22 November 2019, Friday, 19:32
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Minsk turns to nuclear blackmailing?

Belarus announces possible participation of Areva, a French company, in the construction of a Belarusian nuclear power plant.

This statement was made by Belarusian deputy prime minister Uladzimir Syamashka during his meeting with Pierre Lellouche, Minister of State for European affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France.

“Bearing in mind the experience of French companies in building nuclear plants, we suppose that such company as Areva should take part in implementing the project in Belarus. The doors are open,” the government’s press service quotes Uladzimri Syamashka.

The deputy prime minister noted that Belarus could offer France to participate in any projects in engineering industry. , including searching for a partner for Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ). “It could be French Renault, why not?” Syamashka wonders.

As we have earlier reported, Belarus plans to build a nuclear power plant with a capacity of 2,400MW. The first power unit will be put into operation in 2016, the second – in 2018. The plant will be built upon the project of Saint Petersburg Atomenergoprojekt Institute. Atomstroyexport, a state-owned engineering company regulated by the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom), which implements intergovernmental agreements on nucklear construction abroad, is supposed to be a general contractor.

According to specialists, Belarus needs $9 billion for the construction of the plant and related infrastructure.

On March 24, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said at a meeting with Vice President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping in Minsk that Belarus was ready for cooperation with China in all spheres, including the nuclear plant construction. As it is known, Chinese corporations have already demonstrated their interest in building a Belarusian nuclear power station.

On March 31, Russia’s Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov told at a press conference in Minsk that Russia could withdraw from building a Belarusian NPP if China financed the project. “If there is some Chinese financing in the NPP project, I doubt the Russian side would participate,” he said.

“We don’t want to share our experience with young Chinese firms. If you want new technologies, you may buy them, but there is an impression that the Chinese are spying. If the Chinese take part in the project, the Russian party will offer to review certain points,” Surikov added.

According to him, one of the possible variants is that Russia will build an NPP and the other party will build infrastructure.

Surikov reminded that Belarus and Russia were preparing to sign a contract on the nuclear plant construction. “We are discussing the price of the construction now,” the diplomat said.

The situation with building nuclear plants in this region has aggravated, “Belorusski Partizan” notes. There are plans to build three stations within a radius of 500 kilometres. Russia will back the construction of its own Baltic plant in the Kaliningrad region. The construction has already been started. The European Union is likely to finance the construction of an NPP in Lithuania. But who will finance a Belarusian NPP building? If Minsk continues its nuclear blackmailing, Moscow can give up the project. We remind that there’s an arrangement with Russia on granting a tied credit for the construction of a nuclear plant in Belarus. If Minsk calls China, Russia will withdraw from the project. However, there are serious doubts that China can go against Russia’s interests in Belarus, as the countries have serious energy projects in Siberia and the Far East. That’s why all statements of Belarusian officials look like nothing else but just psychological pressure on Moscow.