Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko agreed on Tuesday that Russia should build the country’s first, $9 billion nuclear power station.
“It is only today that I’ve signed the resolution and agreed to sign a contract with the Russian Federation to build our first nuclear power station,” he told a meeting with a Russian governor.
“The decision is costly for Belarus, and we are very grateful to the Russian authorities for keeping their word despite pressure from everywhere.”
Belarus has already started working on the site, Lukashenko said.
Nuclear power has once again become a controversial issue after an earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima station in Japan in March. Germany has said it will hasten its exit from nuclear energy and Italy has announced a one-year moratorium on plans to restart atomic power projects.
Many people died of radiation-related diseases in Belarus following the 1986 Chernobyl atomic station disaster in neighboring Ukraine, in the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
Russia now says it has a full arsenal of advanced technology to ensure accident-free operations at power stations it builds. Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear station building corporation, says it now builds more nuclear plants than anyone – 14 of the 62 reactors under construction worldwide, including projects in China, India and Iran and has orders for 30 more.