Updated at 19:56,22-01-2021

New Belarusian Nuclear Plant Resumes Operations After Transformer Explosion

Rferl

New Belarusian Nuclear Plant Resumes Operations After Transformer Explosion
A view of Belarus's first nuclear power plant, near Astravets.
Belarus's nuclear power plant, which was officially opened earlier this month, has resumed operations after suspending electricity production for several days.

The Energy Ministry said on November 19 that the Astravets plant is sending electricity to the power grid and the first power unit is working at 40 percent of its 1,200-megawatt capacity.

Just days after it was inaugurated, Belarus's only nuclear plant halted electricity production on November 8 after voltage transformers were said to have exploded.

Built by Russian state-owned firm Rosatom and financed by Moscow with a $10 billion loan, the construction of the power plant in the Hrodna region was opposed by Lithuania, whose capital, Vilnius, is just 50 kilometers away.

Astravets draws water for its cooling reactors from the Nevis River, which is also a source of drinking water in Lithuania.

After Belarus began operating the plant, Lithuania halted electricity imports from its neighbor.

The plant's construction has also been divisive among Belarusians, who suffered greatly as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Belarus saw a quarter of its territory contaminated in the world's worst civilian nuclear accident.