Russia and Belarus sign agreement for construction of nuclear plant

MISNK, BELARUS (BNO NEWS) -- Russia and Belarus on Tuesday signed an agreement for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Minsk, RIA Novosti reported.

The agreement was signed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Mikhail Myasnikovich as part of a series of energy agreements signed in Minsk.

"We now have a whole arsenal of progressive technological means to ensure the stable accident-free work of nuclear power plants," said Putin in regards to the safety of the plant.

The nuclear power plant will be built mostly by Russian contractor Atomstroiexport. Russia will provide loans to Belarus for the construction of its first-ever nuclear power plant.

The cost of the project is estimated around $5 billion. The power plant is planned to be located in Astravets site in Hrodna Voblast near the Lithuanian border. Belarus expects to reduce gas imports by $ 200-400 million per year with the nuclear plant.

Belarus currently imports 90 percent of its gas from Russia, much of it used for electricity. In 2006, the government approved the plans for the construction of the first nuclear power plant.

After many delays, Belarus announced a financing from Russia for constructing the power plant in June 2009. The 2400 MWe plant will have two reactors that are expected to be operating by 2016 and 2018.


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