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MINSK, January 25, 22:03 /ITAR-TASS/. More than 2,000 Belarusian and Russian specialists are working at the construction site of Belarus’ first nuclear power plant, Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk said on Saturday, January 25.
He said all work was performed in strict compliance with the schedule. “More than 2,000 people and over 200 pieces of machinery are working at the site. Belarusian and Russian construction companies are participating,” he said.
Belarus started building the plant in November 2013 by pouring concrete into the foundation of Unit 1. Now the Project Directorate is waiting for the nuclear authorities’ permission to move over to the next stage and start building Unit 2.
In parallel, work is underway to build transmission lines for the plant. “A contract has been signed with the Chinese company NCPE to build the power transmission lines and a credit facility agreement on a low-interest loan for the project,” Mikhadyuk said.
On November 2, 2013, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree ordering the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant.
“Belarus is starting the main stage of nuclear power plant construction,” the presidential press service quoted the decree as saying.
It said that specialists had completed necessary preparations, including under the international obligation assumed by Belarus.
The decree will enable the project’s general contractor, the Russian company Atomstroyexport, to start building the plant.
Last year, Belarus and Russia signed a general contract for the construction of the nuclear power plant. Its first stage is to be finished and commissioned in 2017.
The second unit of the future Belarusian nuclear power plant is expected to be built in 2019 and commissioned in 2020.
Initially it was planned that the first power unit would be commissioned in 2018, and the second one in 2020.
The nuclear power plant with the generating capacity of 2.4 gigawatts will be located in the Ostrovets district of the Grodno region. It will have two units 1,200 MW each. Russia will give Belarus a low-interest loan of up to ten billion U.S. dollars for 25 years to finance the project.
Belarus had asked the Russian government to provide a loan for the construction of two units of the Belarusian first nuclear power plant and for the creation and development of necessary infrastructure.
First Vice Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said, “It has yet to be seen who needs the nuclear power plant more. To us it means diversification of energy supplies; to Russia, it means contracts for its machine-building industry.”
He said the cost of project was estimated at six billion U.S. dollars and would involve from several dozen to several hundred enterprises.
Semashko expressed confidence that Russia would keep its promise and give Belarus a loan for building the nuclear power plant under the Russian project.
According to Belarusian estimates, the commissioning of the nuclear power plant will make it possible to reduce the cost of electricity in the country by 20 percent and cut energy shortages in the country by 20-30 percent. Besides, the plant will be able to export electricity to Europe, including neighbouring Poland and Lithuania, which tried to stop the construction of the nuclear power plant 30 kilometres from its border.
The new nuclear power plant in Belarus will be built according to a Russian design and will use double-loop VVER reactors that operate at the Leningrad NPP in Russia and Tianwan NPP in China and has been recognised by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be the safest technology in the world.
Eight billion Russian roubles’ worth of work will be performed at the Belarusian nuclear power plant construction site in 2014.