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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN nuclear watchdog starts inspection of plant in south Russia

RIA Novosti

20/05/2008 17:41 SARATOV, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have begun inspecting the Balakovo nuclear power plant in southern Russia's Saratov Region, a spokesman for the plant said on Tuesday.

"Over three weeks, a team of IAEA experts from Austria, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, the U.S., France, the Czech Republic, China and Italy who are members of the Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) program, will check the plant's compliance with international operational safety standards," the spokesman said.

Built in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Balakovo plant is Russia's largest nuclear power generating facility. It produces around 28 billion kWh of power a year, accounting for a quarter of the electricity produced in the Volga Federal District and one-fifth of the electricity produced by Russia's 10 nuclear power plants.

The plant is equipped with four VVER-1000 reactors with total capacity of about 4 GW. A fifth reactor is scheduled to be launched in 2010.

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