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Kuwait, Russia Ink Nuclear Pact

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait and Russia have signed a memorandum of cooperation for peaceful use of nuclear energy generation in the Gulf Arab state, Kuwait's state news agency KUNA reported, following similar deals with Japan and France.

"The memo … stipulated training cadres, exploration for metals, establishing a network of nuclear reactors in Kuwait and building a relevant infrastructure," KUNA reported late Monday, citing Ahmad Bishara, secretary general of Kuwait's National Nuclear Energy Committee.

It said the arrangements were for a five-year period.

Gulf Arab states including Kuwait fear that Iran's nuclear energy program could lead to the country becoming a nuclear weapons state and dominant power in the region. Kuwait has also sought assurances from Iran about the safety of its new, Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power reactor, where loading of fuel began in August.

Earlier this month, Kuwait, the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, said it had decided to build four nuclear reactors by 2022, each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

The announcement came days after Kuwait and Japan signed a cooperation agreement to expand the nuclear capacity in the OPEC member. Kuwait also signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with France in April.

So far there is no indication of who might build the plants.

Kuwait is looking to boost oil output capacity to 4 million barrels a day by 2020 to 2030.

It has relied on oil exports for more than 90 percent of state revenues. Current oil production capacity is 3.1 million bpd.

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