New Belarus nuclear plant safer than Japanese ones: Putin
The new nuclear power plant to be built by Russia in Belarus will be safer than those in Japan, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in Minsk Tuesday.
"The level of security of the Belarussian nuclear plant will be much higher than that of stations in Japan," he said during a meeting with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Japan's nuclear crisis deepened Tuesday after a new explosion and a fire at the Fukushima 1 plant where there have been a series of accidents since last Friday's earthquake.
Belarus and Russia signed an expected deal Tuesday on the building of a nuclear power plant as Minsk, recently the object of European Union sanctions, has begun to establish warmer ties with Moscow.
"We have given the green light to the building of a nuclear plant in Belarus and the development of an energy bridge between our two states," Belarussian Prime Minister Mikhail Miasnikovich said after a meeting with Putin.
He added that it would strengthen his country's energy security.
The Russian consortium Atomstroyexport will build the plant, which will enter service in 2018, according to the document signed by the director general of Russian nuclear energy agency Rosatom, Sergei Kirienko, and Belarussian Energy Minister Alexander Ozerets.
Russia is due to extend a credit of around $9 billion for the project, according to the Belarussian authorities.
Moscow agreed in June 2009 to finance the project but there was no follow-up as relations between the two neighbours soured.
On January 20, as Lukashenko was under fierce criticism from Western countries after the repression of the opposition during a demonstration at the end of December 2010 following a controversial presidential election, Russia said it was ready to give Belarus a credit of several billion dollars, in particular for the financing of the power plant.
© 2011 AFP