The launch of the plant was postponed from 2018. The project is being developed despite the protest of the public, a number of environmental organisations, some international organisations and Lithuania, whose border is several tens of kilometres from the reactors. The Lithuanian parliament even declared the station a ‘threat to national security’. In response to the production of the first kilowatt-hours in Astravets, Lithuania stopped trading in electricity with Belarus.
On 7 November 2020, Alyaksandr Lukashenka officially opened the facility. However, the day after his visit, the equipment at the BelNPP failed. During the tests at the first unit, ‘the need to replace some electrical measuring equipment’ was revealed, the Energy Ministry said. At the same time, according to the ministry, all technological systems kept ‘operating in the regular mode’.
It is expected that the commercial use of the first power unit will take place in early 2021. In accordance with the documents signed by Lukashenka, the first power unit is scheduled to be commissioned in 2021, the second – in H1 2022. In mid November, Rosatom official expressed readiness to build one more nuclear power plant in Belarus.