Journalists of Belarusian and foreign media visited the first Belarusian nuclear power plant which is being constructed near the town of Ostrovets (Grodno oblast). The event was held in the framework of the XXII Belarusian Energy and Ecology forum, which took place in Minsk from 10-13 October.
During the visit, the journalists got acquainted with the progress of construction works, visited the Information and Educational Training centers of the NPP as well as its construction site.
At the moment the construction of the first power unit of the Belarusian NPP is at the stage of completion of the general construction works. On the 1st of April 2017 the reactor vessel of the first unit was installed at its regular place, on the 7th of September 2017 the welding of the main circulation pipeline was completed. At present electrical and thermal-and-mechanical works are being actively conducted at the unit. The works on assembling metal structures of the inner protective shell are under completion: the tiers of the dome have been installed; preparatory works on reinforcement and concreting of the inner protective shell have started.
"The Belarusian NPP units have been designed and are being constructed in accordance with the requirements and recommendations of the IAEA and the European Union. The project is implemented with the consideration of the "post-Fukushima" requirements. Construction and installation works are being carried out on 123 out of the 130 objects and facilities of the first and second power units of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. At the end of 2017 it is planned to proceed flushing technological systems to an unsealed reactor which is the key step for the future commissioning of the unit. The start-up of the first unit of Belarusian NPP is scheduled for 2019", — highlighted Vitaly Medyakov, vice president for the Belarusian NPP project at ASE Group.
The main purpose of the NPP construction in Belarus is to enhance its energy security, reduce the cost of electricity and to diversify fuels used for its production. The commissioning of the NPP will help to avoid emissions of approximately 7-10 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. In addition, the construction of the station is an impetus for socio-economic development of both the region and the country as a whole.
“Ensuring reliability and safety of the Republic’s first nuclear power plant is the top priority for us. We closely cooperate in the implementation of this project with the IAEA, the World Association of Nuclear Operators and other international organizations. This year, expert missions and round tables have become a significant direction of this work – in particular, missions aimed at reviewing radioactive waste and spent fuel management strategies, personnel training and professional development, the mission aimed at reviewing designs of NPP sites with the consideration of external events (SEED mission). Within the framework of the IAEA technical cooperation for 2018-2019, the project "Strengthening the capacity of the operating organization to ensure reliable and safe operation of nuclear power plants" was developed”, said Director of the Nuclear Energy Department of the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Belarus Vasily Polyukhovich.
In 2016, stress tests were carried out at the Belarusian NPP in accordance with the European methodology and with regard to recommendations and standards of the European Commission and ENSREG (the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group). These standards were adopted after the Fukushima accident and were developed to verify and confirm that the NPP will not present danger even in the event of key systems failure, loss of NPP power supply or in case of simultaneous flooding, natural disaster or any other external impact.
“In the near future, namely this year in October, the national report with the results of the conducted stress tests at the Belarusian NPP will be submitted to the European Commission for its mutual consideration with the experts from the European countries such as representatives of regulatory bodies in the field of nuclear and radiation safety”, commented Head of Communications and Public Information Department of Gosatomnadzor Oleg Sobolev.