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Governments of Belarus, Russia to discuss nuclear power plant construction loan terms


MINSK, 10 February (BelTA) – The governments of Belarus and Russia will discuss terms of the loan for building the Belarusian nuclear power plant. First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Dmitry Krutoi made the statement as he commented on results of top-level negotiations held in Sochi on 7 February, BelTA has learned.

Dmitry Krutoi said: “The presidents talked a lot about the situation regarding the construction of the nuclear power plant near Ostrovets. Today it is probably the most significant joint integration project. The first unit of the nuclear power plant is nearing a very important stage of startup and commissioning operations. It is understandable that it is extremely important to move very cautiously and verify every step scrupulously. All the agencies responsible – including Rosatom and our Energy Ministry – have been instructed to compile the final schedule for finishing work on the first unit by late February.”

Dmitry Krutoi went on saying: “The governments are also supposed to hold negotiations to discuss terms of the loan on financing the nuclear power plant construction project. Taking into account the certain shift of the deadlines that has already happened.”

Dmitry Krutoi reminded that Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko had repeatedly emphasized that this nuclear power plant should be the safest one there is. “This is why rushing things is out of the question. Everything should be thoroughly checked,” the official noted.

Asked whether terms of the nuclear power plant construction loan will be changed, Dmitry Krutoi explained it is up to the relevant government agencies and the finance ministries to discuss for now. “An obvious decision needs to be made taking into account the slight delays of the deadlines. We would like to postpone the repayment of the loan. Besides, in order to avoid an additional burden we would also like to extend the period of time for us to pay off the loan and slightly reduce the interest rate, bringing it roughly into compliance with the contracts Rosatom has signed in other countries. The interest rate may be adjusted a bit. But it is too early to talk about final arrangements. Experts need to do a lot of work first,” he said.

BelTA reported earlier that the intergovernmental agreement on borrowing up to $10 billion from Russia to build the Belarusian nuclear power plant was signed on 25 November 2011. The money is supposed to cover 90% of the work specified by the general contract on building the nuclear power plant. The Belarusian side is supposed to pay the remaining 10%.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast using a Russian design featuring two VVER-1200 reactors with the total output capacity of 2,400MW.