MOSCOW, July 18 (Itar-Tass) — A general contract for the construction of an Ostrovetsk nuclear power station (ONPS) in Belarus is to be signed during Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev's official visit to Belarus on Wednesday. The construction of the ONPS may become the largest-scale project in the history of bilateral relations over the past 20 years.
"Russia grants a credit of $10 billion for building the ONPS," a Russian government source pointed out. "The building-and-assembly work on the first power unit is to be completed in 2017. The unit is to be put into operation the same year. The second power unit is to be built in 2019 and energized in 2020. The aggregate generating capacity of the ONPS will be 2.4 gigawatts. The Russian Atomstrojexport Company will be the general contractor," the source said.
According to estimates made by Belarusian power engineers, the ONPS coming into operation will make it possible to reduce the country's energy deficit by 20-30 percent. Power to be generated by the ONPS can be exported to Europe, including Poland, and to Lithuania which tried to oppose the construction of an NPS located at a distance of 30 km from its border. At the same time, the Lithuanian side did not heed Belarus' apprehensions about construction by Lithuania of an NPS, with the use of the type of reactors that are used by the Fukushima-1, only two kilometres away from the border.
The document was initialed by the sides in Minsk at the end of May after a meeting between the presidents of the two countries, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko. A contractual agreement on the construction of an NPS was signed way back on October 11, 2011. An intergovernmental agreement on the granting of Russia's credit to Belarus was signed in November of the same year. A contract for survey work and the drawing up of planning and detailed priority documentation for an NPS in Belarus was signed on January 31, 2012.
This year, it is planned to allocate $170 million for building the ONPS. A nuclear-industry town with comfortable housing has been already built near the city of Ostrovetsk. Already now, 1,000 people are engaged in ONPS construction. In 2013, the number of workers is to grow up to 2,600. Building work is being conducted in accordance with the Russian project with the use of two-circuit water-water power ractors VVER. This type of reactors was used for the construction of the Leningrad NPS in Russia and the Tianwan NPS in China (the latter reactor is recognized by the International Atomic Energy Agency as the world's safest one).