Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Belarus invites investors to build second nuclear power plant

naviny.by

Belarus is ready to consider offers from potential investors willing to build a second nuclear power plant in the country, Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadzyuk said at a public hearing in Astravets, Hrodna region, on Saturday.

He made clear that Belarus was eager to have at least two nuclear power plants. "But before we make such a decision, we should check whether the investor has the money and a market to sell the electricity, and observe all international formalities that we observed regarding the nuclear power plant currently under construction," he said.

Mr. Mikhadzyuk added that Minsk had not received any offers from potential investors so far.

Asked why the Belarusian government was so proud of its nuclear power program at a time when many European countries were shutting down their nuclear facilities, the deputy minister said that the latter was not true. Only rich countries can afford to have no nuclear power plants, he said.

Mr. Mikhadzyuk described power generated by nuclear facilities as the cheapest form of electricity. According to him, only Germany and a "couple of more European countries" have announced their plans to close down all of their nuclear power plants.

Some 400 people, including at least about 100 Lithuanian nationals, attended the hearing. The Belarusian government’s representatives read out three reports on the expected environmental impact of the future plant. No active discussion followed.

A number of Lithuanian NGOs boycotted the event, condemning it as a "mock" public hearing and calling on the Belarusian government to suspend the plant construction before assessing its possible environmental impact as required by the Espoo Convention.

Belarus notified Lithuania of its plans to build a nuclear power plant in the Astravets district, Hrodna region, in 2008.

Its two reactors are to have a generating capacity of up to 2,400 megawatts in total. The first unit is scheduled to be put into operation in 2018. AtomStroyExport, a subsidiary company of Russia’s Nuclear Energy State Corporation (Rosatom), is the prime contractor.