Belarus has successfully launched the first chain reaction at Unit 1 of the Astravets nuclear power plant.
"This marked the beginning of the reactor's life cycle," the Energy Ministry said on its Telegram channel on October 11.
Built by Russian state firm Rosatom and financed by Moscow with a $10 billion loan, the Astravets nuclear power plant project is opposed by neighboring EU members Lithuania and Latvia because of its proximity to the border.
When fully operational in 2022, the nuclear plant's two VVER-1200 type reactors will produce up to 2,400 MW of electricity.
The Energy Ministry said in its latest update that a fission chain reaction at one of two reactors was brought to a minimum controlled level. The reactor will undergo several tests to confirm safety and reliability.
The next stage will be to start energy production and include the unit in the country's energy system.
On October 13, the director of the Department for Energy Efficiency, Mikhail Malashenka, said that the commissioning of the nuclear power plant will allow Belarus to minimize its dependency on gas and oil imports.
Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are moving to a full decoupling from their Soviet-era common power system by 2025 as part of an EU goal to better integrate the bloc's electricity grid.
Lithuania has already banned all electricity imports from the Astravets plant, citing concerns about safety and national security.
Belarus has rejected suggestions that the plant poses a risk and has insisted it meets all safety standards.
Belarus Starts Chain Reaction At Astravets Nuclear Plant
The Teenage Sons Of Kremlin-Backed Chechen Leader Ramzan Kadyrov Are In The Spotlight. Why?2
Ukrainian Crews Put Hundreds Of Captured Russian Tanks Into Action3
Top Russian Officer Among Troops Killed During Azerbaijan's Attack On Nagorno-Karabakh4
'Chaos, Screams, And Explosions': Ukrainian Forces Make Modest But Important Gains In Grueling Counteroffensive5
Karabakh Separatists Say They Are Implementing Withdrawal Deal As Aid Arrives Through Lachin6
U.S. Condemns Attack In Kosovo's North As Country Observes Day Of Mourning7
Heavy Metal: The Radioactive Ammunition Headed For Ukraine8
Ukrainian Military Claims Russian Navy Commanders Killed In Sevastopol Attack9
After Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine, Bulgaria Is Rapidly Trying To Modernize Its Armed Forces10
Russian-Installed Leader Of Crimea Denies Strikes Hit Power Plants