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Belarus: Nuclear Power Developments
This is an archived page. Please visit the new Belarus country profile

Belarus: Nuclear Power Developments

To return to the main nuclear power entry, see the Belarus:  Nuclear Power Reactors in Belarus file.

6/5/2002: LUKASHENKA ON BELARUSIAN NUCLEAR ENERGY EXPERTISE
ITAR-TASS reported on 5 June 2002 that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka visited the United Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research in Sosny and named Russia as Belarus' main partner in the area of energy and nuclear research. Lukashenka said that Belarus had managed to preserve Soviet-era expertise in nuclear power engineering, and voiced the hope that Belarusian and Russian scientists would collaborate with Western countries. According to Lukashenka, although Belarusian scientists have a bright future, they also have to adapt themselves to new circumstances, a phrase that suggests serious financial problems in the Belarusian nuclear research field.
[ITAR-TASS, 5 June 2002; in "Belarus: Lukashenka says Russia main partner in energy-nuclear research," FBIS Document CEP20020605000321.] {Entered 10/18/2002 MJ}

5/2/2002: LUKASHENKA AGAINST NPP CONSTRUCTION IN BELARUS

Belarusian television reported on 2 May 2002 that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said that Belarus would not construct a nuclear power plant (NPP) on its territory. However, according to Lukashenka, Belarus was interested in purchasing electricity generated by NPPs in Russia if the price was sufficiently low, and even in the possibility of constructing a Belarusian-owned reactor at the Smolensk NPP in Russia.[1] Lukashenka's statement followed the rumors that Belarus was negotiating to purchase the Ignalina NPP, which was denied by Lithuanian officials, who said that Lithuania had not received any official proposals from Belarus.[2]
Sources:
[1] Belarusian Television, 2 May 2002; in "President rules out nuclear plant construction in Belarus," FBIS Document CEP20020502000226.
[2] BNS, 25 April 2002; in "Lithuania casts doubt on proposals to sell nuclear plant to Belarus," FBIS Document CEP20020425000293. {Entered 10/18/2002 MJ}


3/26/98: BELARUS INDICATES THREE POSSIBLE SITES FOR NEW POWER PLANT
Representatives of the Belarusian Energy Institute told Interfax that the Dubrov district (Vitebsk region), the Shklov district (Mogilyov region), or the Bykhov district (Mogilyov region) are possible sites for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Belarus.  The experts chose these areas because they are sparsely populated and have access to water.  Although 17 percent of Belarusians do not oppose a new power plant, Director of the Sociology Institute Yevgeniy Babosov stated that only 5.7 percent of the population would "calmly" accept a nuclear plant in their area.[1]  Speaking at the Institute of Power Engineering Problems in Sosny on 3 February 1998, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka stated that the government will allow the people to vote by popular referendum whether a new nuclear power plant should be constructed.  The president did not give a date for the proposed referendum.[2]
Sources:
[1] Interfax, "Three Sites Singled Out For Nuclear Power Plant In Belarus," no. 2, 26 March 1998.
[2] Belapan Radio, 4 February 1998; in "Lukashenka Says People Will Decide on Nuclear Power Plant," FBIS-SOV-98-035.] {entered 4/22/98 djw}
 
2/17/98:  POLL SHOWS FEW BELARUSIANS FAVOR NEW NUCLEAR PLANT
In a poll by the Zerkalo sociological service, 58 percent of 500 Minsk residents stated that they oppose the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus.  Only ten percent supported the plant, while 15 percent stated their support depended on where the new nuclear plant would be located.
[Belapan Radio, 17 February 1998; in "Belarus: Minsk Residents Oppose Building New Nuclear Plant," FBIS-SOV-98-050, 19 February 1998.] {entered 2/26/98 djw}
 
