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Belarusian nuclear power plant launch to spur adoption of new technologies, electric vehicles

MINSK, 23 July (BelTA) – The launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will spur the introduction of new technologies and the adoption of electric vehicles, BelTA learned from Deputy Chairman of the State Standardization Committee of Belarus, Director of the Energy Effectiveness Department Mikhail Malashenko on 23 July.

The official said: “The commissioning of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will bring us primarily new technologies, new materials, and equipment. It is a step forward that will allow Belarus to reduce energy intensity of the gross domestic product and raise the GDP.”

In his words, the plan to increase electricity consumption in Belarus includes about 180 projects and measures. Those are primarily the modernization of existing enterprises, the commissioning of new manufacturing facilities and technologies starting with enterprises of the Industry Ministry and ending with those of the Belarusian state petrochemical concern Belneftekhim. The projects include the modernization of Mozyr Oil Refinery, OAO Grodno Azot, and the steel mill BMZ.

In addition to this plan there are standalone projects and measures, for instance, projects where natural gas can be replaced with electricity, Mikhail Malashenko explained. “We are talking about the introduction of induction furnaces, infrared heating systems. The new technologies can be introduced at roughly 20 enterprises,” he added.

The possibility of replacing ineffective energy sources where the prime cost of 1 Gigacalorie exceeds Br100 is also under consideration.

“All these measures will allow increasing electricity consumption in Belarus by 2.8 billion kWh. However, higher electricity consumption is not the goal per se, the introduction of new technologies is what matters,” the official remarked.

Mikhail Malashenko also pointed out that the launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will encourage the adoption of electric vehicles. “There is a state operator of electric vehicle charging stations in Belarus. Electric buses are made in the country. The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus has demonstrated its electric car prototype. Supercapacitors – the heart of an electric vehicle or an electric bus – have been manufactured in the China-Belarus industrial park Great Stone since 2018,” he said. “Since we have all the components, Belarus will move faster [with the introduction of electric transport] than the international community.”

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast using a Russian design featuring two VVER-1200 reactors with the total output capacity of 2,400MW. Rosatom's engineering division is the general contractor. The first unit is supposed to go online in 2020, with the second one scheduled for launch in 2021.