By Piotr Iosifov
Three houses are already occupied, with the frame of the fourth now complete. There isn’t a single free land lot in micro-district #1, where almost 5,000 people will reside, as each square metre is spoken for to lay infrastructure. A sewage system, alongside water and gas pipes, is now being laid to the neighbouring micro-district, while a wide, illuminated asphalt avenue is ready for use. A fuelling station has also opened nearby.
The outline of the future nuclear power station is yet to be seen, so I set off to the first ‘nuclear’ site: the ‘pioneer base’. It is located just a few kilometres from Ostrovets, housing production facilities built by Grodnopromstroy JSC.
The nuclear power station site is situated within 20km of the town. A large brick building is already apparent on the horizon: the first of the construction base sites, housing facilities making concrete, steel and other materials. There’s also an administrative building. Despite rain, work never stops. Cranes rotate, heavy trucks carry their loads and excavators’ buckets sink into the ground.
The Deputy Chief Engineer of the Directorate of Nuclear Power Plant Construction, Vladimir Gorin, tells me, “Several weeks ago, we began to dig the foundations, which will be as deep as a five storey building. We’ll have to take out 1.5m cubic metres of soil. We’ve only completed a tenth of the works, but we’re on schedule; there’s no rush. We have over 300 workers, rising to 1,000 by the end of the year. Over 8,000 people will be involved in building the nuclear station.”
No one doubts that the nuclear power station will be built on time. However, questions remain. Will the town cope with its population rising from 8,000 to 33,000? Investors are ready to fund the building of shops and hotels but whose funds will pay for contemporary social infrastructure in the town.
Semen Shapiro, the Chairman of the Grodno Regional Executive Committee:
Ostrovets’ investment attractiveness matches that of a regional centre. This is especially noticeable at auctions for land lots. Recently, one hectare of land (where the trade centre is to be located) sold at almost the same price as a similar site for a supermarket in Grodno. Of course, the town will develop. Alongside housing, four schools and 13 kindergartens are to be built in the new micro-districts. The first will open next year. We’ll construct enough medical, cultural, sporting and other facilities. Works are on schedule for the construction of the nuclear power station and for creating everything needed for comfortable living.