10/23/97:  SCIENTISTS HOLD ANTI-NUCLEAR CONFERENCE IN MINSK
The Belarusian Association of Independent Scientists and Inventors, the Belarusian Republican Association "Chornobyl Union," the Belarusian Social and Ecological Union "Chornobyl," the Belarusian Engineering Academy, and other public organizations held a conference in Minsk opposing plans to construct a nuclear power plant early in the next century.  About 100 people participated in the conference.  Among the topics discussed at the conference were: requesting a 15 or 20-year moratorium on constructing a nuclear plant in Belarus; upgrading current thermal power plants and technologies; criticizing the IAEA for concealing information on the amount of damage caused by the Chornobyl accident; and quickening the selection process for the commission of experts who will decide whether Belarus actually needs a new nuclear plant.  The conference participants felt that a new nuclear plant would deepen Belarus' economic crisis, create radioactive waste problems, and perpetuate the country's wasteful level of energy consumption.
[Belapan Radio, 6 November 1997; in "Conference Proposes Moratorium on Building Nuclear Plants," FBIS-SOV-97-310.] {entered 2/9/98 djw}
 
10/16/97:  CHAIRMAN OPPOSES PLANT CONSTRUCTION
Chairman of the Subcommission on Science and Technological Progress of the Belarusian House of Representatives Ruslan Ignatishchev stated in an editorial in Narodnaya gazeta that proponents of constructing a nuclear power plant in Belarus are deliberately misleading the public to support the project.  Ignatishchev's editorial is a response to a May 1997 appearance of Minister of Fuel and Energy Valentin Gerasimov in the House of Representatives in which Gerasimov stated that nuclear energy is the only energy alternative for Belarus.  Among Ignatishchev's arguments against construction is the fact that the new nuclear plant would supply only 4.5 percent of Belarus' energy needs, it could not begin operation until about 2012, and estimated costs for construction range from $4 to $9 billion (Belarus has an annual budget of $1.5 billion).  Costs for constructing a spent fuel storage facility would also be a major issue since neither Russia nor Ukraine permit the import of radioactive waste.  As alternatives to a new nuclear plant, Ignatishchev suggests purchasing energy from already-existing nuclear plants (Ignalina in Lithuania, Smolensk in Russia, or Chornobyl and Rivne in Ukraine) and using Belarus' own natural gas deposits, which should last for another 80 years.
["Yesli zadayut vopros, stroit li v Belarusi AES, ya otvechayu--ni v koyem sluchaye!" Narodnaya gazeta, No. 215, 16 October 1997, p. 1.] {entered 2/10/98 djw}
 
5/14/97: GERASIMOV: "NO ALTERNATIVE" TO NUCLEAR POWER
During a 14 May 1997 parliamentary question-and-answer session, Belarusian Energy Minister Valentin Gerasimov recently stated, "There is no alternative to the development of nuclear power engineering in the Republic."[1] The four nuclear reactors Gerasimov proposes would cost almost $5 billion, but Belarusian experts say they would save the country $264 million annually on electricity and fuel imports.[2] Possible sites for a power plant are in Bykhaw or Shklow districts, Mahilow Region; and in Dubrowna district, Vitsiebsk Region.[1] Swedish International Project Director Jan Nistad indicated that the power plant "would have to be Russian," and that if it were, Belarus would probably pay for it by exporting electricity to Russia.[2] On 12 May 1997, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Novitsky had refuted reports that the Belarusian government was planning to build a nuclear power plant and had chosen a site for it. Novitsky acknowledged that the government was considering the option, but stated that no decisions had been made.[3]
[1] Belapan, 15 May 1997; in "Belarus Searching for Site for New Nuclear Power Plant," FBIS-SOV-97-135.
[2] Ariane Sains, "Energy Minister Says New Nuclear Plant is Best Choice for Belarus," Nucleonics Week, 22 May 1997, p. 4.
[3] Andrey Fomin, ITAR-TASS, 12 May 1997; in "Official Dismisses Reported Plan for Nuclear Power Plant," FBIS-SOV-97-132 {Entered 8/4/97 LBN}
 
3/26/97: GREEN PARTY REQUESTS STATEMENT OF MINISTRY'S POSITION ON NPP
The Belarusian Green Party sent a letter to the Ministry of Fuel and Energy, requesting a detailed explanation of the Ministry's position concerning the construction of a nuclear power plant on Belarusian territory. In the letter, the Green Party noted that if the explanation they receive is not "exhaustive," the Party will file an inquiry with the president, and should that fail, they will create a campaign demanding a national referendum on the issue.
[Belapan, 26 March 1997; in "Green Party Queries Government Stand on Nuclear Plant," FBIS-TEN-97-005.] {Entered 8/5/97 LBN}
 
