Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus, signed a decree on 12 November defining the organizations responsible for preparing the construction of the country's first nuclear power plant. Decree 565, 'On Certain Measures Relating to the Construction of a Nuclear Power Plant' also aims to ensure that nuclear and radiation safety is in line with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). According to the decree, a Directorate for the Construction of a Nuclear Power Plant will be established under the Ministry of Energy. This new directorate will oversee the preparation, design and exploration work necessary to build a plant. A Nuclear & Radiation Safety Department will also be set up as part of the Emergencies Ministry to act as the state nuclear regulator and licensing authority. Scientific support for the preparation and construction of a nuclear power plant will be provided by the United Power & Nuclear Research Institute Sosny of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. The state-run Belnipienergoprom enterprise has been designated as the general designer of the plant and will be responsible for negotiating and signing contracts with suppliers of engineering services, carrying out the necessary feasibility studies and preparing tender documents. Belarus plans to start construction of a nuclear power plant in 2008 to ensure energy security, according to Lukashenko. 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.
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