Minsk: Russia signed a $10 billion contract with Belarus Wednesday to build the former Soviet republic`s first nuclear power plant.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart Mikhail Myasnikovich.
The $10 billion plant will be built by Russia`s Atomstroyexport company, a subsidiary of Rosatom civilian nuclear power corporation. It will consist of two reactors each of 1,200 MW capacity and will boost the entire Belarusian energy system`s capacity to 8,000 MW.
Russia will grant Belarus $10 billion loan for the plant`s construction.
Belarus began preparing to build a nuclear plant back in the 1980s, but the project was shelved following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in neighbouring Ukraine.
Belarusian opposition and environmental activists have raised concerns over the project, and these were further stoked by the March 2011 accident at Japan`s Fukushima nuclear power station.
Russia says it employs advanced technology to ensure accident-free operations at all the power stations it builds.