3/97: DISTRICT VOLUNTEERS TO BE NPP SITE
The Dubrovno (Dubrowna) district in northeast Belarus has proposed that it be the site of the nuclear power plant the government plans to build. While Dubrovno is one of the sites under consideration, the decision depends on the results of geological studies and final design of the plant.[1] Minister of Fuel and Energy Valentin Gerasimov added that agreements with international energy organizations are also necessary.[2]
[1] "Belarus considers sites," Financial Times: East European Energy Report, March 1997, p. 28.
[2] Tereza Khayutina, "Ploshadka dlya AES poka ne vybrana," Narodnaya Volya, 13 March 1997; in Ekoinform, no. 3, March 1997.{Entered 8/5/97 LBN}
 
12/96: MINISTER CALLS FOR AID TO BUILD NPP
Belarusian Energy Minister Valentin Gerasimov said that Belarus is seeking $3.5 to $4 billion in aid to build a nuclear power facility, which is to be operational by 2005. The location has not yet been determined, but three possible sites have been chosen near the Russian border.[1]  A new nuclear power plant would create more energy independence for Belarus; it currently must import nearly 90 percent of its energy from abroad.  Belarus currently has one unfinished nuclear plant near Minsk, but construction stopped following the 1986 Chornobyl accident.[2]
[1] "Belarus expresses interest in nuclear power plants," Nuclear News, February 1997, p. 43.
[2] "Belarus Seeks Funds to Develop Nuclear Power Plant," Post-Soviet Nuclear and Defense Monitor, 20 January 1997, p. 6. {Updated 2/9/98 djw}
 
3/14/96: LITHUANIA NOT INFORMED OF BELARUSIAN NUCLEAR PLANS
The Lithuanian state nuclear safey inspection organ, VATESI, reported that Belarus had not informed it of its plans to build a nuclear power station, but had been under no obligation to do so.
[THE BALTIC OBSERVER, 3/14-20/96, p. 3.]
 
11/1/95: RUSSIAN REACTOR MAY BE BUILT NEAR BORDER WITH BELARUS
There is a possibility that Russia may build reactors in Smolensk (in Russia close to the Belarusian border), which will help with Belarusian energy deficits.
[CISNP Discussions with Belarusian official, 10/95.]
 
4/6/95: BELARUS 1995 ENERGY DEBT
This year Belarus is expected to owe approximately $3 billion for imported energy.
[Ann MacLachan, "Belarus could decide in 1996 on Building New Nuclear Plant," NUCLEONICS WEEK, 4/6/95, p. 13.]
 
10/94: BELARUSIAN MEETINGS WITH NUCLEAR POWER PLANT BUILDERS
Belarus continued with plans to construct a nuclear power plant. To date, Belarusian officials have held meetings with Minatom in Russia to discuss an advanced VVER-600 reactor and a VVER 1000 reactor, with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to discuss a CANDU-type reactor, and General Atomics Corporation of the U.S. to discuss an advanced gas-cooled reactor. According to Aleksandr Mikhalevich, Belarus has had minimal contact with Westinghouse Electric, Siemens AG, Electricite de France, and Asea Brown Boveri ABB. Mikhalevichwas quoted in Nucleonics Week as saying that Belarus would try to obtain blended-down LEU fuel from Russian weapons' stockpiles to fuel its future reactors. He later noted this had been the position of the previous government administration. He did not know the position of the Lukashenka administration on this issue.
Sources:
[1] Mark Hibbs, "Belarus Widens Sphere Of Contacts In Bid To Get Nuclear Reactors," NUCLEONICS WEEK, 10/13/94, p. 11.
[2] CISNP discussions with Belarusian official, 4/95.

 
Last updated 8 April 2003

Comments or questions? Contact Michael Jasinski at MIIS CNS: Michael.Jasinski@miis.edu

CNSThis material is produced independently for NTI by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, agents. Copyright © 2002 by MIIS.

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