Russia to assist in Belarus feasibility study

02 September 2009

Russia's AtomStroyExport (ASE) has signed an agreement to assist in a feasibility study into the construction of the Belarus' first nuclear power plant.

 

The feasibility study - which will look at the investment options available to finance the proposed plant - is to be completed by the end of 2009.

 

In May, Russia and Belarus signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. This framework specifies the main directions of cooperation in the development, design, construction and operation of nuclear power

 
  Ostrovetsk in the
  Grodno region has been
  selected as the prime
  candidate site for the
  plant, which places it in
  the north east of the
  country near to
  neighbouring Lithuania
  and Poland and not
  more than 300 km from
  another Russian build
  project in Kaliningrad.
 
plants, nuclear fuel supply, nuclear and radiation safety, as well as scientific cooperation, training and others. The Belarus council of ministers approved this agreement on 1 September.

 

An intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Belarus specifically on cooperation in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus is expected to be signed in October. ASE said that work is progressing on the preparation of contractual agreements with signatures due in December.

 

Belarus earlier launched a tender for the construction of the plant and invited bids from Rosatom, Areva and Westinghouse-Toshiba. ASE - Rosatom's nuclear power plant construction subsidiary - was reportedly the only bidder prepared to proceed and provide financing.

 

The plant will initially comprise two 1200 MWe AES-2006 model pressurized water reactors. The first unit is scheduled to be commissioned in 2016 and the second in 2018, ASE said. Ostrovetsk in the Grodno region has been selected as the prime candidate site for the plant, which places it in the north east of the country near to neighbouring Lithuania and Poland and not more than 300 km from another Russian build project in Kaliningrad.

 

Belarus' ministry of natural resources and environmental protection has published an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report of the nuclear power plant's construction and operation. The ministry said that the plant would meet international standards on nuclear and radiation safety.

 

Belarus, heavily energy dependent on gas imported from Russia, is steadily moving ahead with plans for its first operating nuclear plant. At the beginning of 2008, the country's Security Council confirmed that it intended to build, and a bill enshrining the "fundamental principles" for the introduction of nuclear power was passed in June 2008.

 

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