General Motors is using Russian nuclear scientists put out of work by the end of the Cold War to help develop new automotive technologies, the world's largest automaker said Tuesday.
A new research and design center is planned for Moscow which will focus on the development of batteries, fuel cells, hybrid and electronic controls.
"The government encourages US companies to do business there and to fully utilize the scientific talents there," GM spokeswoman Angele Shaw told AFP. "They have a vast talent pool."
A number of the scientists involved in the project had been working on military and nuclear arms programs for the former Soviet Union.
GM is looking to take advantage of US and European Union programs that provide financial incentives to Russian scientists to develop peaceful projects, including automobile propulsion systems.
The US Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention Programs provides grants and other funding from the government for companies to utilize Russia's vast scientific network for peaceful purposes, while also preventing Russian nuclear experts from being lured by rouge regimes.
GM says its initial project at the Moscow center will encompass emissions control catalyst development, lightweight metal processing, hydrogen storage for fuel cell applications and engine control technology.
"About three years ago we began to explore the possibility of conducting research in the former Soviet Union," Alan Taub, executive director of science at GM's research and development laboratories said in a statement. "In a very short time, working with universities, academies and scientific institutes, we saw world class results in key technologies."
GM planted its roots in Russia in 2002, when it began working with Moscow State University and the St Petersburg State Institute of Information Technology and Optics.
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