Russia is unlikely to fulfill contract obligations for the construction of more than a dozen nuclear power plants in six countries, including China and Iran, according to the U.S. ambassador in Moscow.
Ambassador John Beyrle, in a private cable leaked Thursday, said Russia’s state-owned nuclear power contractor, Atomstroyexport, faces a serious shortage of trained workers. The company also lacks sufficient credit to finance the projects and special machines to build the power plants, the ambassador said.
“However, the crunch on credit, insufficient machine-building infrastructure and a paucity of trained specialists make it unlikely that Atomstroyexport will be able to realize all of these plans soon.”
The ambassador said Russia is “diligently pursuing construction contracts for 11 new nuclear reactors in India, Iran, Bulgaria and Ukraine.” Moscow is in “active discussions” to build two power plants in China and four in Turkey, he said.
“Even without the crunch the financial crisis could put on [Russian government] loans, the lack of sufficient nuclear industry infrastructure and trained specialists will make it hard for [Atomstroyexport] to fulfill existing contracts on time,” he said.
Mr. Beyrle’s unclassified cable to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
CANADA WOOS CHINA
Prime Minister Stephen Harper dispatched Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on a special trip to China in 2007. That visit coincided with another trip to Beijing by David Emerson, who was Canada’s international trade minister at the time.
“However, they did serve to placate Canadian business leaders who had been concerned that the Canadian government was not paying enough attention to China.”
Even the scientific agreement proved of little value to Canada, Mr. Wilkins added, reporting on a conversation with Martin Charron, a deputy director for commercial relations with Asia in the Canada’s Foreign Ministry.
“Charron indicated that there was little substance to the agreement, and it was unclear exactly what, if anything, it would lead to,” Mr. Wilkins said.
In another cable, the ambassador reported on Mr. Harper’s tough line on Beijing concerning human rights, after he won the prime minister post in 2006.
Beijing “reacted angrily” to Mr. Harper’s policy, the ambassador added.
Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper this week first reported on the cables, which were released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
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James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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