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PROJECT | Cesar Tordesillas, Korea

S. Korea, Kazakhstan to expand cooperation in energy

South Korea President Lee Myung-bak and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev pledged to expand cooperation in energy, plants and atomic power.

Both presidents recently celebrated the groundbreaking for a joint power plant project in Kazakhstan.

The $4 billion project to build a coal-fired power plant in the southern city of Balkhash, about 680 kilometers south of the capital Astana, is the biggest-ever joint project between the two countries since they opened diplomatic relations two decades ago.

During the ceremony, Lee said he believes the Balkhash plant will be both high-tech and environment-friendly as top South Korean firms with advanced technologies and extensive experience in the construction and operation of power plants are participating in the project.

Lee also said the project will move relations between the two countries a step forward.

KEPCO and Samsung C&T each hold a 35 percent stake in the project to build a ,320-megawatt plant that is expected to generate about 7 percent of Kazakhstan's electricity needs. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

Lee and Nazarbayev held summit talks ahead of the ceremony, in which they agreed to continue to expand cooperation in energy and plants, resource development and atomic energy sectors.

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