Minister criticizes delays in construction of Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant

Energy Minister Uladzimir Patupchyk criticized delays in the construction of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant during the energy ministry’s board meeting in Astravets, Hrodna region, on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, the prime contractor has only completed 80 percent of the construction plan for the plant,” Mr. Patupchyk said.

He blamed the lack of qualified construction workers and delays in supplying equipment.

According to Mr. Patupchyk, the year 2018 is a decisive year for the construction project.

He pointed out that the heads of organizations involved in the project were personally responsible for meeting the deadline.

Mikhail Filimonaw, director general of RUP Belaruskaya AES (state-owned company formerly known as the Nuclear Power Project Directorate), said that the construction project had been behind schedule since 2015.

“The main reason is that the prime contractor is failing to meet its obligations,” he said.

According to Mr. Filimonaw, 16 key things needed to be done to start the first reactor in February 2019.

Mr. Patupchyk advised Mr. Filimonaw not to look for whom to blame and “mobilize everybody for the achievement of the main strategic goal.”

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Patupchyk said that the energy ministry acknowledged delays in the construction project. However, he gave reassurance that the plant would be put into operation on schedule.

The Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant is under construction in the Astravets district, Hrodna region, some 10 miles from the Lithuanian border. Its two reactors are to have a total generating capacity of up to 2,400 megawatts. The first reactor is expected to be put into operation in December 2019 and the other in July 2020.

The facility is being constructed by a Russian state-owned company and with a Russian government loan.