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Future management of Belarusian nuclear power plant's spent fuel explained

MINSK, 14 April (BelTA) – Head of the Radiation Safety Regulation Office of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) Viktoria Antonova made a few comments in BelTA's press center on 14 April to explain plans concerning the management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

The official said: “The technological process of any enterprise generates waste. To ensure safety is the key task for us. The operation of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will primarily generate low-activity waste and medium-activity waste. The share of high-activity waste will be less than 1%. High-activity waste will be stored for the duration of the Belarusian nuclear power plant's life cycle. Low-activity waste and medium-activity waste will be stored for ten years and then will be moved to special storage facilities, which are designed for burying radioactive waste. The site is being chosen now.”

Special technical solutions will be utilized depending on the category of the waste in order to render it harmless and store it temporarily at premises of the nuclear power plant. “If we talk about solid waste, it will be broken down and pressed and put into special containers, which will be hermetically sealed and given their own passports. As for liquid waste, it will undergo concentration by evaporation in order to reduce the volume and consequently convert it to a solid state. As for gaseous waste, it will have to age for the sake of disintegration, it will go through a system of filters that will stop radioactive impurities,” Viktoria Antonova said.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant design provides for a special system of storing spent fuel near the reactor by utilizing a cooling pond. The system includes a set of safety measures. The design provides for storing spent fuel in the cooling pond for ten years. After that it will be moved to Russia for processing.

“It is very important for us to ensure safety at every stage of the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste. We pay close attention to the impeccable realization of all the design solutions. Our inspectors continuously perform oversight functions at the construction site,” Viktoria Antonova stressed.