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Friday, 03 May 2013

Lukashenko: NPP means cheaper energy for Belarusians

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Belarus is building the nuclear power plant to make electricity rates affordable for households, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has said as he met with students of the Belarusian State Agrarian Technical University on 30 April, BelTA has learnt.

 “Before we start exporting electricity, we need to make sure that we can meet domestic needs and that electricity prices are affordable. We will export the excess if it makes economic sense, i.e. if they offer us more than we spend no producing electric power,” the head of state said. Alexander Lukashenko noted that at present Belarus does not produce enough electricity to meet domestic needs.

Belarus mostly imports electric power from the Russian Federation. “More than that, it is cheaper to buy electric power in Russia than generate it on our own, because our power generating facilities have not been upgraded for a long time,” the President said. In his words, about $9 billion has already been invested in the renovation of these facilities. The process will conclude during this five-year period. Besides, after the nuclear power plant is commissioned, Belarus will be able to reduce gas import by five billion cubic meters. “Yes, I think something will be left for export. I think that electric energy will always be expensive in the European Union and we will be able to sell something there. However, the export of electricity is not the major purpose for the NPP construction. First of all, we need to provide households and companies with electricity at affordable prices and rates,” the head of state said. Alexander Lukashenko also added that he would start building a second nuclear power plant in Belarus if he had an opportunity. “If I had a chance to launch the construction of the second nuclear power plant now, I would definitely do it. However, we have neither contractor, nor money, no country that would provide us with a construction loan. But we have a construction site,” the President said. “Do not listen to those who say that we do not need this plant because of Chernobyl and so on. This is the campaign against the project. Our plant and the Russian one in Kaliningrad is a bone in the throat for the EU and the Baltic states. They have missed the boat. They have been struggling to launch their own nuclear project. But they are already no competition to us and will have to buy electricity from us and Russia,” Alexander Lukashenko said. According to him, this is competition.

"They have mobilized our fifth column to campaign against the nuclear power plant project," added the head of state. The President noted that he has a simple answer: Belarus is surrounded by nuclear power plants. "We are surrounded by a chain of nuclear power plants. If we look at the security issues, then let’s have a look at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It was not on our territory but who suffered the worst? We did. We already live in the danger zone. So what will be a better option: to see the plants built around us, or have our own?” asked the head of state. Therefore, according to the President, the people opposing the nuclear power plant project in Belarus are on the payroll of the west.” Alexander Lukashenka noted that Europe is constructing nuclear power plants. "But they do not want us to build a modern nuclear power plant and to be their competitors. Moreover, they are losing markets for their product. And if energy is cheaper, it means our products will be cheaper. The competition game is underway,” the President said. “This is the highest technology. Why should our people be deprived of this?” the President noted. According to him, today the majority of Belarusians support the project. "Soon you will see that I made the right decision," added Alexander Lukashenko.

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