Belarus may refuse NPP construction deal with Russia - Lukashenko

Belarus may refuse its deal with Russia's nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly Atomstroyexport on a construction of a nuclear power plant in the ex-Soviet republic, the Belarus president said.

"If Russia is not going to construct the NPP in our country, and that is what the talk is about, we are going to negotiate with other investors... We have proposals on this issue," Alexander Lukashenko said.

Belarus, which was one of the most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, plans to build the plant in its western Grodno region, with the first reactor expected to be put into service in 2016 and the second in 2018. Atomstroyexport, is to implement the project.

Minsk, which earlier intended to announce a tender for the construction of its first nuclear power plant, then selected Russia without holding a tender as Moscow pledged to provide Belarus with a loan for the construction.

In May 2009, Belarus asked Russia for a $9 billion loan. In February 2010, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov said Russia was ready to provide a loan to its western neighbor, but did not specify the sum, saying the loan would cover only part of the construction works.

This March, during a meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Minsk, Lukashenko invited China to participate in the project and Beijing pledged to invest some $10 billion in the Belarusian economy.

MINSK, August 14 (RIA Novosti)


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