(Adds Litgrid quote)
MOSCOW, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Belarus has resumed operations at a nuclear power plant inaugurated earlier this month by President Alexander Lukashenko, the Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Thursday, following the replacement of faulty equipment.
The plant was reconnected to the grid after voltage transformers were replaced and thermal power equipment was tested, the country’s energy ministry said. “The reactor of the first power unit is currently working at 40% of its nominal capacity.”
Lithuanian grid operator (TSO) Litgrid said it detected the plant’s restart at 00.11 GMT on Thursday and it has reached 350 megawatts (MW) of operating power.
Built by Russian state-owned firm Rosatom and financed by Moscow with a $10 billion loan, construction of the power plant near the city of Astravets, in the western Hrodno region, was vigorously opposed by Lithuania, whose capital Vilnius is 50 kilometres (31 miles) away.
Production at the plant was halted a few days after it opened, with the energy ministry saying electrical measuring equipment needed replacing.
Litgrid, located 20km from the plant, said it detected a production stoppage at 1000 GMT on Nov. 8.
Production had been ramped up to 400 MW on the day Lukashenko inaugurated the plant, Litgrid said. (Reporting by Alexander Marrow in Moscow and Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; editing by Uttaresh.V and Barbara Lewis)