Thursday, July 06, 2006

Putin supports NGOs’ request to G8 leaders to finance alternative energy

Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was on Russia's insistence that the issue of nuclear energy safety had been added to the G8 summit agenda. He said at the Civil G8-2006 forum in Moscow on Tuesday that some of his G8 colleagues had initially not wanted to discuss the issue.
"Not that they are against nuclear energy safety; they wanted to avoid the issue because of the harsh stance of their countries' NGOs," Putin said. "I don't think this is right, and I have convinced them to accept my reasoning."

He recalled the Chernobyl accident and said that nuclear safety concerned not only countries that have nuclear technology but also those that did not intend to develop it.
"Security concerns everyone; we know this better than anyone else from the Chernobyl experience," the Russian president said. He promised to convey the NGOs' recommendations on nuclear energy development to the G8 leaders.

"The nuclear energy issue on the agenda of the St. Petersburg summit refers not to the development of nuclear power generation, but to its safety," he said. "However, since you have formulated recommendations regarding the development [of nuclear power], we will convey them to the G8 leaders." 3

He said he agreed that alternative sources of energy should be developed and made available.
"It is possible and necessary to demand that governments allocate funds to the development of alternative energy sources," Putin said.

He said governments should provide money to achieve this objective, but without increasing taxes on energy companies. "Increasing the tax burden is not always the best way, because even I cannot be sure that the funds will be spent to accomplish these goals," he said.
These and other recommendations of the NGOs will be taken into account at the decision-making stage, the president said. "My colleagues [in the G8] are trying to promote dialogue with NGOs one way or another, and to hear your opinions," he said.

"Everything you have said here will be conveyed to the G8 leaders. We will analyze your proposals and take them into account when adopting decisions," Putin said.

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