Russia, Belarus revive nuclear power plan

MINSK - RUSSIA and Belarus agreed on Tuesday to press ahead with a stalled plan to build a nuclear reactor near the eastern frontier of the European Union, which faces calls to abandon nuclear energy after a crisis in Japan.

'The projects we are discussing are the very latest generation of technology and the level of protection is much higher,' Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in the Belarussian capital Minsk, before signing a deal to build the new reactor.

'Japan's reactors are 40-year-old American reactors.' The plant, to be built in Belarus using Russian nuclear technology, will be located 50 km from the capital of EU member Lithuania.

Lithuania's government immediately summoned the Belarussian ambassador to Vilnius to protest against the plan, saying it defied international treaties, Lithuanian and Belarussian media reported.

Earlier, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Europe should consider a nuclear-free future and Germany shut down pre-1980 reactors, concerned by radiation leaks at a Japanese nuclear plant hit by a massive earthquake. -- REUTERS


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