Image: Hugo Chavez in Russia
Misha Japaridze  /  AP
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez attends a wreath laying ceremony in Moscow, Russia, on Friday. During his official visit, Chavez and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed on plans to build Venezuela's first nuclear power plant.
msnbc.com news services
updated 10/15/2010 8:21:37 AM ET 2010-10-15T12:21:37

Russia agreed on Friday to build Venezuela's first nuclear power station after talks between Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Hugo Chavez at the Kremlin.

Russia has cultivated close ties with Chavez's government as part of its efforts to expand its global clout and counter U.S. influence in Latin America.

Russian nuclear agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro signed a deal on "the construction and use of an atomic power station on the territory of Venezuela" after the talks.

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Medvedev said the nuclear deal would help Venezuela develop modern energy sources in addition to its hydrocarbon riches.

The Russian leader hinted that Chavez's foe, the United States, might not like the deal, saying, "I already know that it will make someone shudder."

But he maintained that the two nations' intentions "are absolutely pure and open: we want our partner Venezuela to have a full range of energy possibilities."

The cost of the deal wasn't immediately announced.

Chavez, who rules South America's biggest oil producer, has said he wants the nuclear power station to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

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Chavez's government has also bought more than $4 billion in Russian weapons since 2005, including fighter jets, helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles. New weapons deals have been under discussion, but no new agreements were announced Friday.

Chavez will also meet with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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