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Energy Blast – March 18, 2011

A US lawmaker has gone after France and Russia for ‘irresponsible‘ behavior for spreading their nuclear expertise through unstable regimes, and Anatoly Chubais’ urging of Russia to develop nuclear and thermal and alternative energy makes him a ‘lone voice in the nuclear debate, as China becomes the latest country to halt approval for new nuclear reactors.  Governments are ramping up efforts to evacuate foreign nationals from Japan as efforts to cool Fukushima’s radioactive fueld reach a critical point.  Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin is urging the Kremlin to avoid spending its surplus oil revenues in order to curb inflation rates.  Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko says Russia won’t be held ‘hostage to Turkish delays on the South Stream pipeline, proposing that an LNG plant on the Yamal Peninsula could be a viable alternative.  He also said that there are no plans to abandon the pipeline: ‘we can only talk about an alternative offshore route of the pipeline.‘  Gazprom is on the lookout for power plants in Western Europe, with targets to be decided by the end of the year.  Almost all Kazakh-produced oil will be transited across Russia, says President Nursultan Nazarbayev.  The US has launched a new safety body to monitor standards for offshore drilling.