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Belarus reopens nuclear power plant after replacing equipment

MOSCOW, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Belarus has resumed operations at a new nuclear power plant, inaugurated earlier this month by President Alexander Lukashenko, after successfully replacing some equipment, the Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Thursday.

The plant has been reconnected to the grid after replacing some voltage transformers and testing thermal power equipment, the country’s energy ministry said. “The reactor of the first power unit is currently working at 40% of its nominal capacity.”

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 just 50 kilometres (31 miles) away.

Production at the plant was shut down a few days after it opened, with the energy ministry saying individual electrical measuring equipment needed replacing.

Lithuanian grid operator (TSO) Litgrid, located 20km from the plant, said it had detected a production stoppage at the plant at 1000 GMT on Nov. 8.

Production had been ramped up to 400 MW on the day Lukashenko inaugurated the plant, Litgrid said.

Writing by Alexander Marrow; editing by Uttaresh.V

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