An agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus will be signed after the issue of a Russian loan is resolved, Mikhail Zhuk, chief engineer at the project management office, told reporters in Minsk on August 31.
Belarus asked Russia for a $9-billion loan for the construction of the power plant and the necessary infrastructure in early June. Russia has not yet decided on the request, Mr. Zhuk said. "The requested $9 billion is a large amount even for Russia," he said. Nevertheless, Mr. Zhuk suggested that the agreement would be signed by the end of the year.
A commercial agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus may be signed by this fall, Sergei Kiriyenko, director general of Russia's Nuclear Energy State Corporation (Rosatom), told reporters in Moscow on June 17.
Although the necessary papers are ready, the Russian finance ministry is yet to order the opening of a credit line, Russia's RIA Novosti quoted Mr. Kiriyenko as saying.
An interstate agreement on the peaceful use of atomic energy was signed at a session of the Council of Ministers of the Belarusian-Russian Union State in Minsk on May 28.
The framework agreement enables Russia to participate in the construction of the nuclear power plant, export nuclear fuel to the country and cooperate with it in the management of radioactive waste.
Following his August 27 meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Alyaksandr Lukashenka told reporters that Russia would open a credit line for Belarus in 2010 to finance the construction of its nuclear power plant.
"We reached a fundamental agreement that the Russian Federation would lend money to finance this project," Mr. Lukashenka said. "The exact amount of the loan is currently under discussion and we agreed that Russia would open a credit line as early as the start of 2010."
The construction of the necessary infrastructure for the nuclear power plant has already begun near the city of Astravets, Hrodna region, and the plant itself will start being built there on January 1, 2010, Mr. Lukashenka said.
One of the reasons Rosatom's Atomstroiexport has been selected to build Belarus' nuclear power plant was its promise that a Russian loan would be provided for the project, Mikalay Hrusha, a departmental head at the Belarusian energy ministry, told reporters in Minsk on June 2.
The construction of the 2,000-MW plant is expected to start in the Hrodna region near the Lithuanian border at the end of 2009.
The plant is expected to account for 27 to 30 percent of the total domestic electricity output. One of the two 1000-MW reactors is to be put into operation in 2016 and the other in 2018.