Moscow and Tashkent have signed an accord for Russia to build a small-capacity nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan, as Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, within his Uzbek counterpart  Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Rosatom’s official website says the document was inked by heads of Atomstroyeksport (engineering division of Rosatom State Corporation) and State Unitary Enterprise (SUE) Directorate for NPP Construction under the Nuclear Energy Development Agency (Uzatom) at the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan in Tashkent on May 27.   

Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti quoted the Russian state-owned energy corporation, Rosatom, as saying that the project envisions building six reactors with the total capacity of 330 megawatts.

According to RIA Novosti, the two countries were earlier discussing building a nuclear power plant of a larger capacity — of 2.4 gigawatts.

Mirziyoyev reportedly hailed the project as “vital” in remarks after the talks, noting that Uzbekistan has “its own large reserves of uranium.”  

Putin, in turn, vowed to “do everything in order to work effectively on Uzbekistan’s (nuclear energy) market.”

If the agreement is implemented, the plant would become the first in Central Asia, further increasing Russia’s influence in the region.

Putin also promised to increase gas deliveries to Uzbekistan.

Although its own gas production remains substantial at about 50 billion cubic meters a year, Uzbekistan struggles to fully meet domestic demand, and Russian supplies have allowed it to avert an energy crisis.