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Russia’s Atomstroiexport confirms participation in bidding for nuclear power plant


Russia’s Atomstroiexport has officially confirmed its participation in bidding for the construction of Belarus’ first nuclear power plant, Mikalay Hrusha, deputy director general of the Sosny nuclear and power engineering center of the National Academy of Sciences, told BelaPAN.

The energy ministry has also received a reply from the French-German Areva Group, Dr. Hrusha said. “I don’t know what exactly the reply says,” he said. “I only know that we invited Areva to build two 2,000-MW reactors. Areva offers reactors with a generation capacity of between 1.4 and 1.6 MW, which is too much for the country’s power supply grid.”

Belarusian experts have concluded that the power plant should have a generation III WWER-1000 reactor (Water-Water Energetic Reactor, 1000 megawatt electric power), whereas Areva only manufactures generation IV reactors, Dr. Hrusha said.

According to him, US-Japanese Westinghouse Toshiba has not yet officially replied to an invitation to participate in the bidding contest.

The date of August 1st was set as the deadline for confirming participation.

An advantage of Atomstroiexport is that its reactors are in operation worldwide, Dr. Hrusha said at a round-table discussion last week.

In particular, Atomstroiexport has built two reactors in China and is constructing reactors in India and Iran, he said.

“It’s revealing that Bulgaria, a European Union country, opted for a Russian reactor,” he noted. “They had to solve a number of political problems first, but the EU ultimately greenlighted the construction of the plant.”
Belarus should not overlook factors such as the common language and similar regulations and technologies while choosing a partner, Dr. Hrusha said.

Political barriers impede the participation of Westinghouse Toshiba and Areva in the bidding contest, he said.
The project is expected to begin in 2009. The government is considering three possible locations for the plant: near the village of Kukshynava between Horki and Shklow, Mahilyow region; in the Astravets district, Hrodna region; and near the village of Chyrvonaya Palyana near Bykhaw, Mahilyow region.

The 2,000-MW plant is supposed to supply some 15 percent of the country’s electricity needs. One of the two 1000-MW reactors is to be put into operation in 2016 and the other in 2018.

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