[BELTA, Itar-Tass; 28 May] Belarus and Russia have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Alexander Lokshin, deputy head of Russia's Rosatom corporation, said: "This document is a framework one and opens opportunities for cooperation in many avenues, including design, construction, exploitation and decommissioning of [a nuclear power] station, supplies of nuclear fuel, and waste treatment." He added that Belarus and Russia will prepare an agreement in the third quarter of 2009 on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus. Meanwhile, Alexei Kudrin, Russia's finance minister, has said that Belarus has asked Russia for a $9 billion loan for construction of the plant. He noted, "We already have an application from the Belarusian government and we are looking into it." Kudrin added, "In order to make a decision we must make sure that the power plant will be built, that sales markets for its electricity will be determined and that these markets will make it possible to return this credit." Belarus is planning to construct a two-unit nuclear power plant with a capacity of 2000 MWe, with the first reactor coming online in 2016 and the second in 2018.