German and Russian companies appeared set to expand energy partnership in nuclear power, despite reservations on the part of engineering giant Siemens about cooperation with a Russian energy company.
Siemens could be headed towards a new joint venture
Siemens has announced plans for a possible tie-up with Russia's nuclear power company Rosatom on Tuesday, Feb. 3. News of the proposed deal came just a week after the Munich-based company's told shareholders that it had decided to end its joint venture partnership with France's Areva.
Siemens head Peter Loescher told journalists in Moscow the Russian company was a "possible partner" ahead of regular talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the company's investments in Russia.
Putin said he wanted a major partnership between the Russian company and Siemens
Putin signaled his support for the Siemens project at a press conference Tuesday.
"We are ready to move from realizing piecemeal projects to the creation of a full-scale partnership between Siemens and (Russia's state nuclear firm) Rosatom", Putin said, according to the Interfax news agency. "We can work actively together in Russia, Germany, as well as in the markets of third countries."
German government concerns
Loescher did not say what stake Siemens would have in a joint venture partnership. Under Russian law, a committee headed by Putin must approve foreign investments in so-called strategic sectors of the Russian economy, including nuclear energy.
The German news weekly Der Spiegel reported that some members of Siemens' supervisory board as well as the Berlin government had signaled reservations about cooperating closely with the Kremlin-controlled nuclear firm.
There's a new Siemens factory in Russia at the end of the tunnel
Siemens said last week at its annual shareholders meeting that it wanted to play an active role in shaping development in the nuclear energy market.
Siemens, which has a long track record of business in Russia, also declared plans to build its first factory in the country since the fall of the Soviet Union.
"In view of global climate change and the increasing power demand worldwide, for us nuclear energy remains an essential part of a sustainable energy mix," said the Siemens CEO.
Nuclear energy, which does not produce carbon-dioxide, will gain in importance as an emphasis is placed on climate protection, said Loescher.
The company says it want to focus on energy efficiency and the entire energy mix, including fossil fuels like coal and natural gas as well as nuclear energy and renewable energy sources.