Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

No contract signed with Russian contractor picked to build Belarus nuclear power plant

The Belarusian government has not yet signed a contract for the construction of a nuclear power plant with Russias Atomstroiexport, Liliya Dulinets, a departmental chief at the energy ministry, told reporters in Minsk on October 29.

"Work on this agreement is underway. But nothing has been signed so far," the official said.

The construction of the 2,000-megawatt plant, which is estimated to cost some $9 billion, is expected to start next year in the Hrodna region near the Lithuanian border. The plant is projected to account for 27 to 30 percent of the total domestic electricity output. One of the two 1000-megawatt reactors is to be put into operation in 2016 and the other in 2018. Atomstroiexport has been selected as the prime contractor.

Aleksandr Glukhov, first vice president of Atomstroiexport, said earlier this month that Russias budget estimates for 2010 through 2012 envisage expenditures to fund the nuclear power project in Belarus.