Russian-built nuclear power plant in Belarus nears completion

Aleksey Likhachev, the general director of Russian state nuclear energy firm Rosatom, has said that the first power unit of a Russian-built nuclear power plant in Belarus was “97 per cent ready” and shows “the highest degree” of technical readiness, Belsat TV has reported.

Speaking in a meeting with the prime minister of Belarus Sergey Rumas and the country’s energy minister Viktor Karankevich, Mr Likachev said the two parties had developed solutions for further cooperation in terms of commissioning the plant’s first power unit and the construction of a second.

In turn, the Belarusian prime minister told the press that “controversial issues” surrounding the project have to be removed and overcome.

The power plant, which is located at the Belarusian-Lithuanian border near the city of Astravets, has long been criticised by the Lithuanian government, citing national security and environmental safety concerns. In response to Lithuania, Belarusian officials repeatedly stated that they were complying with both European and international standards.

The first power plant of the Astravets reactor is expected to be operational by the end of this year, with the second planned to be run from 2020.