According to the Belarusian leader, the plant would reduce the nation’s needs for imported energy resources by about 30 percent.
Mr. Lukashenka stressed that Belarus has an open-type economy and trades with more than 170 states throughout the world.
It is only possible to maintain a high economic growth rate and improve people’s living standards through using energy resources more efficiently, he noted. “The economy itself makes us look for new and preserve traditional sales markets for out products and sources of raw materials for maintaining the production cycle,” he said.
Mr. Lukashenka insisted that nuclear power generation is safe and advantageous. He cited the example of France where he said nuclear power plants supply more than 80 percent of the nation’s electricity needs. Belarus should not ignore global trends, he said, adding that many countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Russia and China, actively develop nuclear power production.
“Our opponents try to earn political dividends by taking advantage of the radiophobia of some part of the Belarusian residents,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “They deliberately keep silent about the fact that modern nuclear power plants are manifold better than the Chernobyl plant in terms of the level of reliability. In addition, they do significantly less harm to the environment than conventional power plants.”
The construction of the nuclear power plant, estimated at $4 billion, is expected to begin in 2009 and to be completed in 2018. The 2,000-MWt plant is supposed to supply some 15 percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Government experts currently consider two sites for the construction of the plant, with one of them located near Bykhaw, Mahilyow region, and the other between Horki and Shklow also in the Mahilyow region, which was affected worst in Belarus by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster along with the Homyel region.