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Belarusian nuclear power plant project relies heavily on international evaluation missions

In the course of building a nuclear power plant of its own Belarus relies heavily on international evaluation missions and peer reviews for the sake of getting a qualified external expert opinion. Belarusian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Vashchenko made the statement before meeting with representatives of the Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 8 October, BelTA has learned.

The official said: “Belarus is building its first nuclear power plant in line with international safety standards. We widely use mechanisms of international evaluation missions and peer reviews in order to get a qualified opinion of outside experts and recommendations. Any country can voluntarily invite such missions. We do it primarily for our own sake. We would like to improve the country’s nuclear and radiation safety system and all its components, including the system for responding to emergencies.”

Vladimir Vashchenko noted that different missions have different goals and different scopes. For instance, in 2016 Belarus welcomed an Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission, which evaluated the regulatory infrastructure as a whole. The EPREV mission will have to evaluate Belarus’ readiness to respond to nuclear and radiation accidents. “Ensuring nuclear and radiation safety is a complex and multifaceted matter. We don’t want to miss any aspect of it,” noted the minister.

The IAEA’s EPREV mission will stay in Belarus through 20 October. The delegation includes IAEA Deputy Director General Juan Carlos Lentijo, Head of the IAEA Incident and Emergency Center Elena Buglova, the head of the mission Marina Nizamska, the coordinator Ramon De La Vega, and several experts.

The IAEA offers accident readiness review services to member states upon request for the sake of evaluating their readiness for nuclear or radiation emergencies. An EPREV mission helps bolster the national potential for responding to emergencies in line with IAEA safety standards.