategic and operational importance," Alstom chairman and CEO Patrick Kron said during a signing ceremony in Moscow. "It is obviously an entry point into the Russian market, which is one of the top three countries for the future development of atomic energy generation, along with China and the United States."

Russian plans to build two nuclear power reactors per year for the next 20 years to boost the share of electricity generated by atomic power stations to between 25 and 30 percent from just 16 percent now. Just three reactors have been launched in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. Federal funding for nuclear power until 2015 will total $25.9 billion, while overall financing will total nearly $57.6 billion.

Russian officials say they want foreign companies to invest in the nuclear sector, but that the state must retain control over its nuclear assets.

"The agreement demonstrates the strong intention of both sides to develop a long strategic, economic partnership," Atomenergomash said.