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Xi, Putin witness launch of biggest China-Russia nuclear energy project worth $3 billion

"This has been the biggest China-Russia nuclear energy cooperation project to date and represents the highest level of practical cooperation between the two sides," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian said

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hailed the nuclear cooperation between the two neighbours as they virtually attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the biggest nuclear energy project to build four nuclear power plants in China costing about USD 3 billion.

The ceremony, which was attended by the two leaders via a video link, was held to mark the first day of construction of power units No. 7 and 8 of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant, and No. 3 and 4 of the Xudapu Nuclear Power Plant.

The Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant is located in the city of Lianyungang in eastern Jiangsu province. The Xudapu Nuclear Power plant is located in Xingcheng in northeastern Liaoning province.

"This has been the biggest China-Russia nuclear energy cooperation project to date and represents the highest level of practical cooperation between the two sides," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian told a media briefing on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion, Xi reiterated China's close attention to energy cooperation with Russia as it is a traditional cooperative area between the two countries.

He hailed the beginning of construction of the nuclear power plants, and noted that the energy projects set an example for bilateral cooperation in other sectors.

Stressing that the bilateral cooperation on nuclear energy is meaningful for the high-level development of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, Xi said he hopes the two sides will follow the sound momentum and conduct more effective cooperation in other sectors.

China and Russia signed a strategic package of agreements on nuclear energy in June 2018 to jointly construct four nuclear power units, the biggest of such between the two countries so far, with a total contract value of over 20 billion yuan (about USD 3 billion), state-run CGTN-TV reported.

All four units will adopt the third-generation VVER-1200 reactors developed by Russia.

Compared to its predecessor VVER-1000 reactor, the latest VVER-1200 reactor features advantages in many aspects, according to Russia's Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation.

Once completed, the four units are expected to effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The two countries firmed up their close ties as they faced mounting adversity from the US and European Union on a host of issues including human rights violations.

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