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Russia: Exporting Influence, One Nuclear Reactor at a Time

Oct 7, 2015 | 09:15 GMT
View of a Russian nuclear plant in St. Petersburg.
View of a Russian nuclear plant in St. Petersburg.
(ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia is no novice when it comes to using energy for political gain -- look no further than Russian natural gas exports to Europe and the bitter feud with Ukraine. But as the game of pipelines continues to play out in Europe and its hinterlands, Russia is locked in a standoff with the United States over energy. Hydrocarbon exports are increasingly vulnerable, especially at times of low oil prices. And with sanctions continuing to bite, exporting nuclear technology provides Russia with another means of exerting influence, as well as a much needed source of additional income for Moscow's starved coffers. Nuclear power may never become as important as hydrocarbons are, but it does provide a measure of political insurance and enduring influence as Russia attempts to maintain its global heft. ...

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