21 january, 2010 13:00  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chairs a government meeting on nuclear energy, natural resources and provision of housing for the earthquake victims


Cabinet members discussed a draft of the federal targeted programme on nuclear energy technology to consolidate Russia’s position in this high tech economic sector of the world market, amendments to the law on natural resources, and the provision of housing for the victims of the earthquake in Nevelsk on Sakhalin Island.

A government meeting on nuclear energy, natural resources and provision of housing for the earthquake victims

Vladimir Putin's opening address:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

We have many items on the agenda today. One of them is the provision of housing for the victims of the earthquake in Nevelsk on Sakhalin Island.

As you remember, this tragedy took place in August of 2007. More than 7,000 people became homeless as a result.

We had to spend considerable efforts and material resources to resolve this problem. It cost us more than 10 billion roubles to build 106 buildings with more than 1,500 apartments. Those who were in need of housing received more than 2,000 housing certificates.

At the same time we cannot consider this work finished until everyone's problems are resolved. Current judicial proceedings show that these problems have not been fully resolved.

In this context I would like to ask the emergencies minister and the governor of the Sakhalin Region to report on what is being done and what we should do to finally resolve these problems.

We are also going to discuss amendments to the law On Natural Resources. In the last few years we have overcome the negative trend of reduced geological prospecting and now we are increasing the number of known reserves in all basic minerals.

In the mid-1990s we used to say with good reason that we are using what we had prospected before. We now have a completely different approach. According to the latest reports, positive results were obtained last year. We produced 582 billion cubic meters of gas and found 650 billion. The same applies to uranium and iron ore and other metals.

The efforts to resolve social issues with respect to public health are no less important. I am referring to municipal water supplies. Additional sources of water were found for the cities of Anadyr, Vladivostok, Oryol, Ryazan, Voronezh and Chelyabinsk, but this is just the beginning.

I would like to draw your attention to the need to organize proper water supplies, because simply finding these sources is not enough. I spoke about this just recently and discussed the problem with the governor in Voronezh. Strange as it may seem this is the problem in Voronezh, Vladivostok and other cities. In some places this work has already started or is nearing completion, but in a number of cities it still has to be done.

In addition to public companies and large corporations with government participation, small and medium-sized companies should pursue geological prospecting for mineral resources and extraction. These companies can play a major role in this work. However, to make this work economically effective, it is necessary to lower the expenses for these companies in these activities. We have noted more than once that these expenses are primarily related to excessive administrative barriers. The efforts to reduce these costs could be very effective in terms of small companies that process gravel, clay and sand used locally, in construction.

As I continue to suggest, it is necessary to remove unjustified administrative barriers to investment in geological prospecting for minerals. This could reduce all the relevant costs.

One of the first proposals in this context is to cancel the fees for receiving information from the State Fund of Mineral Resources. This would make the information more accessible to business and would reduce the expenses of those companies, which are currently exploring them or are planning to do so.

I would like the minister of natural resources to report to me on this in more detail later this week.

Today we will also discuss the draft of the federal targeted programme on nuclear energy technology. Our primary objective is to use our competitive advantages in this high tech economic sector and to consolidate Russia's position on the international market. We have done much in the past, but now we must exploit our experience.

This would allow us to provide our economy with our own nuclear energy using advanced technology.

Under this programme we must create a new generation of technology to build more efficient and eco-friendly nuclear power plants. I am referring to closed-cycle technology. This provides for the rational use of natural uranium and reduces nuclear waste, which means there is less to process and dispose of.

Big funds are expected to be allocated for this programme. I know there is controversy on this issue. This is more than 100 billion roubles through the 2015-2020 period, so we have no problem now in 2010. As for 2011 and subsequent years, let's discuss this today in more detail.

Let's get down to work.