Russia to construct research reactor in Myanmar

16 May 2007

Russia has signed an intergovernmental agreement to construct a nuclear research centre - including a research reactor - in Myanmar.

The agreement was signed on 15 May in Moscow by Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), and Myanmar's minister of science and technology U Thaung. It envisages cooperation in the design and construction of a nuclear research centre.

According to a Rosatom statement, "The centre will comprise a 10 MWt light water reactor working on 20%-enriched U-235, an activation analysis laboratory, a medical isotope production laboratory, silicon doping system, nuclear waste treatment and burial facilities."

The Russian contractor will be AtomStroyExport. The timescale for construction of the centre, which would be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was not disclosed. Myanmar plans to train some 300-350 specialists at Russian universities to work in the centre.

Myanmar - formally known as Burma - is under US and European economic sanctions imposed in response to human rights abuses by the country's military dictatorship. The military junta had informed the IAEA in September 2000 of its intention to construct the reactor, with help from Russia. Myanmar has been a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) since 1992 and a member of the IAEA since 1957.

Further information

Rosatom

WNA's Research Reactors information paper

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