[Moscow Times, 12 October; Earth Times, 4 October] Belarus plans to start construction of a nuclear power plant in 2008 to ensure energy security, according to the country's president, Alexander Lukashenko. According to local media, Lukashenko said, "There is no alternative to producing our own nuclear energy to ensure our national security." He added, "In 2008, we should complete planned construction work, which will enable us to start the actual construction of the station." No site has yet been selected for the plant, which will cost between $2.5 billion and $2.8 billion to construct. The plant, expected to take four to eight years to build, would mainly be funded through external borrowing. Belarus relies heavily on Russian gas for its energy and rows over payments have prompted threats of supply cuts. In addition, Belarusian prime minister Sergei Sidorsky, following a visit to Vilnius, said that Belarus has a right to participate in the project to construct a new nuclear power plant at the Ignalina site in Lithuania, just 25 km from the Belarusian border. According to Sidorsky, the plant would use water resources from the Belarusian province of Vitebsk. Lithuania plans to construct the new Ignalina plant by 2015 in partnership with Estonia, Latvia and Poland.
WNA's Emerging Nuclear Countries information paper
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