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Charles Kennedy

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Belarus, Russia to Finalize Deal on Nuclear Power Plant Construction

The Russian Federation’s ambassador to Belarus Alekhandr Surikov told reporters in the Belarusian capital Minsk that a draft Belarusian-Russian interstate agreement on the construction of a new 2,400 megawatt nuclear power plant for Belarus will be ready in October.

The NPP will be built by Russia’s Atomstroieksport, a subsidiary of the Russian Federation’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom and will contain two reactors, with the power plant's first generating unit expected to go online in 2017 and the second the following year, Minsk’s Belapan news agency reported.

Belarus has had a fraught relationship with Soviet-era nuclear power. The April 1986 Chernobyl accident occurred near the Ukraine/Belarus border, initially killing 4,000 safety workers and reportedly causing in the intervening 25 years more than 200,000 deaths from radiation, many of them in Belarus.

Energy-poor Belarus however, now sees nuclear energy as a way to deal with the country’s chronic energy shortages. As for refurbishing aging Soviet-era nuclear reactors, Rosatom chief executive Sergei Kirienko has announced plans to prolong the operating life of all Soviet-era nuclear reactors in the post-Soviet space to 45 years, fifteen years beyond their original design estimates.

By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com


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