( RIA Novosti ) - Russia's Nuclear Power Agency is against the idea of setting up an international uranium enrichment center in one of the Arab states, the head of Rosatom said on Friday.
"We believe there should be a number of such centers, but clearly the centers should be located in countries in full possession of [uranium] enrichment technology, so that the technology does not proliferate around the world," Sergei Kiriyenko said, commenting on recent initiatives of some Arab nations.
He said he had no formal information about the initiatives, adding that one such center was being set up in Russia, in east Siberia, and that countries developing nuclear energy programs could have access to its services.
He also said Russia's nuclear sector has orders worth 1.3 trillion rubles ($53 billion) up to 2020.
"We have calculated that orders up to 2020 total 1.3 trillion rubles. This is a huge sum, but the requirements are tough," Kiriyenko told journalists.
Russia said previously it would grant any country in the world the use of an international uranium enrichment center currently being constructed in east Siberia.
The center, part of Moscow's non-proliferation initiative to create a network of enrichment centers under the UN nuclear watchdog's supervision, will be based at a chemical plant in Angarsk. The center will also be responsible for the disposal of nuclear waste.
Russia and its ex-Soviet neighbor Kazakhstan, which holds 15% of the world's uranium reserves, signed documents in October 2006 to establish their first joint venture to enrich uranium, intended to begin in 2013.
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said earlier that other countries have shown an interest in the Angarsk project.
Ivanov also said fuel for nuclear power plants was a market product and any country represented in the International Atomic Energy Agency that was also signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty had a right to buy.
"But this is only in theory," Ivanov said. "For a variety of political reasons, a country may be denied access to uranium."
Ukraine's Fuel and Energy Ministry said in June that the country intended to join the project in the near future.
Russian President Vladimir Putin first raised the idea of joint nuclear enrichment centers early last year, in a bid to defuse tension over Iran's controversial nuclear program. The president said the centers would give countries transparent access to civilian nuclear technology without provoking international fears that enriched uranium could be used for covert weapons programs.