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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Uranium Center Will Be Created

ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Russia and Kazakhstan announced the creation of a joint uranium enrichment center Thursday and said other nations could buy the finished product for use to generate energy.

Energy ministers from both countries signed an agreement on the center during a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

"This is not all that we can do together in atomic energy," Putin said after the talks. "We have very serious and great perspectives in our cooperation in this critically important sphere."

The enrichment center will be in the Siberian city of Angarsk.

"The idea ... is to create some practical mechanism so many countries that want to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes can use such infrastructure," Kazakh Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin said in Washington on Wednesday. "Any country that wants to use this can use it."

Kazakhstan has focused on increasing its uranium production as part of aggressive plans to profit from a global nuclear renaissance and jump from No. 3 to No. 1 producer by 2010, leapfrogging Australia and Canada.

It signed a string of uranium mining deals last year with French, Canadian and Japanese companies and last December opened a new uranium mine joint venture with Russia.