Japan to sign nuclear supply deal with Russia

TOKYO, May 12 (Reuters) - After two years of negotiations, energy-starved Japan is to sign a nuclear supply deal with Russia on Tuesday during a visit by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, to enable trade in technology and uranium while addressing proliferation issues.

Planned contracts under the deal include supplying Japan with $100 million worth of low enriched uranium for nuclear power stations, said Sergei Kirienko, the head of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation.

“This agreement guarantees absolutely adherence to non-proliferation regime which both our countries respect,” Kirienko told reporters in Tokyo.

As the only country to have suffered nuclear attacks, Japan is particularly sensitive about the issue of proliferation.

But Kirienko sidestepped questions as to whether Moscow would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect facilities, something that has never happened in Russia.

Japan relies on nuclear power for about a quarter of its electricity and plans to increase production as part of plans to cut carbon emissions to combat climate change.

Kirienko said Russia planned to create an international uranium enrichment centre, which would be guaranteed by the IAEA.

He said Tenex, Russia's state nuclear materials exporter, would discuss with Japan's Toshiba Corp 6502.T the possibility of creating a uranium store on Japanese soil, to protect against transport and political risks.

Kirienko emphasised the commercial benefits of the treaty, which must be ratified by both Japanese and Russian parliaments to come into force.

“Now we can follow up this treaty with a series of concrete agreements,” Kirienko said, one of which he said would be signed on Tuesday.

Nine Japanese utilities and electricity wholesaler Japan Atomic Power Co have 53 nuclear power generators for commercial use, with a total generating capacity of 47,935 megawatts, the world’s third-biggest nuclear power sector. (Reporting by Oleg Shchredov; Writing by Isabel Reynolds)