Paks nuclear power plant

Rosatom recently struck a deal to expand supply Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant, pictured here. Image from Wikipedia Commons, Barna Rovács

Everyone knows how Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas has been a complicating factor (to say the least) for Western political leaders in their reaction to Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian adventures. And now energy analysts are seeing the Russian president lining up similar leverage with nuclear power, in Eastern Europe and beyond.

“Gazprom cutting Ukraine’s energy just goes to show you that there is a political need for fuel diversity away from Russia. If Putin had the valve on nuclear fuel as well, although the effect would be slightly longer term, it can get incredibly uncomfortable.” — Nuclear expert John Large, in Newsweek

The state nuclear company Rosatom – in the news last week in the Times‘ big Clinton Foundation story – is the mechanism for the strategy outlined by Newseek’s Damien Sharkov. In addition to a deal to “expand and supply Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant,” Rosatom and subsidiaries have given Moscow a reach into nuclear power throughout eastern Europe – Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine – and elsewhere, including Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and, most recently, Argentina.