VILNIUS Nov 9 (Reuters) - Belarus has shut down production at its new nuclear power plant, inaugurated on Saturday by President Alexander Lukashenko, to replace some of its equipment, its Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Monday.

It did not say when the need to replace the equipment was first discovered. Lithuanian grid operator (TSO) Litgrid , located 20km from the plant, said it had detected a production stoppage at the plant at 1000 GMT on Sunday.

The power plant was built by Russian state-owned firm Rosatom and financed by Moscow with a $10 billion loan.

ADVERTISEMENT

The plant's reactor, which has capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW), was still in the initial stage of operation, working at various power levels of no more than 500 MW, the ministry said.

"During the tests ... the need to replace individual electrical measuring equipment was identified," the ministry said.

"Replacement of this equipment is being carried out in accordance with the technological regulations... All technological systems are operating normally," it added.

Litgrid said the power plant had begun operating last Tuesday, initially producing at 250 MW, and ramped up production to 400 MW on Saturday.

Lithuania, which considers the plant unsafe, stopped Baltic power trade with Belarus and mainland Russia on Tuesday. The trade restarted on Thursday, but only for Russian power. (Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova and Andrius Sytas; Editing by Jan Harvey)