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Belarus cranks up first nuclear plant; neighbor Lithuania is fearful

Belarus' first nuclear power plant began operating Tuesday, a project that has spooked its neighbor Lithuania, which immediately cut off importing electricity from Belarus at the news

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Belarus | nuclear plant

AP  |  Moscow 

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Belarus' first nuclear power plant began operating Tuesday, a project that has spooked its neighbor Lithuania, which immediately cut off importing electricity from at the news.

The Russian-built Astravyets nuclear power plant, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, has been connected to Belarus' power grid and has started producing electricity, according to Belarusian electricity operator Belenergo.

Lithuanian authorities long have opposed the plant's construction, arguing that the project has been plagued by accidents, stolen materials and the mistreatment of workers.

In line with the country's law banning electricity imports from once the plant starts, Lithuania's Litgrid power operator cut the inflow of electricity from upon receiving data that the Astravyets nuclear reactor had started producing energy.

Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom, which built the plant, has rejected the Lithuanian complaints, saying the plant's design conforms to the highest standards as confirmed by the Atomic Energy Agency, a U.N. watchdog.

The corporation also insisted that it has a zero-tolerance policy on corruption and an internal control system that ensures that any illegal or inappropriate practices are stopped and prosecuted.

It argued that the project's launch would help reduce the region's carbon emissions by up to 10 million tons of CO2 equivalent every year.

We are working closely with Belarus's national nuclear regulator, the World Association of Nuclear Operators, and with the EU's European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group to make absolutely certain that there are no unaddressed risks or 'threats to safety,' Rosatom said in a statement issued to The Associated Press.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Tue, November 03 2020. 21:14 IST
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