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Belarus sets up body to oversee nuclear plant project

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MINSK, January 9 (RIA Novosti) - Belarus has set up a state-controlled directorate to oversee a project to build the country's first nuclear power plant, a deputy energy minister said on Wednesday.

Mikhail Mikhadyuk said the body had been set up to "organize work before and during the project, develop documents on operating rules, oversee the construction of the nuclear plant, train staff, take on labor, and prepare documents for a tender."

The deputy minister also said Belarus was busy preparing a construction tender for the plant, and that it was "a vital issue demanding some time."

The former Soviet republic is said to be considering Russia, France and the U.S. as possible contractors. Mikhadyuk said the site for the plant's construction will be selected in 2008 in accordance with international and local laws, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency's recommendations.

The planned plant, with a capacity of 2,000 MW, would considerably contribute to national energy security, providing electricity equal to that generated from five billion cubic meters of natural gas, at half the cost.

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