May 12, 1999
Power plant in Cuba may be developed by joint venture

                  MOSCOW (AP) -- A Russian-Cuban commission is looking into the
                  possibility of creating a joint venture to complete a partially built nuclear
                  reactor on the island nation, a news report said Wednesday.

                  Construction of two Soviet-designed, light-water reactors began in the early
                  1980s. But financial problems in both Cuba and the Soviet Union forced a
                  halt to the project, and no additional work has been done in recent years
                  despite periodic discussions.

                  The possibility of setting up a joint venture to complete the Juragua nuclear
                  plant was the main item on the agenda of the Intergovernmental
                  Russo-Cuban Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical
                  Cooperation, the ITAR-Tass news agency said.

                  Russia is proposing that two or three other countries be included in the
                  Russo-Cuban joint venture, the report said.

                  The plant would cost dlrs 650 million to dlrs 700 million to complete, earlier
                  news reports said.

                  The United States opposes the station and considers it a safety risk to
                  Florida and other states along the Gulf of Mexico.

                  Light-water reactors are considered safer than the graphite-cooled model
                  that was in use in Chernobyl, Ukraine, site of the world's worst nuclear
                  accident. But critics say the Soviet-designed light-water reactors still do not
                  meet the safety standards of Western nations.

                    Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.