Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Preparatory work for building nuclear power plant said to be going faster than scheduled

Preparatory work at the construction site of Belarus’ nuclear power plant is going faster than scheduled, First Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka said on Tuesday.

Preparatory work for building the first unit of the nuclear power plant in the Astravets district, Hrodna region, is four months ahead of schedule, and preparations for the construction of the second unit are going eight or nine months faster than planned, Mr. Syamashka said.

He stressed that everything was done in strict accordance with quality and technical requirements.

The faster-than-expected pace of the project at the preparatory stage is due to the work done in previous years, including design work, as well as the simultaneous involvement of several institutes and the good performance of the construction organizations and the general contractor, said Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadzyuk.

The high quality of the preparatory work at the construction site was confirmed during visits by Sergei Kiriyenko, director general of Russia`s Nuclear Energy State Corporation (Rosatom), and a mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Mikhadzyuk said. However, the contractual deadlines have not yet been changed, he said.

Yury Pustovoy, head of the Minsk office of Nizhniy Novgorod-based Atomenergoproyekt, noted that the company would supply the first shipment of "long-cycle" equipment to the Astravets district later in 2013.

A reactor vessel and a high-speed turbine have already been ordered, he said, adding that their price accounted for roughly between 40 and 50 percent of the overall equipment costs.

Belarus' nuclear power plant will be situated some 10 miles from the Lithuanian border. Its two reactors are to have a generating capacity of up to 2,400 megawatts in total. The first unit of the plant is scheduled to be put into operation in 2017 and the other one in 2018.

The construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2013.

AtomStroyExport, a subsidiary company of Rosatom, is to bear full responsibility for the project as the prime contractor.