Construction of Belarus’s new Astravets nuclear power plant is almost complete. Under a deal signed in 2007, Russia’s Atomstroyexport is building the controversial $11bn plant that is 90% financed by the Kremlin, and the first reactors of the 2.4GW plant are due to go online in December 2019 with the power station fully operational year later. Belarus’s neighbours have been against the plant from the beginning, especially Lithuania and Poland. Located in the western Grodno region, near the border with Lithuania, the plant is only 60km from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, less than the 100km from populated areas the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommends following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in Japan in 2011, raising concerns about the safety of those close to the plant. At the same time the neighbouring EU members are also concerned the Russian-sponsored energy project will end up being another energy sector foreign policy cudgel that the Kremlin can use to threaten the former Soviet vassal states.
Intellinews 12th Oct 2018 read more »