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International relations

Central Asia's struggle to keep lights on fuels nuclear ambitions

Blackout-hit Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan eye atom in rush for grid upgrades

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discuss plans for Uzbekistan's first nuclear power plant in 2018.   © Reuters

ALMATY -- Power outages across parts of southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have brought into focus an urgent need to upgrade the crumbling, Soviet-era grid these Central Asian countries rely on to keep the lights on.

All three are groping about for solutions, including nuclear power. Kyrgyzstan became the latest to move toward the atom in January when it announced plans to build a small nuclear plant with Russia.

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