Russia to build Belarus' first nuclear power plant

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July 19, 2012, 8:22 a.m. |

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, center, Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, left, and Belarus' Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich walk during their meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, July 18, 2012.
© AP

MINSK, Belarus — Russia's state-owned atomic energy company will build Belarus' first nuclear power plant, worth about $10 billion.

Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev signed the deal Wednesday. Moscow will provide its western neighbor with loans for the construction by Atomstroiexport.

Belarus has been hard hit by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, along with western Russian regions and Ukraine. Chernobyl is situated just miles away from the Belarusian border.

Plans to build the plant have caused unease among Belarusians, and in neighboring Lithuania since the plant, to be completed by 2020, will be situated about 30 kilometers (20 miles) away from its border.

Belarusian authorities insist that nuclear power is important for Belarus, which is strongly reliant on Russian oil and gas.

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