At first glance, it doesn’t add up; why is Azerbaijan, a country brimming with oil and gas, interested in developing nuclear power capacity?
It’s a question befuddling local experts and environmental activists in Baku. But the questions don’t stop there. Under a May 8 executive order, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has given responsibility for the nuclear project not to the Ministry of Energy or the Ministry of Industry and Economy, but to the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies, specifically, to a National Center for Nuclear Research that is answerable to the ministry.
The executive order stressed that Azerbaijan’s nuclear capabilities would be “for peaceful purposes,” according to Azerbaijani news outlets.
Work on the nuclear project is slated to begin by the end of 2014, with a hoped-for completion date “within three to four years,” Communications Minister Ali Abbasov announced on his ministry’s website May 13. Abbasov did not specify the cost of the project or the scale of the future power plant, though he referred to the construction of “several nuclear reactors.”
To read the full story
Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku.