Astravets nuclear plant back online after transformer explosion
Belarus’ Astravets nuclear power plant has resumed operations after an apparent transformer explosion suspended electricity production for several days.
According to the Energy Ministry, the Astravets plant is sending electricity to the power grid and the first power unit is working at 40 percent of its 1,200-megawatt capacity.
Just days after it was inaugurated, Belarus’s only nuclear plant halted electricity production on November 8th after voltage transformers were said to have exploded.
Built by Russian state-owned firm Rosatom and financed by Moscow with a $10 billion loan, the construction of the power plant in the Hrodna region was opposed by Lithuania, whose capital, Vilnius, is just 50 kilometers away.
Astravets draws water for its cooling reactors from the Nevis River, which is also a source of drinking water in Lithuania.
After Belarus began operating the plant, Lithuania halted electricity imports from its neighbor.
The plant’s construction has also been divisive among Belarusians, who suffered greatly as a result of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Belarus saw a quarter of its territory contaminated in the world’s worst civilian nuclear accident.