Belarus has asked Russia's national development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) to speed up construction of the country's first $9-billion nuclear power station, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday.
"The core project (for us) is the nuclear plant construction as (VEB) will finance it. We have started to implement it and would not like to see a slowdown. We should build the station rapidly," Lukashenko told VEB head Vladimir Dmitriyev.
At the same time when Europe is beginning to abandon nuclear power use, the nuclear power plant project in Belarus is important for both Russia and Belarus, Lukashenko said.
"Russian technologies ... and our opportunities will show that the century of nuclear power is not over, it will continue," Lukashenko added.
Nuclear power has once again become a controversial issue after an earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima station in Japan in March 2011. Germany said it would hasten its exit from nuclear energy and Italy announced a one-year moratorium on plans to restart atomic power projects.
Many people died of radiation-related diseases in Belarus following the 1986 Chernobyl atomic station disaster in neighboring Ukraine, in the world's worst nuclear disaster.
Russia now says it has a full arsenal of advanced technology to ensure accident-free operations at power stations it builds.